Archbishop Cushley's Festive Thought for the Day

Archbishop Leo Cushley reflects on caring for others at Christmas and how children can often lead the way in acts of charity. Broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland on Thursday 21 December 2023.

Archbishop and Moderator issue joint Christmas message

Archbishop Cushley and The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland have released a joint Christmas message.

The collaboration between Rt Rev Sally Foster-Fulton and the Archbishop is a symbol of Christian unity in a deeply troubled world.

It follows the signing of the historic St Margaret Declaration last year, which recognises that the two churches have more in common than divides them and are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Last month, Mrs Foster-Fulton met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome and they both agreed on the importance of ecumenical and interfaith work and being a prayerful and prophetic voice for peace and harmony.

Archbishop Cushley is the Bishop President for Ecumenical Relations for the Bishops' Conference of Scotland.

The joint Christmas Message

"The light shines in the darkness." (Gospel of John 1:5)

"As we approach together the season of Christmas, we do so in company with all who share our faith and with people of good will everywhere.

Our faith is in the One who was born in Bethlehem two thousand years ago and that is a faith shared across the face of the global space we inhabit.

We write as representatives of two traditions within the Christian faith and affirm our common faith in the One who is the light of the world: Jesus Christ.

We confess with sorrow that too often we have allowed ourselves to be divided by that which is different, rather than being united by that which we hold together in common – our faith in Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

By the grace of God, we are changing and we pray that the light of God may now shine more clearly through us.

We say this because we are certain that our world stands more in need of light than of darkness.

Sadly, there is too much darkness in our world today.

Whether it be here in Scotland or in broken and divided lands across the world, we need more light.

We need more light to overcome conflict and to heal ancient wounds.

We need more light to enable us to better feed the hungry and to relieve the suffering of others.

We need more light to enable us to be better stewards of creation and to reap the harvest of life.

We say this in the sure knowledge that, even in the darkest of times, the light of God still shines.

As much as the wise men of ancient times needed light from above to guide them to the place where the Christ-child was born, we need light to guide us today.

The simplicity of the traditional nativity scene, with the star shining above, rather stands in contrast with the hustle and bustle of much of the contemporary festive season as we try to reconcile the many demands placed upon our time.

As we struggle through the gathering gloom of a short December day, the light is short and the night seems long.

It is perhaps especially then that we need light to guide us.

Knowing this to be so, we say again that what we hold together in common is our faith in Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

Knowing this to be so, we invite you to walk in the light of God first revealed in Bethlehem two thousand years ago.

God's light has surely come into our world."

A new Nativity scene for Edinburgh

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising reports on the new Edinburgh Nativity Scene which was sculpted by Thomas Hildenbrand in Germany.

Over the past two years, a new life-sized nativity scene for the Christmas market in Edinburgh has been created with the assistance of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

The beautifully crafted figures of the Holy Family were made by Thomas Hildenbrand.

This significant challenge was successfully tackled by the participating churches in the context of the Munich-Edinburgh city partnership, in collaboration with nativity scene builder Thomas Hildenbrand.

It all began with a letter addressed to Cardinal Reinhard Marx over two years ago.

The sender was Archbishop Leo Cushley of the Scottish Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh.

The idea was: Let's turn to Munich, the partner city of Edinburgh, because nativity scenes are part of the tradition there.

In the letter, the bishop sought help for a special project that the Catholic Archdiocese, along with the Reformed Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the city of Edinburgh, wanted to undertake: the creation of a new life-sized nativity scene to take a prominent place at the Edinburgh Christmas market.

Archbishop Cushley believed that with the assistance of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, the desired nativity scene could be obtained, considering the special tradition of nativity scene craftsmanship in the region, as explained by Ordinariate Councilor Armin Wouters, who coordinated the nativity project on behalf of Cardinal Marx.

"The idea was: Let's turn to Munich, the partner city of Edinburgh, because nativity scenes are part of the tradition there."

Archbishop Cushley (third from right) with representatives from various churches following the blessing of the Nativity scene.

Building the nativity scene, embodying Upper Bavarian tradition, would also symbolize an important gesture for the partnership between the two cities, which would celebrate its 70th anniversary the following year, making it Munich's oldest city partnership.

Christoph Kürzeder, the director of the Freising Diocesan Museum and an expert in nativity art, took on the task of finding a suitable nativity representation, as Wouters recounts.

Since life-sized nativity scenes are not standard items that can be easily purchased, Kürzeder sought out an artist who could build a nativity scene in the desired format.

The choice ultimately fell on wood sculptor Thomas Hildenbrand from Ilshofen near Schwäbisch Hall, who was initially commissioned with a design.

In creating the nativity scene for Edinburgh, Hildenbrand drew inspiration from a small Gothic relief by Erasmus Grasser in the Diocesan Museum.

"I tried to incorporate the basic elements from this relief into the new nativity scene, such as the garments that almost completely envelop Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, or the fortress in the background, which is also iconic in Edinburgh," explains Hildenbrand.

From left: Thomas Hildenbrand, Sir Tom Farmer, a major supporter of the Nativity scene in Edinburgh, and Archbishop Leo Cushley.

He also aimed to establish a connection to Great Britain by studying the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, a group of 19th-century painters in which nativity scenes played a significant role. On the other hand, Saint Joseph became a timeless, modern figure, "with him, as a craftsman, I could build a very emotional connection."

This tension between tradition and modernity characterizes Hildenbrand's nativity artwork for Edinburgh.

"At first, I was concerned it would be too traditional," the sculptor reveals. However, he later realized that the fundamental message of the Christmas story is timeless and must be reflected in the representation.

The Nativity scene on The Mound.

"That's why I hope my work resonates with people as it did 500 years ago when Grasser created this work, which served as our inspiration."

After coordinating various designs with representatives from the city and churches in Edinburgh, Hildenbrand began his work this spring.

By September, the new wooden nativity scene for Edinburgh was ready for pickup outside his studio. The final version features the Holy Family in the foreground of a case shaped like a barrel vault, equipped with a perspective wooden interior.

In the background, a large landscape relief dominates, crowned by the Edinburgh Castle.

The nativity scene was financed half by private donors, and the other half was covered proportionally by the city of Munich, the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, as well as the Reformed Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

The city of Edinburgh covered the transportation costs for the life-sized wooden figures.

On the first Sunday of Advent, the nativity scene was blessed by Archbishop Cushley and presented to the public at the city's Christmas market, in the presence of nativity scene builder Thomas Hildenbrand and a delegation from the city of Munich.

Ordinariate Councilor Armin Wouters expressed satisfaction after the nativity scene presentation in Edinburgh.

Firstly, the nativity scene project represents "a noteworthy ecumenical symbol." The fact that this symbol for public space is derived from the "typically Catholic motif of the nativity scene," despite the Catholic Church being a minority in Scotland, is remarkable.

"The significance of the nativity action for the city partnership between Munich and Edinburgh should not be underestimated.

Wouters emphasizes that the nativity scene for the Scottish capital has helped renew relationships despite secular reservations towards religious symbols.

"Even non-Christians should be able to agree that the birth of Jesus shows that humanity is important to God without reservation, has dignity, and deserves respect. And these are elements of a society that we need more than ever today."

Text: Paul Hasel, Editor at Sankt Michaelsbund, December 2023. Original article published on the website of the Archdiocese of Munich & Freising

Christmas Day Mass times

Here is a list of the Christmas Day Mass times (and Christmas Eve Vigils) for churches in our Archdiocese.

Christmas Vigil (Sunday 24 December)








  • Our Lady & St Ninian, Bannockburn
  • St Agatha's, Methil
  • St Joseph’s, Sighthill (Carols 7:30pm)
  • St Margaret's, Dunfermline (Carols 7:30pm)
  • St Matthew’s, Rosewell (Carols 7:30pm)
  • St Marie's, Kirkcaldy
  • St Margaret of Scotland, Loanhead
  • The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Lauriston, Edinburgh
  • St Mary Star of the Sea, Leith (Carols 7:30pm)
  • St David's, Dalkeith


  • Our Lady of Loretto & St Michael, Musselburgh (Carols 8:00pm)
  • St Kentigern, Barnton, Edinburgh (Carols 8:00pm)
  • St Cuthbert's, Slateford (Carols 8:00pm)
  • St Anthony's, Polmont (Carols 8:00pm)
  • St John the Evangelist, Portobello, Edinburgh
  • St Mary's, Haddington


  • Our Lady & St Bridget, West Calder (Polish)
  • St Joseph’s, Peebles
  • St Mary's Catholic Cathedral (Polish)
  • St Luke's, Banknock
  • St Margaret Mary’s, Granton, Edinburgh (Polish)
  • St Margaret of Scotland, Raploch, Stirling
  • St Mary, Mother of God, Leslie
  • Christ the King, Grangemouth


  • Our Lady of Lourdes & St Bernadette, Larbert (Carols 9:00pm)


  • St Dominic's, Torrance
  • Ss John Cantius & Nicholas, Broxburn (Carols 9:30pm)


  • St Albert the Great, George Square, Edinburgh
  • St Bride's, Cowdenbeath
  • Ss Ninian & Triduana, Restalrig, Edinburgh (Carols 10:30pm) (Polish & English)


  • Our Lady & St Andrew, Galashiels (Carols 11:30pm)
  • Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw, Haddington
  • St Andrew's, Livingston (Carols 11:30am)
  • St Peter's, Morningside, Edinburgh
  • Our Lady, Mother of the Church, Currie (Carols 11:30pm)
  • St Francis Xavier’s, Falkirk (Carols 11:30pm)
  • Most Holy Trinity, Crail (Carols 11:30pm)
  • St John the Baptist, Fauldhouse
  • St Margaret's, South Queensferry
  • The Immaculate Conception 'St Mary's', Kelso (Carols 11:30pm)
  • St Mary of the Assumption, Bo’ness (Carols 11:30pm)
  • St Mary's, Stirling (Carols 11:30pm)
  • St Patrick’s, Cowgate, Edinburgh
  • St Patrick's, Kilsyth
  • St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh (Carols 11:15pm)

Christmas Morning Mass (25 December)


  • The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Lauriston, Edinburgh


  • Carmelite Convent, Dysart
  • Our Lady Immaculate & St Margaret, Duns
  • Our Lady, Star of the Sea, North Berwick
  • St Albert the Great, George Square, Edinburgh
  • St Alexander’s, Denny
  • St Andrew's, Livingston
  • St Paul's, Milton of Campsie
  • The Immaculate Conception, Jedburgh
  • St Margaret’s, Gorebridge
  • St Patrick’s, Cowgate, Edinburgh
  • St Cuthbert’s, Melrose
  • St Margaret Mary, Granton, Edinburgh
  • Ss John and Columba, Rosyth
  • St Mary’s, Bathgate
  • Chapel Royal of St Thomas of Canterbury, Falkland
  • The Sacred Heart & St Anthony, Armadale, at Armadale Kirk


  • Church of Our Lady, Stoneyburn
  • Holy Cross, Trinity, Edinburgh
  • St Kentigern, Barnton, Edinburgh
  • St Agatha's, Methil
  • St Columba's, Newington, Edinburgh
  • St Cuthbert’s, Slateford, Edinburgh
  • St Joseph, Peebles
  • St Margaret, Dunfermline
  • St Martin of Tours, Tranent
  • The Immaculate Conception 'St Mary's', Kelso
  • St Mary, Haddington
  • St Joseph's, Kelty
  • Holy Spirit, Stirling
  • St Margaret of Scotland, Loanhead
  • Our Lady of Lourdes & St Bernadette, Larbert


  • Our Lady & St Ninian, Bannockburn
  • St Albert the Great, George Square, Edinburgh
  • St Francis Xavier’s, Falkirk
  • St John Ogilivie, Wester Hailes, Edinburgh
  • St John the Baptist, Fauldhouse
  • St Joseph, Burntisland
  • St Margaret, Davidson’s Mains, Edinburgh
  • St Margaret, South Queensferry
  • St Mary of the Assumption, Bo’ness
  • St Mary’s, Stirling
  • St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh
  • St Andrew’s, Ravelston, Edinburgh
  • St Michael’s, Linlithgow
  • St Pius’, Kirkcaldy
  • St Marie's, Kirkcaldy
  • St Theresa’s, East Calder
  • Ss Kenneth & Bernard's, Ballingry
  • St Peter’s, Livingston
  • St Gregory the Great, The Inch, Edinburgh
  • St Joseph’s, Sighthill
  • St Mark’s, Oxgangs, Edinburgh
  • Sacred Heart, Grangemouth
  • St David's Dalkeith


  • Our Lady & St Joseph, Selkirk


  • Our Lady & St Bridget, West Calder
  • St Mary Magdalene, Bingham, Edinburgh
  • St Kessog’s, Blanefield
  • St Machan's, Lennoxtown
  • St Mary & St David, Hawick
  • Our Lady of Consolation, Bonnyrigg
  • St Teresa of Lisieux, Craigmillar, Edinburgh
  • The Sacred Heart of Jesus, Lauriston, Edinburgh
  • St Mary Star of the Sea, Leith
  • St Mary’s, Bathgate
  • Ss John Cantius & Nicholas, Broxburn
  • St Philomena’s, Winchburgh


  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Blackburn


  • St Andrew's, Eyemouth
  • Our Lady of Loretto & St Michael, Musselburgh
  • Our Lady of the Waves, Dunbar
  • Sancta Maria Abbey, Nunraw, Haddington
  • St Anthony's, Polmont
  • St James’, St Andrews, Fife
  • Our Lady of Pochayiv & St Andrew's, Edinburgh (Mass in Ukrainian language - homily and gospel in English & Ukrainian)
  • St Patrick’s, Cowgate, Edinburgh
  • St Patrick, Kilsyth
  • St Luke's, Banknock
  • St Bride's, Cowdenbeath
  • Holy Name, Oakley
  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Dunfermline
  • St Margaret of Scotland, Raploch, Stirling
  • The Sacred Heart, Penicuik
  • St Paul's, Glenrothes
  • Our Lady of Lourdes & St Bernadette, Larbert
  • Ss Ninian & Triduana, Restalrig, Edinburgh (Polish & English)
  • St Joseph's, Bonnybridge


  • Our Lady & St Andrew, Galashiels


  • St John the Baptist, Corstorphine
  • St Giles, Kennoway
  • St Peter, Morningside, Edinburgh
  • Our Lady, Mother of the Church, Currie
  • St Gabriel’s, Prestonpans
  • St James', Innerleithen
  • St Ninian's, Bowhill
  • St Margaret Mary, Granton, Edinburgh
  • Christ the King, Grangemouth


  • Our Lady & St Bridget, West Calder (Polish)
  • St Albert the Great, George Square, Edinburgh
  • St Francis Xavier’s, Falkirk
  • St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh (Polish)


  • St Francis Xavier’s, Falkirk (Polish)


  • St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh (Polish)

Advent update

Find out about what's happening in the Archdiocese during the Advent season, which begins this Sunday (3 December).

A message from the Archbishop for Advent

What's one of the best ways to prepare for Christmas? Find out in this video message from Archbishop Cushley.

Mondays in Advent: Pro-Life Rosary

Join Archbishop Cushley and priests of the Archdiocese to say the Rosary for Life each Monday in Advent at 7:45pm (Zoom). Register at

Take our Diploma in Catechetics in 2024

Dive into the Catholic faith in 2024 by taking out Diploma in Catehetics! Register by this Saturday at midnight and receive a 20% early bird discount. Click here.

New Nativity scene for Edinburgh

Archbishop Cushley will bless the Nativity scene at Mound Place, Edinburgh, this Sunday (3 December) at 3:30pm as part of the city’s ecumenical carol concert. Preview video available above or on YouTube.

Christmas Mass times for Archdiocese

Find a Mass on Christmas Day by looking at our full listings. Full list here.

Christmas Gifts at St Pauls Bookshop

Fr Jereus, Fr Alex (pictured) and Emma invite you to check out the great range of Christmas gift ideas at St Pauls Bookshop at St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. Open seven days, 10am-5pm. Watch the promo video here.

Candelit concert in Edinburgh

Enjoy a special candlelit concert of Advent and Christmas music on Friday 8 December at 8pm in St Andrew's Church, Ravelston (77 Belford Road, Edinburgh). Pay on the door £6 (£12 family) or register here.

Advent talk series with Canon Hugh

Canon Hugh White launches the first in his weekly series of talks to help us spiritually prepare for celebrating Christmas. Canon Hugh is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Watch here.

Carol Service hosted by Lourdes Hospitalité

The Lourdes Hospitalité Committee is hosting a Carol Service at 3pm on Sunday 10 December at St Margaret's Church, Main Street, Davidson's Mains, Edinburgh.  All are welcome to come along and join the festivities.

Mass for the Feast of the Holy Innocents

Mass for the Feast of the Holy Innocents will be celebrated by Archbishop Cushley at midday on Thursday 28 December at The Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh, to pray for unborn children, their mothers and all pro-life intentions. Register here (Registration is not essential, but helps with catering).

Tota pulchra es: Advent and Christmas choral music by candlelight

Join the Schola Cantorum of St Mary's Catholic Cathedral for an Advent concert by candlelight on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

WATCH: Christmas message & homily from Archbishop Cushley

In his Christmas message, Archbishop Leo Cushley calls us to pray for peace. Watch below or on YouTube.

Read his Homily from Christmas Midnight Mass at the bottom of this page or here.


Homily of Archbishop Cushley
Christmas Midnight Mass, St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh

Brothers and sisters in Christ, my dear friends,

First of all, let me wish every one of you a peaceful Christmas and a very good New Year.

On your behalf, I would like to express my gratitude to Mgr Burke, the clergy and sisters, and the many volunteers who make every visit to our cathedral special.  It was lovely to meet so many of you the other night, and I agree with all that Mgr Burke said to you.  You make me very proud to be your bishop.

Sixty years ago this year, the world was celebrating Christmas in a sobering light, that of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The world came very close indeed to a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union, and recent access to the archives of the Kremlin and the White House make it very clear that it was only with the greatest skill, on the part of President Kennedy in particular, that the world was steered away from self-destruction.  The crisis prompted Pope St John XXIII to write an encyclical on the subject.

For its name, he chose the title Pacem in terris – peace on earth - something that must have sounded ironic, hopeless, or even naïf, as the threat of nuclear annihilation hung over the world.

How can there be peace on earth?  How can humanity ever escape its own ability to destroy itself dozens of times over, whether deliberately, or by error or chance?

Even today, as the number of nuclear-capable countries increases and the superpowers plan in earnest to update their nuclear arsenals, the question becomes ever more complex, even to the point that the decision may be taken away from politicians and left to algorithms that know nothing of the respect due to human life, to all known life.

And yet, John XXIII was surely inspired when he decided to call his letter, Pacem in terris.  For the title of his urgent call to peace comes of course from this very night, the night of Christmas.

Over the infant in Bethlehem, at top of their voices the angels sing “Glory in the highest heaven, and on earth peace towards all people of good will”.  We needed that peace in 1962, and we need it still.  John F. Kennedy did something truly remarkable to save us from disaster.

But the struggle to distance ourselves from man-made catastrophe continues.

The Church knows this instinctively, too.

Since before the dark ages, every time Roman Christians gather for Mass, they have prayed for peace.

The opening words of the bishop at Mass are “Peace be with you”.  These are the words of the risen Lord to the confused and dismayed apostles on the first Easter in the upper room.  Those words are also the gift of Christ’s peace to all his followers, even to us in our day.

Every time we sing the Gloria, our opening words are “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will”.

Immediately after the Our Father, we beg God for the peace that only the Lord can bestow; we ask the Lord to grant us “peace in our day” – and we do so at every celebration of Mass.

We then wish each other “the peace of the Lord”, with a word or a gesture.  At the centre of every Eucharist, we meet the living Lord and we rejoice in our communion with him and with each other.  But that aside, the words we hear most often are prayers to almighty God for peace.  We somehow know instinctively that we need God’s peace, and that we are incapable of building it alone.

These days, our minds naturally turn to our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine and to the estimated quarter of a million lives already lost in the conflict to date.  On your behalf, I have visited our Ukrainian Catholic parish here, as well as their cathedral which is in London.

They worry for their loved ones, for their homeland.  They carry a terrible burden, and we want to share it with them, first by simply standing beside them.  But when we do so in church, the last thing we should do is be here as a protest, or for politics, or as virtue-signalling.

When we come to church, we bow our heads, humbly and silently, in the presence of almighty God; we remember those we love and care for; and we hold them in prayer before Him.  Because when we come to God’s house, we look for a word of comfort, of love, of peace, for ourselves, for everyone.  Outside, we are free to work and struggle for a human kind of peace.  In here, we implore God for His peace.

Jesus Christ, born in a stable, is that Word of peace.  He is our Mighty God.  He is the Prince of Peace.  Our God is a God of peace, and He is a God who saves.

And Jesus Christ, God’s incarnate word, is Emmanuel, God among us.

Gabriel commanded both Joseph and Mary to name the child Jesus, for in Him God saves His people.  He is the one sent to save his people from sin, from death, from ourselves.  There is no redemption expect by the name of Jesus, God who saves.

Famously, the best of our Christmas Mass prayers come down to us from the far-off fifth century, from Pope St Leo the Great.  They are among the most sublime prayers in the entire Missal.

They speak beautifully of Jesus, the Word of God who becomes like us in order to save us.  Leo writes that we become consortes, or partakers, partners with God in the great act of our redemption, in the great work of peace.

We give to God our poor mortal flesh, and he clothes it in his divinity, making us even more wonderfully complete than we were before.  Redeemed by Jesus, God who saves, we can rest in peace, in the hope that, one day, all will truly be well.  The Christmas prayers of Leo were written between 440 and 461, when Attila the Hun threatened the city of Rome, not once but twice.

The “armyless”, defenceless city was threatened, while Roman Christians prayed with deep anxiety for peace.  But the prayers they used, and that we use to this day, are full of the stillness and beauty and peace of Christmas. These prayers were forged in a terrible moment of crisis, yet they speak profoundly and beautifully of the Church’s faith, and hope, and trust in Jesus, the God who saves, the Prince of Peace.

Our Roman Christian ancestors acknowledged openly that the actual date of Christ’s birth was unknown, but they could think of no better time in the year to celebrate Christmas and the rebirth of light and hope than now, just after the winter solstice.  Christians take this “dark before the dawn” and call it Christmas, because the birth of Jesus is the great turning point, towards light, towards hope, towards peace.

As we face various problems, national and international, let us, like our forebears, thank God for the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.  Let’s earnestly pray to Him this year for the grace that we are unable to give ourselves, the great gift of peace that the Christ child alone can bestow.

A very peaceful and joyful Christmas to everyone here.  God bless you all!

[Images: Benedicta Lin]

LISTEN: Archbishop's Thought for the Day

Archbishop Cushley gave the Thought for the Day on BBC Radio Scotland ths morning (Wednesday 21 December). Listen to it below or on YouTube. Transcript below video.

Archbishop Cushley's Thought for the Day

"Good morning!

The very earliest archaeological evidence – from perhaps as long ago as 11,000 years – tells us that human beings noticed what happens today a very long time ago.

That is because today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

Several thousand years later, Roman Christians noticed it too.

They knew there was no exact date known for the birth of Jesus, but they couldn’t think of a better time of the year than now to remember his birth.  And Christmas caught on…

At this time of the year, it has been getting darker and darker, and no one really likes that.

We’re creatures of warmth and light and we respond naturally to both.

The Greek storyteller Aesop tells the story of the sun and the wind arguing over who could make a man take his coat off.  The wind tried first: he blew and blew, and instead of the man taking his coat off, he just wrapped it around himself more and more.  The sun then shone upon him…and the man willingly took off the coat.

At Christmas, we celebrate how Jesus is the Light - and the loving warmth - of God, a light that cannot be overcome.

But there is little doubt that 2022 has not been a very happy one for the world’s peoples.

Brexit and Covid and inflation all loom over us.  Above all, continental Europe, accustomed to 70 years of peace, has seen war break out.

We have a lot to concern us, and a lot of grown-up thinking and acting now before us.

Our ancient ancestors noticed that today is the darkest day of the year.

But they also noticed that it preceded a gradual change back towards the light and the warmth that we all need, that we all enjoy.

Christians take this dark before the dawn – this happy moment - and call it Christmas, because we see the birth of Jesus as a turning point, towards the good, towards God, towards the warmth and the light of God.

Things can and do change for the better.  I hope they will for us all.

A merry Christmas when it comes!"

WATCH: School Christmas Gallery

Schools across the Archdiocese have put on nativity plays to retell the birth of Jesus as part of the celebration of our Catholic Faith.
We thank them for keeping Christ in Christmas, and for their festive charity initiatives to help those in need. We wish pupils, teachers, support staff & volunteers a happy, holy Christmas! Watch the video below or on YouTube.

Archbishop: Holy Family our inspiration as we move towards 2021

Archbishop Cushley has called for Catholic families to imitate the example of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as Scotland moves towards a new year under the highest Covid restriction levels.

Speaking during his online Mass on the Feast of the Holy Family, he said: "Today we remember in these times how our usual freedoms have been much curtailed for the sake of the common good. And that has got us all thinking about our families.

"With the highest level of restrictions coming into place in Scotland as of Boxing Day, our visits to families and friends are now very much restricted.

"This means that we have had to treasure every opportunity we have had to be together with family and friends in the last few days, in a way that our generation anyway has never had to face. It’s a sobering lesson for sobering times.

"But I'm hopeful that many of you will turn it to account and will learn again to value the affection and closeness of those around us, the importance of patience, small gestures and giving way to others, of peace and harmony in the home.

"As we all know, these things are rarely achieved without some effort. But we have examples at hand to help us. As I said (during Mass) on Christmas Day, Joseph and Mary very obliged to go on a journey to Bethlehem in the middle of winter when she was heavily pregnant . They were alone, far from family and help, and stuck in a stable when Mary had to give birth.

"But their love for each other and for Jesus kept them going. They have always been an example of love and support for us too, but in the context of a Covid Christmas, their perseverance, forebearance and affection for each other is more eloquent to us than ever.

"Let's learn from their goodness and their love for each other as we move forward towards a new year."