Connect Dec 2016

Connect the newsletter of the Irish Defence Forces

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Last Issues' WInner Was: edWard CronIn, Co. Cork To be in with a chance of winning some An Cosantóir goodies: 1) Complete the 9x9 grid so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3x3 boxes contains the digits from 1 to 9. 2) Fill in your details. 3) Post it in by 15 February 2017 to: Sudoku, Connect, DFHQ, Block 5, Ceannt Bks, Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare. Defence Forces Newsletter Name: Address: Email: 7 3 1 5 4 2 6 7 8 4 1 3 9 7 9 8 4 9 2 1 5 8 9 4 6 6 5 7 1 9 Sudoku Competition A Chairde, Throughout 2016 we have witnessed and participated in an extraordinary year of 'mature' commemorations; the im- plications of which may only be fully revealed in generations to come. I would like to express my appreciation to every member of the Defence Forces for making 2016 a year to remember. On this island we can now truly hope for peace and reconciliation in the century that stretches before us. Songs of peace and reconciliation touch our hearts, especially during the Christmas season. When you think of Christmas this year, I invite you to give some thought to the question: Whose birthday is it anyway? I ask that we might keep in mind that 'Jesus is the reason for the season'! The birth of Jesus is an expression of God's love and the celebration of his birthday, like any birthday, is the celebration of life. Jesus stood for peace, reconciliation and life. His encounters with people were defined by compassion, inclusion and engagement. It could not be any other way, as God creates all in love. In John 8:12, Jesus describes himself as 'the light of the world'. Unfortunately this same world can be a harsh and intolerant place to live, where compassion is often viewed as weaknesses. We need the light of Christ and the light of each other. I call to mind words from Leonard Cohen; 'there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in'. In the eyes of God we are all precious and maybe our perceived imperfec- tions (cracks) are our greatest gift. At Christmas we give thanks for our family and friends, our common humanity and the beauty that exists all around us, however imperfect these may seem! At this time we remember those who died during the past year. To family and friends of deceased members of our Defence Forces, please be assured of my thoughts and prayers at this time. May the souls of all our serving and retired personnel rest in peace. Light of Heaven to their souls - Solas na bhFlaitheas dár n-anamacha. Finally, my thoughts are with personnel who are serving at home and overseas during the Christmas season. To you and your families, we say thank you for your service whether on land, sea or in the air. On behalf of the Chaplaincy Service, I wish everyone in Óglaigh na hÉireann, serving and retired, and your families a very Happy and Blessed Christmas. I hope that we may continue to 'Sing a new song for Ireland' in 2017! Le gach dea-ghuí I gcomhair na Nollag agus na h-ath bhliana God's love endures forever (Psalm 117) Rev Fr Seamus Madigan Head Chaplain to the Defence Forces

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