Pastoral Letter 2017

Pastoral Letter read in the Churches on Sunday, January 29, 2017

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Now the feast of Candlemas is fast approaching. We see before us the young couple, Mary and Joseph, as they enter the temple to present the child Jesus to the Lord, as the custom of the Law required. And because the old Simeon and Anna and everyone present, saw that this was not just an ordinary child but the Saviour of the world that God had promised, it is our habit to bless the candles on this day to confirm it. Yes, He is this light of the world. Precisely this sign, the candle, that carries light to us all, burns at the same time. This symbol was the inspiration for Pope St. John Paul II to say that this should be the day of all those who had consecrated their lives to God. And this day is quite unique.

Recently, I was on tour in Warsaw, Poland, and close to the Capuchin monastery where I stayed, is the Pilsudski Square. There we can, among other things, see the grave of the unknown soldier, where four lights burn constantly, day and night, all the year round. Two soldiers in full armour are always standing guard. By this the people show their respect, not just for this single soldier, but for all those who have sacrificed their lives for their homeland and nation. I think this is quite appropriate, because they paid for this with their lives.

But wait, since this was the case at Pilsudski Square, then I am sure that the same flame should burn in the cemetery behind our Cathedral. The flame should burn at the graves of all three Bishops who rest there, of all the Montfort-priests and all the priests of our Diocese, who worked and died in this country! And the same soldiers should also stand at the grave of every Sister of the St. Joseph Congregation! Because all of them devoted their lives to serving the Church and the people of Iceland. But that is not enough, the same flame should burn in the cemetery at Munkaþverá, at the grave of Fr. Hákon Loftsson. And let us not forget the Carmelite monastery in Hafnarfjörður, where nuns from both the Netherlands and Poland are buried, who relinquished their life with their families and devoted themselves to the consecrated life in the Church in this country. There should be present both soldiers and flame!

But should we think that they themselves are asking for this? No, not at all. But we should do something better and more reasonable instead.

Firstly: Let us pray for those who have sacrificed their lives in service to God and to us.

Secondly: At Candlemas we should do our best to attend Mass and have candles blessed, that we will use at home.

And thirdly: We should think about this, now it is up to us to continue the work that they started, to do something for the Church and the people. And if we can, let us not be afraid of dedicating our lives to God and the Church in this country, as priests, monks or nuns. Young people, do you hear that?!

Lord, accept the sacrifice at our hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church, and may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, come upon us.

Amen.

Brother David, Bishop