Festive season is painful for many

By Alf McCreary, Religion Correspondent

24 December 2004


There is an urgent need for people to realise the hurt in the community where too many families are grieving for members lost through suicide and self-harm, according to the Church of Ireland Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Harper.

In his Christmas message he said: "I have one group in particular on my heart this Christmas. There are many families in Belfast and across Northern Ireland re-living the distress of loss and those for whom they grieve."

He added: "Whether or not the cause of each individual act of desperation is understood, there is an urgent need for us all to become much more aware of the frailty and the hurt that is present in our community, and how much need there is for healing and help."

His prayer, he said, was that the pressures of Christmas would not plunge others into distress or despair, that those who have known loss and trauma would find God's comfort, and that the Churches, voluntary groups and the wider community would come to recognise the need, and would respond with generosity and imagination.