A message from the Vice President, Father Anthony Casamento: I’ve always been a bit sceptical of New Year’s resolutions and goal-making, thanks to a nice dose of cynicism acquired from years of failure and burning myself out on unattainable targets. And so I couldn’t help but look at this resolution thing with a bit of cynicism, once again as I approached 2018.
That was until I read Pope Francis's New Year’s message for 2018. You see, Pope Francis has recommended jettisoning life's "useless baggage" in 2018, including what he called "empty chatter" and banal consumerism, and focusing instead on building a peaceful and welcoming world, particularly for refugees and migrants.
His advice included setting aside a moment of silence daily to be with God. Doing so would help "keep our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the blare of commercials, the stream of empty words and the overpowering waves of empty chatter and loud shouting," Francis said. "At the beginning of the year, we too, as Christians on our pilgrim way, feel the need to set out anew from the centre, to leave behind the burdens of the past and to start over from the things that really matter," he said.
The Catholic Church designates New Year’s Day as World Peace Day, and in his New Year comments, the Pope noted that this year's focus of the day was the search for peace by migrants and refugees. "I desire, yet again, to speak for these our brothers and sisters who invoke for their future a horizon of peace," Francis said. "For this peace, which is the right of everyone, many of them are willing to risk their life in a voyage that is in the great majority of cases long and dangerous, willing to face hardships and suffering," the pontiff said. Francis in his appeal said of refugees and migrants: "Let us not extinguish the hope in their hearts. Let us not suffocate their expectations for peace." He called for all to make commitments "to assure the refugees, the migrants, everyone, a future of peace." He then prayed that people "work in this new year with generosity to realize a world that is more united and welcoming."
Perhaps I need to re-think my attitude to New Year’s resolution – thanks to Papa Francesco!