Working on the Christmas presence
We always have a dinner here at some time in the evening, and we try and get each resident a little gift. Some companies would donate things like hats and scarves. Before I leave at 7pm we organise a pre-made turkey dinner with potato and vegetables.
Of course, I would prefer not to work and spend it with family and not have to get up. Christmas Day is not so important for me to have a good time. I don’t mind spending that time with someone else to whom it is important. I can’t remember the last one I had off. Maybe if I was working in a company where the owners were making money from me, I would resent having to work. But because I work for Dublin Simon, it doesn’t seem like anything I should be resenting really.
Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross
Naturally for me, Christmas Day involves church. I’ve worked Christmas Day now since the age of 24, when I was first ordained. It is not so much work though, as a way of life and intrinsic to what it is all about for me. It can be very demanding.
There is a lot going on in terms of people to visit, especially when they are ill. Usually we work hard in the run-up to Christmas and on Christmas Day I am finished by about mid-afternoon. I’m always at the cathedral at 11.15am and then after that I, along with Bishop Buckley and the lord mayor, go to the St Vincent de Paul organisation where we help serve Christmas lunch. I have dinner with my family when I get in and we never open our presents until evening time when everyone is relaxed.
When I was working in parishes you could get called out a lot on Christmas Day to hospitals or to emergencies. We’re usually busy right up until January 6th, and after that, when everyone else is thinking of going back to work, I begin to think of taking a few days rest. My family has always understood that their Dad does this, and they slot in around it. It suited really well when Santa was coming because of the fact the children got up so early. I could get up with them and before I had to go out, I could share in their joy.
It is a big day though as a bishop. More than any other time of the year people come to church at Christmas, and they do listen to the message. Since November, I’d be thinking about what I will talk about on the 25th or what angle I will take on the Christmas message. The message is the same every year – you just have to communicate it in a contemporary way. In the evening time, like many others, I usually relax with the Christmas RTÉ Guide, and I’ll go through what to watch. That’s really my down time, until the following day that is.