Cork kids have plenty of Christmas questions for the bishop

Conor, clearly a wise man himself, asked what had become of the gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Cork kids have plenty of Christmas questions for the bishop

“I asked the children in Glanmire what questions they would like to ask the bishop at Christmas, so they came back with their questions."

On a recent visit to St Joseph’s Church in Glanmire, Bishop Fintan Gavin of the Catholic diocese of Cork and Ross faced a difficult challenge, when he was quizzed by students from Scoil Naomh Iosaf and Scoil Naomh Micheál.

“I asked the children in Glanmire what questions they would like to ask the bishop at Christmas, so they came back with their questions. I wouldn’t have picked one of them,” Bishop Gavin said.

Mary-Kate asked: “How many inn-keepers did Mary and Joseph had to go through, and what was the inn-keeper’s name that [let] them in?” 

The bishop conceded that the Bible does not relate the inn-keeper’s name, but he was clearly a very kind man, making what room he could for the expectant parents during a very busy time in Bethlehem.

“We see in our own world today many, many people who are without homes, here in our own city, in our own country, people coming from different parts of the world where there’s war or there’s different kinds of conflict, and we have to take our lead from the inn-keeper, and open our hearts and our homes to those who come to us in our country."

Alison asked how the Three Wise Men knew that the star would guide them to Jesus. The bishop explained that an angel had told the three astronomers where they would find the Christ child. 

Conor, clearly a wise man himself, asked what had become of the gold, frankincense and myrrh. Again, the bishop had to plead a lack of biblical reporting, but he noted that the Magi had kicked off the Christmas tradition of giving gifts.

Maria asked how long did the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem take (94 miles, according to Google). It was a very long journey, was the answer, and Jesus was at the centre of it, just as he is at the centre of our festive season, as the reason we celebrate Christmas. Caleb wanted to know what the stable was made of, and how big it was. Wood, said the bishop, and it wouldn’t have been that big.

Theo wondered where Mary and Joseph went after Jesus was born. Skirting in an age-appropriate way around the Massacre of the Innocents, Bishop Gavin explained that an angelic intervention had tipped Joseph off that King Herod wanted to kill Jesus, so the Holy Family made the arduous trek to Egypt, where they hid till Herod went to his reward.

Alicia wanted to know the meaning of the word “nativity” and what the Nativity teaches us.

“The word nativity comes from Latin [and] means to give birth, so it’s really celebrating the birth of Christ,” the bishop said. 

“The message of the Nativity is probably the most important message that Christmas wants to give to us. 

"It is that God loves us, and that God sent his son into the world to change our world and to save us.”

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