A Christmas plea from our religious leaders

Illawarra religious leaders have urged residents to use the festive season to reconnect with each other and rediscover peace in their everyday lives.

Catholic Bishop of Wollongong Peter Ingham will use his sermons to remind his flock of the meaning of peace and goodwill.

"I'm really asking, is our lack of peace - evident in violence in the home, in sexual abuse, drive-by shootings, in road rage, in knife attacks that seem too common - due to the absence of basic goodwill?" he said.

"Is the reluctance ... to acknowledge and give glory to God part of the reason for that lack of goodwill?"

He said those overwhelmed by the stresses of the Christmas period should be careful not to lose their temper or judge others too quickly.

"I would remind people to take a deep breath and try to focus a bit on whether you are acting the way you'd like to be treated."

"If there's any time of year where we can try to be hospitable towards others or wish strangers a Merry Christmas, this is it."

Wollongong Anglican Bishop Peter Hayward said many churchgoers would use Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass to reconnect with their faith and each other.

"In my messages on Christmas Day I will be talking about how the mess of the online world, like Facebook, means communication has become really complicated and I will relate that to how clearly Jesus communicates God to us," he said.

"In the end we know we need each other and we can't live in isolation because as much as online connections give us some expression of a relationship, they lack human warmth and we all need that in our relationships."

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