Further afield, the year doesn't look like it will be a good one for human life. There's the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the impending inauguration of arguably the most anti-life American president in history and the implementation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill in the UK to name but a few.
But, as Catholics, we of course have hope. As ever, Pope Benedict can emphasises this better than any of us. Here are three snippets of what he said on New Year's Eve:
"In these times, which are marked by insecurity and worry for the future, it is necessary to feel the living presence of Christ. Mary, the Star of Hope, leads us to Him. With her maternal love she is the one who can lead us, especially the young, to Jesus."
"The growing needs of evangelisation require many workers in the vineyard of the Lord: do not hesitate to respond to respond readily if He calls you. Society needs citizens who are not merely concerned with their own interests because, as I recalled on Christmas Day, 'if people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart'."
"Even if there are many clouds forming on the horizon of our future, we should not be afraid. As believers, our great hope is eternal life in communion with Christ and the entire family of God. This great hope gives us the strength to face and to overcome the difficulties of this worldly life."