The Nativity of Our Lord
Dear sons and daughters in Christ:
I pray that this Christmas will be a time of true holiness and joy for you and your families. That you will rediscover the pure, innocent love of God made flesh in the face of the tiny Baby Jesus. May He shower you and yours with his love, and “every grace and heavenly blessing.” And may His Holy Mother hold you in her loving arms, as she once so tenderly held Him. For those who are traveling, may He send His holy angels to protect you on your way, and lead you safely home to us. And may the holy birth we celebrate this Christmas be a new beginning in righteousness and happiness for all of us. On behalf of myself and Fr. Smith, I wish you all a blessed and happy Christmas!
Thanks. I’d like to thank all those who have worked so hard to make Advent and Christmas such a special time for our parish. In particular, the choir, cantors, musicians and Elisabeth Turco for all the beautiful music—especially at Lessons & Carols! The Youth Group, for all the odd jobs they did around the parish. All those who volunteered at the Senior Lunch (particularly Patty Miller). The Knights of Columbus, especially Phil Fick, for all they did in so many ways, especially with Breakfast with Santa. The various sacristans, especially Nena Brennan, for all their work in preparing the sanctuary for Masses. The folks on our flower committee, especially Julie Mullen, for so beautifully decorating the church and grounds. To our maintenance staff, Laura Rodriguez and Luis Tapia, for all their work in preparing the church for Christmas. To the ushers, especially Patrick O’Brien, who helped make everything run so smoothly. To all those who contributed so much in time and treasure to the Giving Tree. To all those who assisted in special ways at the Mass, especially our great altar boys, lectors (led by Brenda Doroski), extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (led by Barbara Aldridge and Christine Spengler). A special thanks to our dedicated staff, Mary Salmon, Kirsti Tyson, Tom Browne, Jeanne Sause, Monica Lyons, Eva Radel, Patti Eckels, and Mary Butler, who worked so hard to serve us all. And finally, most especially to Fr. Smith, as well as Fr. Daly and Fr. Scalia, for their dedicated service to Our Lord and our parish. I know I’ve left out lots of folks that deserve special thanks; my apologies. Thank you all.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles
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“Urbi et Orbi” Message of Pope Francis
Christmas, December 25, 2015
Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Christmas!
Christ is born for us, let us rejoice in the day of our salvation! Let us open our hearts to receive the grace of this day, which is Christ himself. Jesus is the radiant “day” which has dawned on the horizon of humanity. A day of mercy, in which God our Father has revealed his great tenderness to the entire world. A day of light, which dispels the darkness of fear and anxiety. A day of peace, which makes for encounter, dialogue and, above all, reconciliation. A day of joy: a “great joy” for the poor, the lowly and for all the people (cf. Lk 2:10).
On this day, Jesus, the Savior is born of the Virgin Mary. The Crib makes us see the “sign” which God has given us: “a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” (Lk 2:12). Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, may we too set out to see this sign, this event which is renewed yearly in the Church. Christmas is an event which is renewed in every family, parish and community which receives the love of God made incarnate in Jesus Christ. Like Mary, the Church shows to everyone the “sign” of God: the Child whom she bore in her womb and to whom she gave birth, yet who is the Son of the Most High, since he “is of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 1:20). He is truly the Savior, for he is the Lamb of God who takes upon himself the sin of the world (cf. Jn 1:29). With the shepherds, let us bow down before the Lamb, let us worship God’s goodness made flesh, and let us allow tears of repentance to fill our eyes and cleanse our hearts. This is something we all need!
He alone, he alone can save us. Only God’s mercy can free humanity from the many forms of evil, at times monstrous evil, which selfishness spawns in our midst. The grace of God can convert hearts and offer mankind a way out of humanly insoluble situations.
Where God is born, hope is born. He brings hope. Where God is born, peace is born. And where peace is born, there is no longer room for hatred and for war. Yet precisely where the incarnate Son of God came into the world, tensions and violence persist, and peace remains a gift to be implored and built. ….
To our brothers and sisters who in many parts of the world are being persecuted for their faith, may the Child Jesus grant consolation and strength. They are our martyrs of today…
Where God is born, hope is born; and where hope is born, persons regain their dignity. Yet even today great numbers of men and woman are deprived of their human dignity and, like the child Jesus, suffer cold, poverty, and rejection. May our closeness today be felt by those who are most vulnerable, especially child soldiers, women who suffer violence, and the victims of human trafficking and the drug trade.
Nor may our encouragement be lacking to all those fleeing extreme poverty or war, travelling all too often in inhumane conditions and not infrequently at the risk of their lives. May God repay all those, both individuals and states, who generously work to provide assistance and welcome to the numerous migrants and refugees, helping them to build a dignified future for themselves and for their dear ones, and to be integrated in the societies which receive them.
On this festal day may the Lord grant renewed hope to all those who lack employment – and they are so many!; may he sustain the commitment of those with public responsibilities in political and economic life, that they may work to pursue the common good and to protect the dignity of every human life.
Where God is born, mercy flourishes. Mercy is the most precious gift which God gives us, especially during this Jubilee year in which we are called to discover that tender love of our heavenly Father for each of us. May the Lord enable prisoners in particular to experience his merciful love, which heals wounds and triumphs over evil.
Today, then, let us together rejoice in the day of our salvation. As we contemplate the Crib, let us gaze on the open arms of Jesus, which show us the merciful embrace of God, as we hear the cries of the Child who whispers to us: “for my brethren and companions’ sake, I will say: Peace be within you” (Ps 121:8).