December 23, 2023 Column Father De Celles

“I See Him, But Not Now….”

My dear sons and daughters in Christ,

                 On this last Sunday and last day of Advent, Christmas Eve, I pray that as we do our final preparations and begin to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus this evening, Our Blessed Savior may draw you close to Himself and shower you with every divine grace and heavenly blessing. May you share in the inexpressible joy of His Holy Mother, Mary, and may she bring you to Him, and teach you how to love Him with all your heart. May St. Joseph keep you in his strong and tender care, and teach us all how to serve Our Lord with the total devotion and self-sacrifice he had, always seeking to find a true home for Jesus in our hearts. And may the Holy Family bring faith, hope, charity, and abiding peace to your families as you contemplate the day that changed all of history: when God the Son stripped Himself of the glory of Heaven to become one of us to save us from sin and all evil, and open to us the gates of Paradise. And beginning all this so dramatically and sublimely as an innocent, lovable little babe.

On behalf of myself, Fr. Bergida, Fr. Horkan, and Fr. Rippy, I wish you all a very blessed and merry Christmas!

I also want to thank all those who have worked so hard to make Advent and Christmas such a special time for our parish. In particular, Elisabeth Turco (our Music Director), the choir, cantors, and musicians (especially our organist, Joseph Mernagh) for all the beautiful music. All those who assisted in special ways at the Mass, especially our great altar boys, lectors (led by Phil Bettwy and Patty Pacheco), and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion (led by Barbara Aldridge and Christine Spengler). The folks on our flower committee, especially Julie Mullen and her family, for so beautifully decorating the church and grounds. The ushers, especially Patrick O’Brien, who helped everything run so smoothly. The Knights of Columbus, especially Mark Menotti, for all they did in so many ways. The various sacristans for all their work in preparing the sanctuary for Masses. The Youth Group, American Heritage Girls and Trail Life, for all the odd jobs they did around the parish. All those who volunteered in our Gift Shop, especially Melissa Escalante and Jackie Kruse. All those who contributed so much in time and treasure to the Giving Tree.

A special thanks to our dedicated staff, Anthony Hansen, Virginia Osella, Mary Butler, Maerose Naduvilekunnel, Dominique Murray, Jeanne Sause, Mary Salmon, Mary Hansen, and Ann Marie Riordan, as well as our maintenance workers Luis Tapia and Dania Ochoa-Mendez, who worked so hard to serve us all. And finally, to Fr. Horkan and Fr. Rippy, and most especially to Fr. Bergida 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, and a blessed and merry Christmas to you.

And a Friendly Reminder. Remember, this weekend we are obliged to go to Mass for both Sunday (the 4th Sunday of Advent) and Christmas: that means two Masses.

Beati Adventus, et sancti et felicem Nativitatis!

Oremus pro invicem, Fr. De Celles

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Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address,

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 24 December 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The celebration of the Holy Birth is at hand. Today’s vigil prepares us to live intensely the mystery that tonight’s Liturgy will invite us to contemplate with the eyes of faith.

In the Divine Newborn, whom we will place in the manger, our Salvation is made manifest. In the God who makes himself man for us, we all feel loved and welcomed, we discover that we are precious and unique in the eyes of the Creator.

The birth of Christ helps us to become aware of the value of human life, the life of every human being, from the first instant to natural death.

To those who open their heart to this “baby wrapped in swaddling clothes” and lying “in a manger” (cf. Lk 2: 12), he offers the possibility of seeing with new eyes the realities of every day. He can taste the power of the interior fascination of God’s love and is able to transform even sorrow into joy.

Let us prepare ourselves, dear friends, to meet Jesus, the Emmanuel, God with us. Born in the poverty of Bethlehem, he wants to be the travelling companion of each one of us on our life’s journey. In this world, from the very moment when he decided to pitch his “tent”, no one is a stranger.

It is true, we are all here in passing, but it is precisely Jesus who makes us feel at home on this earth, sanctified by his presence. He asks us, however, to make it a home in which all are welcome.

The surprising gift of Christmas is exactly this: Jesus came for each one of us and in him we have become brothers.

The corresponding duty is to increasingly overcome preconceptions and prejudices, to break down barriers and eliminate the differences that divide us, or worse, that set individuals and peoples against one another, in order to build together a world of justice and peace.

With these sentiments, dear brothers and sisters, let us live the last hours that separate us from Christmas, preparing ourselves spiritually to welcome the Child Jesus. In the heart of the night he will come for us. It is his desire, however, also to come in us, to dwell in the heart of every one of us.

So that this may occur, it is indispensable that we are open and that we prepare ourselves to receive him, ready to make room for him within ourselves, in our families, in our cities.

May his birth not find us unprepared to celebrate Christmas, forgetting that the protagonist of the celebration is precisely him!

May Mary help us to maintain the interior recollection so necessary to taste the profound joy that the Redeemer’s birth brings. To her we address our prayer, thinking particularly of those who are prepared to celebrate Christmas in sadness and solitude, in sickness and in suffering: to all may the Virgin bring comfort and consolation.