Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King

January 15th, 2018

Throughout history, God has called individuals to respond to the needs of the age.  One such man was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-69). 

With a conviction deeply rooted in his faith in Jesus Christ, Dr. King gave true meaning and worth to the words “prophetic” and “countercultural.”  Like the prophets of old, he announced what some thought to be unwelcome messages – he spoke out for a just society, freedom, equality and for the day our nation was “transformed into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood,” insisting that we be like the early Christians and work for peaceful reconciliation and the transformation of society. Thanks to this minister of God and his specifically Christian approach in responding to social injustice, America did begin to change.

This year’s celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy around the country, and by the archdiocese at Saint Joseph Church in Largo last Saturday, has been bittersweet.  The nation rejoiced in his memory five years ago on the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington.  Then, three years ago, we recalled with enduring hope the 50 years since the momentous 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights, when clergy and laity of every race and faith walked side-by-side for justice.  This year, we instead mark the 50th anniversary of his tragic murder in April 1968.

Yet, 50 years after Dr. King’s untimely death at the young age of 39, his voice has not been stilled; his dream lives on.  The words and example of this modern-day prophet continue to ring out and inspire new generations as we confront the issues of injustice today, such as lingering racial tensions in our country, the treatment of those on the margins, and other threats to human life and dignity.

In a culture where racism was rampant and devaluing others widespread, Dr. King did not seek to conquer, but to convert, to peacefully change hearts, believing that love has within it a redemptive power that transforms individuals (Sermon of November 17, 1957). Always faithful to the Gospel, he simply reminded this culture, this nation, that we are all sisters and brothers because we are all children of the same God.  The legacy he leaves tells us that each is responsible for the harmony that should reflect the presence of God’s kingdom in the world.  It is our turn now.

As I noted in my pastoral letter, The Challenge of Racism Today, there is work still to be done in building a free and just society for people of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds.  Inspired by the witness of Dr. King which lives on, this is how we best honor his memory: by continuing to work for God’s kingdom, lifting up human dignity and standing up for the vulnerable, the weak and the oppressed.

Thanks and Prayers for the New Bishop of Richmond

January 12th, 2018

Today, a native son of the Church of Washington, Bishop Barry C. Knestout, is being installed as the new shepherd of the Diocese of Richmond at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. We rejoice that Pope Francis has given our now-former auxiliary bishop this responsibility to teach, lead and sanctify that portion of the Lord’s flock entrusted to him.  His episcopal motto, “Christ Our Hope,” inspired by the theme of Pope Benedict’s visit, reflects the goal of his life and ministry as he brings Christ’s love and hope to his new family of faith in Virginia in that historic diocese.

Bishop Knestout was born in Cheverly, Maryland, and grew up as a member of Saint Pius X Parish in Bowie, one of nine children of Caroline and the late Deacon Thomas Knestout. Following his formation at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, he was ordained a priest of our archdiocese in 1989 by Cardinal James Hickey.  As Archbishop of Washington, I had the honor of ordaining him a bishop in 2008.

Before becoming auxiliary bishop for Washington, Father Knestout served as a parish priest as well as priest secretary to Cardinal Hickey and later Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. Named a Monsignor by Pope John Paul II in 1999, he also led the archdiocese’s Office of Youth Ministry/Catholic Youth Organization and subsequently the Secretariat for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns.  The great breadth of knowledge and experience he gained in these roles led me to name him as vicar general and as Moderator of the Curia, essentially the “chief of staff” in the day-to-day operation of the archdiocese’s central offices.

Over the past decade, Bishop Knestout helped host the pastoral visits of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.  He chaired the General Preparatory Commission for the first Archdiocesan Synod in 2014 to mark the Archdiocese of Washington’s 75th anniversary. Thereafter, he played a leading role in the implementation of its statutes and recommendations, aimed at building the best Church we can be.

In his service to the spiritual family of Washington, Bishop Knestout has demonstrated a loving commitment to the Church and her teaching, deep concern for pastoral ministry, and devoted service to those entrusted to his care. Working closely with him these many years, I have appreciated his priestly spirit and skill, wealth of knowledge, patient manner and kindness of heart. On a personal note, I am grateful for his friendship and generous assistance in my own episcopal ministry.

Now as my friend, brother bishop and Washington’s native son assumes new responsibilities in the Church of Richmond, Bishop Knestout carries with him the warm affection, respect and admiration of all of us, and we pledge him our support and prayers, asking God to bless him and his ministry.


Throwback Thursday: The Mercy of Hospitality

January 11th, 2018

Travel to any community in the country and you will likely find motels, hotels and restaurants that are happy to provide you – for a price – a room for the night or a hot meal.  So extensive is the modern hospitality industry that some schools even offer degrees in managing these services.  It is all a very convenient and useful social good.

Traditionally, however, the concept of hospitality has had a rather different meaning, one that did not involve the payment of money in return.  This older concept of hospitality, observed in many cultures, more resembled the gratuitous reception that is given now to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and other guests.

On this smaller, more personal level, it is an almost ingrained ethic today to ask a visitor – whether in the home or the office – “Welcome. Would you like something to drink?  Something to eat?”  A good host wants his or her guest to be comfortable.  We open our homes also for holidays, parties, graduations, funerals, and we host wedding receptions, offering food, drink, sometimes entertainment or a place to stay, and just as important, camaraderie.

Mothers and grandmothers are especially renowned for their hospitality, not only to their own family members, but to others as well.  How many of us remember going to a friend’s house when we were growing up and being asked if we were staying for dinner?

This hospitality extends outside the home as well, expressed in etiquette and social conventions of holding the door for others, giving up your seat to a pregnant woman or older person, offering a portion of your lunch to someone who has none.  Our parishes too should be places of warm welcome and sustenance.  In these small ways, these small mercies, we help make the world a little bit better.

This attitude of hospitality and warm welcome, sometimes expressed as, “Mi casa es su casa – My house is your house,” was in older times even freely extended to complete strangers and travelers, rich and poor alike, including foreigners.  Before the age of interstate highways and pervasive hotels and restaurants, it was understood to be a vital social virtue, religious ethic and moral duty for both the elite and common people to open their doors and show generosity and courtesy to those away from home and widows and orphans too.  Of course, the clergy and monasteries of the Church opened their spiritual homes as well to provide hospitality to people in need.

The roots of this hospitality go back to the ancient world.  Particularly in places like the desert regions of the Middle East, access to water, food and shelter was a matter of life and death for a traveler.  God in his mercy had provided these necessities to his chosen people and so he instructs them, “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:34).  The Lord commands this kindness be show to even foreigner travelers despite foreign domination being a constant prime concern of Israel.

Holy Scripture provides an example of the hospitality we should practice when the Lord appeared to Abraham in the form of three men.  Abraham waited on this manifestation of the Trinity, providing food, shelter from the hot sun, and water for the three visitors to wash their feet.  The Lord then blesses Abraham and his wife Sarah with a son in their old age (Genesis 18:1-16).  In the First Book of Kings, we read how the widow Zarephath received the prophet Elijah and, even though she was in dire straits with her food nearly gone, she gave him a portion.  Again God gives his blessing – Zarephath is given enough food to survive and when her son dies, the Lord restores him to life (1 Kings 17:8-24).

“Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels,” we are told (Hebrews 13:2).  Having been received in mercy by the Lord, hospitality is among the essential qualities that he expects of his good and faithful people, including concern not only for family and friends, but for those we do not know, for domestic travelers, foreign immigrants and refugees, and for all who are downtrodden, vulnerable and marginalized.

Whether it is in the home, at work, in the Church, or in our nation, as a matter of justice and gratitude for what we have been given, we are called to be welcoming and hospitable to others.  By these acts of gratuitousness, we help build up the kingdom of God.

Sharing in the Baptism of Our Lord

January 8th, 2018

With the feast of the Baptism of the Lord today, we rejoice in Jesus’ immersion in the waters of the Jordan as marking the beginning of his public life and his mission of our redemption.

Jesus’ baptism is also another epiphany, with Saint John the Baptist bearing witness that Jesus is the Christ, the long-promised Messiah. God himself confirms his proclamation in an extraordinary way by a manifestation of the Blessed Trinity: the Father’s voice, the Son’s body, and the Spirit descending as a dove. This is the moment of Jesus’ anointing as priest, prophet, and king.

Like Jesus, we too were anointed at our baptism to share in Jesus’s priestly, prophetic and kingly mission. Thus, from the time of the early Church, we see this feast day as not just a celebration of Jesus’ baptism but also our own. Today is a celebration of the graces that we received in baptism and receive every day as a gift from the God who loves us. We are also reminded that we must be open to welcoming those graces and using this and all gifts that we receive from God in making our own lives an imitation of Christ’s life, in which he was a living expression of God’s love, mercy and compassion.

As we settle back into a more ordinary routine of work and weekend activities – at least for a few short weeks before Lent begins on February 14 – let us remember that the extraordinary gift of the Incarnation and the example of Christian living that we learn in Jesus’ preaching and teaching invite us to be witness to the dynamism of the Christian life.  Reflecting on this:  How can we live our faith fully? How can we share our faith more freely? What part of our lives can be transformed by our choosing to be more kind and compassionate?

The linkage between the person baptized and Jesus – between the message and the messenger – is not just a matter of our own personal salvation. It is not only an action of personal piety. Rather, we are engaged in a new life of the Spirit so that working in and through us, the Spirit might transform the whole world.

As Pope Francis reminds us, “In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples” (Evangelii Gaudium, 120). This is no passive matter. “Every Christian is challenged, here and now to be actively engaged,” he adds and then challenges us: “Saint Paul, after his encounter with Jesus Christ, ‘immediately proclaimed Jesus’ (Acts 9:20; cf. 22:6-21). So what are we waiting for?”

Journeying Toward a Just Peace for Migrants and Refugees

January 6th, 2018

Recognizing how often the people of God found themselves strangers in a foreign land, from Abraham and Jacob to the Holy Family and missionaries through the ages, the plight of migrants and refugees has long been a concern of the Church.  To raise awareness and celebrate the gifts that people from other lands have to offer, the Church in the United States lifts up for us National Migration Week, which this year is observed from January 7-13.

Here locally, where we are rich in multicultural diversity, the archdiocese’s Office of Cultural Diversity and Outreach is encouraging people this week to show solidarity with migrants and refugees through prayer, sharing personal stories and speaking out on their behalf.

This annual initiative comes this year as our nation considers much-needed immigration reform amidst what is actually a world-wide migration crisis. As Pope Francis notes in his Message for the 2018 World Day of Peace, over 250 million women, men and children are on the move, 22.5 million of whom are refugees.  Stressing our common humanity as sons and daughters of God, he says, “In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.”

Instead of viewing migration as a threat to national resources, the Holy Father encourages a welcoming response as part of the effort to build a just peace and better world. “Migrants and refugees,” he says, “do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them.”

As I wrote in my recent pastoral letter, The Challenge of Racism Today, “we are called to be witnesses to the unity of God’s family and therefore, to be a living testimony to the inclusiveness that is a graced sign of our oneness.”  The story of the world’s migrants and refugees is not that of strangers, it is the story of our sisters and brothers in the one human family seeking a safer future and better life.

The journey of migrants and refugees is actually a shared journey, as the Church accompanies them on the way with our prayers, our understanding and empathy, and the support we provide to these people in need.  To learn more, please visit adw.org/encounter and sharejourney.org.

Throwback Thursday: The Public Revelation of the Savior of the World

January 4th, 2018

Journey of the Magi, Giovanni da Modena (1412)

Before the invention of satellites or digital compasses and the Global Positioning System, travelers, navigators and mariners looked to the stars for guidance. The Gospel of Matthew tells us about one particular star, the Star of Bethlehem, which pointed to the Lord Jesus and guided the Magi from the East (Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11).  Following the star, the Magi found their way to the place where the infant Jesus lay. They fell to their knees, worshiped him and offered him gifts.

The Solemnity of the Epiphany, which we celebrate this year on Sunday, January 7, is the feast that represents the completion of the Christmas story.  It celebrates the manifestation of the newborn Christ as Savior of the world and commemorates the public revelation that Jesus – God with us – came not only for the chosen people, the Jews, but for all peoples of the world.

The shepherds were Jews, the people Israel whom God had called throughout salvation history.  The Magi were Gentiles. God saw that they too were seeking a higher wisdom, so he called them from afar as well to find salvation. As the Magi and shepherds before them each approached the Child and his mother, they represented all the peoples of the world. They received the Good News, the Gospel, on our behalf.  Here is seen the universality of the Church, the Church’s inclusion of all peoples.

“Epiphany” comes from the Greek word for “showing” or “manifestation.” Without a showing, without a manifestation, Jesus could have gone through life without being recognized as God’s Son – and therefore, without accomplishing his goal. For Christ to have an effect in the world – in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our lives – he has to be recognized. For Christ to be recognized, he has to be manifested.  This is why Epiphany and our remembrance of it are so important.

For 2,000 years, it has been the work of the Church, of all of us, every member of the Body of Christ, to show forth the presence of Jesus Christ our Savior and King, one of us who is also the Son of God. This showing takes place in many ways.

Just as there are countless stars in the sky that form all kinds of constellations, so too are there many, many holy lives, many kinds of dedicated people, women and men, disciples of Jesus, who replicate the work of the great Star of Bethlehem. The Church continues to rely on that constellation of stars to manifest Jesus today and to lead people to him.

Who are the lights that manifest the kingdom of God for all to see? They are ordinary people who are doing the work of the kingdom in the places they find themselves, shining Christ’s light in their homes, their communities, and in our parishes, schools and Catholic ministries. They form a great constellation that manifests the kingdom of God in today’s world.

When the Magi found the Child Jesus, they presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Every person in the Church, each member of the heavenly constellation, has rich gifts to offer: your talents are your gifts, given by God, and the same is true of your time, your energy, and above all else, your love. These are your own personal gifts of “gold, frankincense and myrrh,” and only you can give them.

Pope Francis titled his first encyclical Lumen Fidei – Latin for “The Light of Faith” – and he said that light “is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.” Faith, he said, “becomes a light for our way, guiding our journey through time” (Lumen Fidei, 4).

Just as Jesus came to be known in their homage and in the gifts that were given by the three Magi, so he becomes known and more clearly visible because of your presence, your gifts, your witness. Like the Star of Bethlehem once guided the Magi in the night sky, the light of your faith, and of your love, can lead others to Jesus, and this “epiphany” can transform their hearts and their lives.

This blog post is adapted from the book that Mike Aquilina and I wrote,The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics” (2014).

Love and Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church

January 1st, 2018

Trinity Dome – credit: J. Lippelmann, Catholic Standard

As we begin a New Year on the civil calendar today, the Church lifts up for us the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, who ushered in a new beginning for all humanity and whose “soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord” (Luke 1:46). “Whenever we look to Mary,” Pope Francis has said, “we come to believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness” (Evangelii Gaudium, 288).

When Mary said “yes” to God – “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) – she gave us our Savior Jesus Christ, God who has come to dwell among us and who continues to abide in the world.  What a gift her faith and fiat are to us and the whole human family. The Incarnation of the Word changed everything – God became one with us so that we might have eternal life thanks to her faithful response to him.  What is more, because of Mary, the Lord is present in the world today in his mystical body, the Church, who looks to her as our mother too.

With maternal concern, Mary the Mother of God who is also Mother of the Church looks out for us and accompanies us in our pilgrim journey.  Just as she “was able to turn a stable into a home for Jesus, with poor swaddling clothes and an abundance of love,” teaches Pope Francis, Mary is able to transform our own impoverished humanity with her abundant love, “ever concerned that wine not be lacking in our lives.”  As a true mother who understands all our pains, she “draws near to us and accompanies us throughout life,” he affirms. “She shares our struggles and she constantly surrounds us with God’s love” (Evangelii Gaudium, 286).

It is not surprising that people have such affection for this humble woman of Nazareth, raising up magnificent churches in her name, such as the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception with its newly-dedicated Trinity Dome, and calling her by a litany of names and titles:  Mother of God, Mother of the Church, Mother of Mercy, Queen of Heaven, Queen of Peace, Help of the Afflicted, Mirror of Justice, Mystical Rose, Morning Star, Our Lady, Patroness of the United States and of all the Americas, and much more.  In all this praise, we turn to her for comfort, inspiration and strength, knowing she will always lead us lovingly to Jesus.

Our Blessed Mother is also the supreme model of what our faith should be.  We should want to have that same faith as she who believed that “nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37), and be able to say “yes” to God all the time.  If we were each to fully cooperate with God’s power and grace, like Mary, imagine all the light and love there would be in the world.

Throwback Thursday: The Holy Family and Families Today

December 28th, 2017

On the Church’s liturgical calendar, the first Sunday after Christmas is dedicated to the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  As we celebrate this day, we also reflect on how the family of our Lord reveals God’s plan for all families.

“To understand the family today,” said Pope Francis on the eve of the 2015 Synod on the Family, we need to enter “into the mystery of the family of Nazareth, into its quiet daily life, not unlike that of most families, with their problems and their simple joys, a life marked by serene patience amid adversity, respect for others, a humility which is freeing and which flowers in service, a life of fraternity rooted in the sense that we are all members of one body” (see also Amoris Laetitia, 65-66).

The family of Nazareth helps families of today rediscover the vocation of the family – every family – to reveal and communicate life and love in communion with the Lord.  Like Mary and Joseph, families have a mission to welcome Jesus into their homes and lives, to “listen to him, speak with him, take care of him, protect him and grow with him, and in this way improve the world,” Pope Francis said in December 2014 to begin a series of talks on the family at his weekly audiences.

Today’s mothers, he added, can learn from Mary’s care for her Son, while fathers can benefit “from the example of Joseph, a righteous man, who dedicated his life to supporting and protecting the Child and his wife – his family – in difficult times.”  Meanwhile, young people can learn from the young Jesus in his “reading of the Scriptures, in praying the Psalms and in so many other customs of daily life,” including working with Joseph at his trade and his obedience to his parents.

When challenges arise, the Lord’s presence helps families endure, just as when Herod sought to kill the newborn Christ and the Holy Family went to Egypt as instructed by an angel.  During his visit to our local Saint Patrick Church in September 2015, the Pope also spoke of how Joseph was strengthened by his profound faith in God during the difficulties in his life, such as when he and Mary found there was no room for them in the inn at Bethlehem.

In the frantic urgency of a mother about to give birth with seemingly no place to stay, “Faith gave Joseph the power to find light just at the moment when everything seemed dark.  Faith sustained him amid the troubles of life,” said our Holy Father.  “As it did for Joseph, faith makes us open to the quiet presence of God at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation.”  Divine providence would have Jesus born in a stable, expressing his solidarity with the lowly and identifying “with all those who suffer, who weep, who suffer any kind of injustice.”

The Lord did not enter into the world by descending in majesty on a cloud.  He came as part of a family in humility.  He entrusted himself and his plan of salvation to the care of a human family, the family of Joseph and Mary, and “he could do this because that family was a family with a heart open to love, a family whose doors were open,” explained Pope Francis at the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

When God came “knocking,” when he sent his angel to Mary and then Joseph, each of them opened the doors of their hearts.  God knocks on the doors of today’s families as well.  He comes calling because he wants to enter into their lives, just as Jesus entered into the lives of Mary and Joseph.  He wants to give them his love so that they can be “families that are united, families that love, families that bring up their children, educating them and helping them to grow, families which build a society of goodness, truth and beauty,” said Pope Francis.

As we proceed on our pilgrim journey, God calls married couples and their children in a special way to walk a well-marked path, which he created to be their road to heaven. They do not walk alone, and they do not go forward in the dark. They are accompanied by Joseph and Mary and their son Jesus, who is also the Son of God, and they walk in the light of the Gospel.

The Holy Family of Nazareth shows families how to be holy and how to help others be holy.  The witness of families who answer God’s call, who open the doors of their hearts, reaches far beyond the walls of their home. This witness speaks the Gospel by their example to their extended family, to neighbors, to friends, to schoolmates, to everyone.  It brings Christ to the world.

The Nativity of Our Lord

December 25th, 2017

Today, a Savior is born to us.  We celebrate Jesus’ birthday in history not as a past event, but something that is on-going.  The nativity of our Lord goes beyond the limits of time and space.  It endures as a present reality in the world and in human hearts.

The Gospels speak with profound simplicity about the events surrounding the birth of Jesus that first Christmas (Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-20).  Yet within that humble experience is an astounding reality in which we discover the deepest truths about God and about ourselves.

We tend to think of God as so far beyond us – maybe so distant that he is not a part of our daily life.  Christmas is a time to renew our faith that in the Child of Bethlehem, “the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The comfort we derive from Christmas is knowing that God has become one with us in the flesh – and there is a sublime purpose in the Lord taking on our human nature.  Because he was to be our Savior, Jesus “had to become like his brothers in every way” (Hebrews 2:17).  Furthermore, it is only in the mystery of the incarnate Word that the mystery of our human existence is comprehensible (Gaudium et Spes, 22).

As Saint John Paul II affirmed, “Through the Incarnation, God gave human life the dimension that he intended man to have from his first beginning” (Redemptor Hominis, 1).  That dimension is love.  By the creative and transformative power of his love, Jesus renews a wounded humanity and restores our harmony and friendship with God, fulfilling the divine plan that we might enjoy eternal life and happiness with him.  This same love gives meaning and direction to our lives – to experience and participate in love and make it felt in our world, in everyone we meet (Id., 10).

Rejoicing in the great blessing that came to us that holy night when a new light dawned upon the world and God became one with us, may you and all of us know and feel today and always the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Mary, the Savior of the world.  Merry Christmas!

Christmas Invitations and Gifts

December 23rd, 2017

“Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy,” exclaimed the angel to the shepherds in the field. “Today in the city of David, a Savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord”  (Luke 2:10-11).

At the heart of Christmas is this invitation to rejoice in the Good News, an invitation to share in the great gift that is tendered to us in the Word made flesh – “for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  The Son of God comes into the world not in an overpowering or imposing way, but in a humble newborn who knocks on the doors of our hearts offering us his love, a love that reveals the ultimate meaning of our lives and “is greater than sin, than weakness, than the futility of creation, it is stronger than death; it is a love always ready to raise up and forgive,” as Saint John Paul II affirmed (Redemptor Hominis, 9).

Like the shepherds, this is how we all come to know and rejoice in the Lord who redeems our lives:  We each have been invited to receive Jesus into our hearts and lives.  Our joy in accepting cannot help but spur us to invite others to share in our blessings and experience the true meaning of Christmas.  Like the many presents under the tree, there are many invitations we can extend – singing Christmas carols together, asking someone to join us at Mass or to do some charitable service together – even a simple “Merry Christmas” can brighten someone’s life. In these commercialized times, when we can no longer take it for granted that people know that Christmas is about Christ, or even who Jesus truly is, they might really cherish hearing from you the real story and why the Lord means so much to you.

Our Christmas invitation is for people to personally experience the wonder and joy of Love Incarnate coming into the world.  And because Jesus came to save all people, all are welcome, everyone is invited. In a particular way, to anyone who might be disillusioned or disaffected by contemporary society or even by our faith community, the Church assures you that there is a place for you here in our spiritual home.  Our invitation is extended to everyone.

Wherever those we encounter are in life, whatever their own particular circumstances, our invitation to come see the Christ Child born in Bethlehem can help renew and transform them by his presence in their lives.  There is no gift that we could buy that would be greater than this gift of sharing in the hope, peace and love of Jesus, the reason for the season.