Christmas Message from Bishop Hundt

 

Dear People of the Diocese,

I am writing you this Christmas message just as we begin an Extraordinary Holy Year and as we journey through Advent, a liturgical season in which we are invited by the Church to prepare ourselves both for the annual celebration of the Nativity of the Lord AND for His second coming, when He will come in glory at the end of time.

In many ways a Holy Year is a sort of extended Advent season.  It is a time in which the Church invites us to especially focus on our spiritual life and to “prepare the way of the Lord”.  The Holy Year that we have just begun has as its focus the Mercy of God.  Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has invited us to make this Holy Year a time to reflect on the incredible mercy that God has shown to us and a time to seek to be ever better stewards of His mercy in our relationships with others, and in our relationship to our beautiful but fragile planet.

In his speeches and homilies Pope Francis often reflects on the small and ordinary ways that we can share God’s love and mercy with others.  At no time more than during the Advent and Christmas season are we given wonderful opportunities to reach out in love to our families, our neighbours, our coworkers, our parishes and to total strangers.

I often remember a conversation I had many years ago with a Catholic gentleman named Tony who told me of the annual “special ministry “ he did at Christmas midnight Mass.  He said: “Each year at midnight Mass I end up sitting next to some guy who hasn’t been in church since last Christmas.  If I wasn’t there that guy wouldn’t know when to sit or stand or what to do.  By the end of the Mass, he’d be feeling embarrassed and awkward and he’d be thinking: ‘Thank God that’s over for another year!’   However, because I’m there next to him, I know that he will not feel that way.  By my example he knows when to sit and stand and, at the Sign of Peace, I always give him a big smile and I say to him: “Peace be with you, thank you for coming tonight.  Have a very blessed and merry Christmas!’”

Please join with me in praying that God will show each of us how we, like Tony, can be wonderful ministers of His love and mercy during this Christmas season and throughout the Holy Year of Mercy that we have just begun.  With best wishes for a blessed Christmas,

 

Yours in Christ,

 

+Peter Hundt

Bishop of Corner Brook and Labrador