Dear Parishioners: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light,” as the reading from Isaiah announced at Christmas. We live in the joy of the Christmas season, and it has very little to do with holiday sales. Jesus Christ is Emmanuel – “God with us.”
Exchanging gifts and good times with friends and family is a tradition that springs forth from our Christmas joy. But the noise of these things should never drown out the quiet voice of God’s love made flesh in the birth of Jesus. Bethlehem, for each of us individually and the world as a whole, is the beginning of something entirely new and utterly beautiful if we ask God for the purity of heart to possess it. Christians celebrate the 25th of December not as just another secular holiday, but much more deeply as the day of birth of the messiah that is the birthday, in the words of St. Leo the Great, of life itself.
God loved us so much that He sent us His only Son. He loved us enough to take on our poverty, our indignities and fears, our hopes and joys, our sufferings and failures — and to speak to us as one of us. He became man to show men and women how much God loves them. He was born for that purpose. He lived for that purpose. He died and rose again for that purpose. It’s never too late to invite the Christ Child into our hearts. Surely this weary and war-torn world needs “the great light” born on Christmas Day. May God grant each of us, and those we love, the gift of welcoming Jesus Christ into our hearts this Christmas Season and all throughout the coming year.
We give thanks for so many people who make our celebration of Christmas so very joyous at OLM. The Church is beautifully decorated, the Christmas music was superb, our altar servers are outstanding and the crowds were overflowing! It was truly a joyful and faithful Christmas at OLM. We thank Celia Franzone and her loyal band of decorators for their tremendous work in making OLM so beautiful at Christmas. We thank Paul Anderson and his maintenance crew for ensuring the Church is clean, for hanging the wreaths and stringing the lights on the trees and so many other things. We thank our dedicated sacristans and all those who help clean the Church for ensuring the sacred vessels were polished, the linens cleaned and starched, the vestments wrinkle free and for taking care of all the little details for our worship of God. We also thank our wonderful Altar Servers for their reverent and solemn service at Christmas Masses.
We thank our ushers for their warm welcome and hospitality. We are grateful for our Lectors and the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion for their good service to the parish. We must also truly thank our musicians, Henri St. Louis, Deirdre Donovan, the OLM Adult Choir and Children’s Choir for providing such beautiful music for the Feast of Christmas! We are truly blessed to have such good people dedicate themselves to our parish! So please take a moment to offer a prayer of thanksgiving for all these dedicated people who work so hard for our parish! In your name, I offer our deep gratitude and continued appreciation for all they do!
Finally, on behalf of Fr. Connors, Deacon Dowd and myself, I offer our thanks to the parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy Parish for your faithful witness and joyful spirit in celebrating Christmas. We thank the many parishioners who are so supportive of our priestly and parish ministry here at OLM. Your well wishes, greeting cards and the many generous and thoughtful gifts at Christmas are truly appreciated and we are so very grateful. May God bless you and your families and our parish with continued joy and happiness of this season.
I hope you join us for the holyday on New Year’s Day, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. There is a Vigil Mass at 4pm on New Year’s Eve and Mass at 7:30am and 10:30am on New Year’s Day. Attending Mass on New Year’s is a great start to the New Year. So please join us as we honor Mary, the Mother of God! Happy Christmas and a Holy and Happy New Year.