Bishops and archbishops across the United States have shared Christmas greetings and messages with their flocks.
The messages they bring can touch the hearts of the faithful in any diocese. Here is a sampling from shepherds around the country.
Bishop Salvatore Cordileone
Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of the Oakland, Calif., Diocese said in his Christmas message, “In preaching the timeless story of the birth of Christ each year at this time, we preachers are always faced with the question lingering in the minds of at least some people: ‘So what difference, practically speaking, in my everyday life, does all this make anyway?’ The devout would immediately answer, ‘All the difference in the world.’ However, not everyone has reached this point in their spiritual journey.”
“It is common, then, for preachers to fall back on an equally timeless principle of our Catholic faith: our own participation in the mystery of the Incarnation by making Christ present through lives of good works and holiness, ” he said. “As I reflect back over this year, I am deeply grateful to God for how I have seen our people live out this principle in so many ways.”
Bishop Cordileone goes on to say: “‘Continuing the mystery of the Incarnation by making Christ present through lives of good works and holiness’: Yes, it is an oft-repeated principle, a frequent and favorite topic of preaching for many of us, but one that never gets old.
“As often as we make it real, we are made new all over again in Christ. This is how we live the mystery of Christmas and keep its joy alive every day of the year, all throughout our lives.”
“Christmas is not a day or a season; it is a lifetime of growth in holiness by generous giving of oneself, ” he said. “If we reflect upon our experiences of this reality, we learn the life-saving lesson that Christ never gets old; he is always new, fresh and alive. Yes, his birth does, indeed, make all the difference in the world.
“I pray that in this way the mystery of Christ’s birth which we celebrate at this time may live on in your hearts all throughout the year, all throughout your lives.”
Bishop David Ricken
In the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., Bishop David Ricken begins his letter with: “God is good all the time! This is a saying I use often to express my gratitude to the Lord, who has given us the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of our sins.”
He continues: “Christmas is a special season when we come together and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our parishes overflow with families gathered to pray and rejoice. My hope and prayer is that this Christmas enthusiasm carries forward throughout 2012. Just imagine if all our churches were bursting at the seams every weekend. This is possible with your help.”