Christmas Message

Christmas, above all else, brings a message of hope and that was most beautifully explained by Fr. Austin Doran in a letter to his parishioners. Quoted below is some of what he related in his December communication:

“A cousin of mine passed away some months ago after a long illness. An extremely kind and charming man in his mid 60’s, he was a much loved husband, father and grandfather. His family was heartbroken. But last week the situation changed for them completely. Only 25 weeks into a very dangerous pregnancy, my cousin’s daughter gave birth to a little girl. Standing with the baby’s dad at the incubator in the neonatal intensive care unit, I beheld with great awe that beautiful child, tiny, bright pink and very much alive and kicking. At her father’s request I gave the child a blessing, while knowing that this little baby now blesses her family and her world with the gift of hope.

Hope, like that newborn, may seem small, fragile and in danger, but it really does change everything. Hope does not take pain away, but makes sense of it. The experience of grief, loss and struggle is transformed if only we can nurture within the incubator of our soul the gift of hope, however fragile. Jesus came to invite us and all humankind to a future full of hope.

In Advent, we celebrate hope. The tiny, fragile Christ child in the manger blesses us with hope. That hope is fulfilled in Jesus’ compassion toward all those in need, the shedding of his blood for us on the cross, his glorious resurrection, and the mystery of his Kingdom, present and yet to come. It begins at Bethlehem, where we celebrate the mysterious birth and rebirth of hope”.

As the year 2005 comes to a close and 2006 begins, I am filled with hope that the Church, after so much turmoil and scandal, will emerge stronger and more holy than ever – thanks to priests like Fr. Austin and the thousands of other shining examples of our Catholic Priesthood all over the world.