The Masses of Christmas have begun here down under.
A blessed Christmas to all readers of A secular priest!
Dear brothers and sisters, Christmas is to stop and to contemplate that Child, [to contemplate] the mystery of God who becomes man in humility and poverty; but above all, it is to welcome again that Child, who is Christ the Lord, into our very selves, so that we might live by His very life, so that His sentiments, His thoughts, His actions might be our sentiments, our thoughts, our actions. To celebrate Christmas, then, is to manifest the joy, the newness and the light that this Birth brings to the whole of our existence, such that we too become heralds of the joy, the true newness and the light of God to others. Once more, I wish you all a Christmas season blessed by the presence of God!
A great Christmas message from the Queen …
Christmas Day has just now ended in Brisbane as it begins here in Ottawa.
Merry Christmas morning from Ottawa! I think this counts as a white Christmas:
To coincide with the arrival of “real winter” the heating in my room decided to go on holiday … or perhaps it is just having the day off for Christmas. Needless to say that the ambient heat in the room, and the warmth of my personality, didn’t last long to offset the invading chill. Brother “Fix It” visited and whatever the source of the problem is, it couldn’t be remedied immediately. So I have an electric heater now that is working valiantly.
Notre Dame Cathedral looked beautiful last night, bedecked in umpteen pots of poinsettia. Actually, when they arrived the week before, the whole collection of them in the sacristy was an impressive sight in itself. I did take my camera, but the batteries gave up the ghost (theme of the day) by the time I got to church last night. However, there are a couple of shots of the cathedral on the Archbishop’s blog, including one of the beautiful creche inside the cathedral. The 7pm Mass which I concelebrated with the Archbishop was packed to the rafters, literally, as the galleries on both sides were largely full. The youth choir led the music, and sang a very beautiful piece after Communion (I think I’ve left the programme for Mass downstairs in my coat pocket, so I’ll retrieve it later to find out what the piece was). The Entrance Hymn was my favourite Adeste Fideles, in Latin, French and English. Although, I must confess that I had Psalm 137 in my mind … How can we sing the LORD’S song in a foreign land? But sing I did, consoled by the pleasing thought that next Christmas, heating will be the last thing on my mind – please God! After Mass I celebrated with some of the ‘gang’ from the 4.15pm Saturday Mass at which I often preside.
I’m looking forward to a very quiet Christmas Day, now, trying not to think too much that with tomorrow’s dawn my head gets stuck back into writing my paper.
Happy Christmas everyone! Joyeux Noël.
Brisbane’s Apostolic Administrator has written a Christmas message for the people of south-east Queensland.
The text follows.
Christmas Message from Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett
For the people of south-eastern Queensland the approaching first anniversary of the disastrous floods will vividly recall an array of memories, from the deeply personal of those who suffered most to the great experience of community collaboration as energetic volunteers came to the help of people whose homes were flooded and possessions ruined.
The disasters in Christchurch and Japan were to follow, their horrendous images stirring us to be thankful that whatever we suffer in Australia by way of such rages of nature, we are let off comparatively lightly.
As we celebrate Christmas, in the wake of more storm devastation in the southern Philippines, we are being stirred most by the appalling loss of life of asylum-seekers in yet another boat disaster en route to Australia. And this just a year after the wreck that took 50 lives on the rocky shore of Christmas Island.
It will take even longer to ascertain just how many have recently drowned, but there is no doubt that immediate action must be taken by the Australian Government in a concerted bi-partisan effort to ensure that there are no more such tragedies. Desperate people must be saved from the trade of the people-smugglers and their rickety boats attempting to cross the open seas. A humane system of offshore processing of people seeking asylum would be the most effective deterrent, and put into practice our Australian values of fairness and compassion for those in genuine need of a new homeland.
In a few days we’ll be enjoying our Christmas celebrations with family and friends with an abundance of food and drink and gifts to share. I hope we’ll also take a moment to count our blessings and think how we can share them. We wish our leaders and political representatives a happy Christmas also. The summer break, however, should not stand in the way of their exercising the power we have given them to legislate across the lines of party divides for a fast and effective offshore solution to a desperate human need.
Apostolic Administrator of Brisbane Archdiocese
December 22, 2011
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast’s Christmas Message can be viewed here,
and a video message (which is different from the written message):
to all who pass this way!
“May the Infant Jesus
for what you are bearing
for love of Him,
and make you holy!”
(— St Pio of Pietrelcina)
May God be your strength in 2012.
This is one of my favourite memories of Christmas Mass:
P.S. We have had some snow today here in Ottawa, so we may have a white Christmas, so I won’t have to “dream of a white Christmas” any more!
O come, all ye faithful … O come let us adore Him: Christ the Lord!
Celebrate with the rest of the family!