Sunday, December 25, 2011


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Rome and throughout the world!

Christ is born for us! Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to the men and women whom he loves. May all people hear an echo of the message of Bethlehem which the Catholic Church repeats in every continent, beyond the confines of every nation, language and culture. The Son of the Virgin Mary is born for everyone; he is the Saviour of all. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

This is how Christ is invoked in an ancient liturgical antiphon: “O Emmanuel, our king and lawgiver, hope and salvation of the peoples: come to save us, O Lord our God”. Veni ad salvandum nos! Come to save us! This is the cry raised by men and women in every age, who sense that by themselves they cannot prevail over difficulties and dangers. They need to put their hands in a greater and stronger hand, a hand which reaches out to them from on high. Dear brothers and sisters, this hand is Christ, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary. He is the hand that God extends to humanity, to draw us out of the mire of sin and to set us firmly on rock, the secure rock of his Truth and his Love (cf. Ps 40:2).

This is the meaning of the Child’s name, the name which, by God’s will, Mary and Joseph gave him: he is named Jesus, which means “Saviour” (cf. Mt 1:21; Lk 1:31). He was sent by God the Father to save us above all from the evil deeply rooted in man and in history: the evil of separation from God, the prideful presumption of being self-sufficient, of trying to compete with God and to take his place, to decide what is good and evil, to be the master of life and death (cf. Gen 3:1-7). This is the great evil, the great sin, from which we human beings cannot save ourselves unless we rely on God’s help, unless we cry out to him: “Veni ad salvandum nos! – Come to save us!”

The very fact that we cry to heaven in this way already sets us aright; it makes us true to ourselves: we are in fact those who cried out to God and were saved (cf. Esth [LXX] 10:3ff.). God is the Saviour; we are those who are in peril. He is the physician; we are the infirm. To realize this is the first step towards salvation, towards emerging from the maze in which we have been locked by our pride. To lift our eyes to heaven, to stretch out our hands and call for help is our means of escape, provided that there is Someone who hears us and can come to our assistance.

Jesus Christ is the proof that God has heard our cry. And not only this! God’s love for us is so strong that he cannot remain aloof; he comes out of himself to enter into our midst and to share fully in our human condition (cf. Ex 3:7-12). The answer to our cry which God gave in Jesus infinitely transcends our expectations, achieving a solidarity which cannot be human alone, but divine. Only the God who is love, and the love which is God, could choose to save us in this way, which is certainly the lengthiest way, yet the way which respects the truth about him and about us: the way of reconciliation, dialogue and cooperation.

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, on this Christmas 2011, let us then turn to the Child of Bethlehem, to the Son of the Virgin Mary, and say: “Come to save us!” Let us repeat these words in spiritual union with the many people who experience particularly difficult situations; let us speak out for those who have no voice.

Together let us ask God’s help for the peoples of the Horn of Africa, who suffer from hunger and food shortages, aggravated at times by a persistent state of insecurity. May the international community not fail to offer assistance to the many displaced persons coming from that region and whose dignity has been sorely tried.

May the Lord grant comfort to the peoples of South-East Asia, particularly Thailand and the Philippines, who are still enduring grave hardships as a result of the recent floods.

May the Lord come to the aid of our world torn by so many conflicts which even today stain the earth with blood. May the Prince of Peace grant peace and stability to that Land where he chose to come into the world, and encourage the resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. May he bring an end to the violence in Syria, where so much blood has already been shed. May he foster full reconciliation and stability in Iraq and Afghanistan. May he grant renewed vigour to all elements of society in the countries of North Africa and the Middle East as they strive to advance the common good.

May the birth of the Saviour support the prospects of dialogue and cooperation in Myanmar, in the pursuit of shared solutions. May the Nativity of the Redeemer ensure political stability to the countries of the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and assist the people of South Sudan in their commitment to safeguarding the rights of all citizens.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, let us turn our gaze anew to the grotto of Bethlehem. The Child whom we contemplate is our salvation! He has brought to the world a universal message of reconciliation and peace. Let us open our hearts to him; let us receive him into our lives. Once more let us say to him, with joy and confidence: “Veni ad salvandum nos!”



ARCHDIOCESE OF WASHINGTON RELEASE: Cardinal Wuerl celebrates Christmas Mass and reminds gathered faithful that Christmas is a time to renew our faith in Christ

“In a very real and tangible manner, heaven touches earth in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.”
December 25, 2011

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, blessed the crèche and celebrated the Noon Mass on Christmas Day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. In his homily, he reminded those gathered that every year, the Church calls on the faithful to celebrate Christmas and renew their faith in Jesus.

The Cardinal acknowledged that faith can easily be obscured by the immediacy of all that makes up our daily lives and keeps our focus on this world, but “Christmas calls us to see beyond limits of the moment and asks us to recognize that there is so much more…Christmas is a time to renew our faith that that small Child born in Bethlehem is truly God with us.” Cardinal Wuerl continued, “In a very real and tangible manner, heaven touches earth in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. In the Mass, the Risen Savior, who is seated at the right hand of the Father, is with us. Sacramentally present, Jesus Christ touches and enters more fully into each of us who approach the altar of the Lord. Jesus, who is God with us, is with us today here at Mass. That is why the Church calls us to Christmas Mass — to Christ’s Mass.”

Finally, Cardinal Wuerl called on the faithful in attendance at the Shrine’s Mass to recognize that each person has a role in the New Evangelization, in the task of sharing the Good News. In addition to the gifts of faith, hope and love, Cardinal Wuerl added that another gift that could be offered was the “pledge to do something to help someone else come to know all over again in his or her heart the warmth of being a disciple of the Lord announced in words as simple as, ‘Merry Christmas!’”

After the Mass, Cardinal Wuerl stopped in to visit many guests who were in attendance at the Shrine’s Christmas dinner. In an annual tradition that draws more than 1,400 people each year, volunteers serve a free Christmas meal to those who are alone or are in need, and deliver additional meals to families throughout the region.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics, 140 parishes and 98 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Chieko Noguchi
Office of Communications


PM NEWS REPORT: Update – A bomb exploded outside of a Catholic church on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital Abuja during Christmas prayers Sunday and emergency services said they did not have enough ambulances available to evacuate all the dead and the wounded.
No fewer than 10 people have been confirmed dead. There were many injured.
“Yes, I can confirm to you that there has been a bomb blast in a church in Madala (suburb),” National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman Yushau Shuaibu said by telephone to Reuters.
“We are presently there, evacuating the dead and the injured, but unfortunately we don’t have enough ambulances. Most of our ambulances have gone to operate on the major highways of the country,” he added.
The blast in St Theresa’s Church in Madala, an Abuja suburb blew out windows of at least one house nearby, a witness said.
Madala falls into the capital’s neighbouring Niger State, where there had been several incidents of bombings in recent months.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast. The Boko Haram sect, fighting for the Islamisation of Nigeria had claimed a series of bombings in recent months, including the bombing of the UN headquarters in Abuja.
Police and army authorities have waged a recent campaign against the group in their bases in Yobe and Borno states. Close to 61 people have been killed, including three soldiers and seven policemen.
To stem such bombings, the authorities in Nigeria’s Plateau State, yesterday banned the use of motor-cycles during the Yuletide.


ASIA NEWS REPORT: by Sumon Francis Gomes
Traditional sweets, homes decorated with Christmas poems, and house-to-house Christmas carolling in the week preceding Christmas are part of the activities Bangladeshi Christians engage in preparation for the coming of Jesus. Celebrations are held with majority Muslims and Christmas day is a national holiday.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – As bamboo stars hang from rooftops and banana trees are decorated like Christmas trees, preparations for this holiest of days get in full swing in Bangladesh. Even in this predominantly Muslim country, Christmas is in fact a statutory holiday. In the villages, everyone is involved in preparing for Borodin (Christmas). Some bake traditional cakes and decorate churches and homes; others rehearse carols, for everything must be ready for Christmas Eve, when families go to church for confession before they can welcome the Baby Jesus in their homes.

“For Borodin (Christmas), we prepare various kinds of pitha-pulis (a local cake made with rice flour). For us, it is a special day in our lives, which we wait eagerly throughout the year,” said Suchitra Rozario, a homemaker in Mothbari Parsih, Gazipur.

During Advent, Bangladesh’s Christians embellish their homes with local handmade decorations. They prepare small small goshala (mangers) and hang stars made of bamboo and colour paper to the rooftops to represent the stars of Bethlehem.

Villagers also paint their homes, sing different design, writing short verses they composed on the pira (lower outside basement of village mud house).

In early December, boys and girls rehearse, getting ready to go house to house to sing Christmas carols in the week that precede 25 December.

“This year we will cut banana trees to replant them in pairs in front of the village’s main entrance. The leaves of the trees are bent to form an arch”, said Dipu Rodrigues, a young boy from Nagori Parish, Gazipur. “We have a plan to replant a banana tree in the middle of the yard like other years as a symbol of the Christmas Tree.”

Whether in the cities or the villages, Christmas is celebrated in many different ways.
Dolon Placid Gomes, a parishioner in the Holy Cross Church, Luxmibzar, Dhaka, supervises the decoration of the church by parish children.

“Christmas celebration in the city is a bit different from the villages. We sing carols during the week before Christmas. Many of us will leave town on Christmas day to join relatives at the village home,” he added.

“The Christmas Eucharist in St Mary’s Cathedral in Dhaka will be broadcast live by most local television channels,” said Fr Joyanto Gomes, director of Christian Communications Centre. “Both radio and TV also plan special programming for the holiday weekend, a unique occurrence in a Muslim nation.”



Cardinal George Pell
Catholic Archbishop of Sydney

SYDNEY ARCHDIOCESE REPORT: Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell - Christmas Message 2011

"Blessed is she who believed, for there wil be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her for the Lord" (Luke 1:45). Merry Christmas! As we celebrate this great Feast Day with friends and family - take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas, with a message from Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney.


KATH.NET REPORT: *INTERNET TRANSLATION* documented the sermon on the Christmas in the high Cathedral Cologne on 25 December 2011
Cardinal Meisner:
Dear Sisters, dear brothers!

1. "Maria wrapped him (the child) in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there is no place for them in the hostel" (Lk 2.7). So the evangelist Luke told the improbable mystery of the incarnation of God us in the Holy night.

Today, on Christmas day, John, the Evangelist reported the same fact by writing: "in the beginning was the word and the word was with God, and the word was God." "The word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, the glory of the only son of the father, full of grace and truth" (Jn 1,1.14).

This Johannine Christmas message brings us back to the time - Yes, if so - speak as a man long before the world was created, and before there were people and was angels in heaven, as the only God.

We repeatedly asked whether God was at that time lonely. No! He was not lonely, because he is a God in three persons, because he is love. And love may exist only to several. He is father, son and holy spirit as a God. God is pleased to itself. He was pleased but also the things that once wanted to create his omnipotence. In his spirit as it were all of these things flourished already on particular people without number like a starry sky with countless stars. Each star a man.

And you were one of these stars. Because God was already your. Already at that time he has thought of you and your name called.

Your actual origin and your destination is there - I speak again after human way - billion years and ages ago. And that God became even man, he knew so well before the creation of the world and man, said yes and loved. Christmas he is human, and thus he identifies bodily also with the people.

2. Jesus can say therefore that we people that he knows us, as he knows the father. Here, one senses which means Christmas. Just as God in Christ, no one is us humans. He, the son knows the father, as no one else knows it.

No one knows the father as only the son from the roots of his divinity produced. In this way he knows even produced but also us people not instruction, but the roots of the human condition. He is out so, if one may say again after human way, man of nature God by nature and since Christmas. No one is in the human existence as deep as Christ. No one can be so close to the people as he. Since Christmas, he is called "the son of man".

Neither is man as he so dearly, so knowing, so convincing. And therefore he knows like no one else. Therefore, touches and moves us his word in mark and leg, in heart and mind.
And that is why, Dear Sisters, dear brothers, we people in Jesus are deeper and more widely understood than we could even ever understand Word. And so we must trust people to Christ's message deeper than on the word of the dearest and most intelligent fellow man.

All people, also the favourite, also the most intelligent, the wisest are just other people, one of many others at this point. He is God and man, the son of man but. And therefore goes without saying, that he can call all of us by its name.

"I thee by name called, you belong to me" (JES 43,1), it is called in the old Covenant. And therefore, it is apparent, when he says in the image word of the good Shepherd that he goes forth before us people and we follow him, because his call makes familiar it us.

Since Christmas, we can say that now one, and only an only one, to the true and to the most essential and deepest of human existence has access, because he has become one of us as God: Jesus Christ.

We want so touch at the origin of our lives, then we touch the today's Gospel, as it says: "In the beginning was the word…", and I was already at the beginning as a loving idea in his mind. Will I so according to speak, then I can and I have it, the human being that has become, eternal Word of God speak. The inner shape of all Christians is Jesus himself, is the true God and true man, so the Christ. Who wants to speak to another person, that is his word in the other, must speak through Christ he who is the Incarnate Word of God.

He must have purify his own thought by he inserts it in the mind of Christ. It must be true making his speeches by giving into his speeches in his saying. But then thinking and talking properly because his thoughts and speeches from the body and returns to the place, which is Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God of.

3. The Christmas man aligns his intentions according to the spirit of Christ. He flexes his will to the will of Christ into which is the love in person. God has become compliant in Christ Christmas with us. Now, we are invited to live us after our human possibilities in this compliance. God knows us - as we have heard - since forever ago in his mind.

The Gospel of John says Yes: he is the word that everything has become. And without the word, nothing that has became (cf. Jn 1.3). Of course we can talk as people who are bound to space and time, only in terms of space and time, which are not applicable for God. Since eternity produced and always we live in the thoughts of God.

Of course not, like that is with us people, that we say: "You're me in the idea of always present". This has a very different and deeper level of reality in God.

We celebrate Christmas the celebration of the birth of Christ, the arrival of God in human form. And I have actually always preached this sermon about the people. And in fact, Christmas is also the feast of man par excellence. In the Holy Mass we pray: "O God, you have the people in his or her dignity is wonderfully created and still wonderful renewed" by the coming of Jesus Christ. We feel that the distribution of the faith is of a so incredible importance, and not because God or the Church, but because of people? Man may in his immense dignity only be - access, if he knows about his origins of the triune God. And because of this, could the eternal, immense God man, i.e. include as we can live in space and time.

We have now repeatedly said: now is the earthly man, thats the created manifestation of God, because God became true man in Jesus Christ. Because he has remained but true God, there is the possibility of becoming the invitation and the vocation of man as God now. This is not only the desire of God, but also the vocation of man by God. Wherefore, he will present as a true man in the celebration of the Eucharist in the poor figures of bread and wine
and true God, so that all who communicate him are transformed into its form, just as he has been in the stable of Bethlehem and the day of the celebration of the Eucharist will continue.

The blessed Pope John Paul II said: "The incarnation of God means to human speech a turning point in existence of Trinitarian and eternal and immutable God himself". Because God is love, he would like to infect us with his divinity. And where we have caught fire this love, we want to touch other people with this fascination of God so that they as God can be by the masses of people. This is our vocation and to God became man. Angelus Silesius says therefore very simply but impressively: "Were Christ born a thousand times to Bethlehem, but not in you: you lay yet eternally lost". And we add: "And not a single time in me and my family, my colleagues and in my then he would have been Christmas still work colleagues, with us not the goals". Forget we not, before this unlikely Christmas event stands as the first word to the shepherds and from there to the people: "Do not be afraid…", so the Angels said, "Today is born you in the city of David of the Savior" (Lk 2, 10-11).

We fear not this divine dimension of our existence as human beings and we forward our appeal, we are not only called the children of God, but we are. Amen.

+ Joachim Cardinal Meisner
Archbishop of Cologne
1. "Maria wrapped him (the child) in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there is no place for them in the hostel" (Lk 2.7).


Isaiah 62: 11 - 12
11 Behold, the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, "Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him."
12 And they shall be called The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD; and you shall be called Sought out, a city not forsaken.
Titus 3: 4 - 7

4 but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit,
6 which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.
Psalms 97: 1, 6, 11 - 12
1 The LORD reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.
11 Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!
Luke 2: 15 - 20
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child;
18 and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
19 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Titus 3: 4 - 7
4 but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit,
6 which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.


Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Feast: December 25

Feast Day: December 25
THE world had subsisted about four thousand years when Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, having taken human flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and being made man, was born of her, for the redemption of mankind, at Bethlehem of Judea. Joseph and Mary had come up to Bethlehem to be enrolled, and, unable to find shelter elsewhere, they took refuge in a stable, and in this lowly place Jesus Christ was born. The Blessed Virgin wrapped the divine Infant in swaddling-clothes, and laid Him in the manger. While the sensual and the proud were asleep, an angel appeared to some poor shepherds. They were seized with great fear, but the heavenly messenger said to them: "Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of exceeding great joy, that shall be to all the people. For this day is born to you a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign to you: you shall find the Child wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger." After the departure of the angel the wondering shepherds said to one another: "Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see the word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shown to us." They immediately hastened thither, and found Mary and Joseph, and the Infant lying in the manger. Bowing down they adored Him, and then returned to their flocks, glorifying and praising God.

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