CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2022 (YR A)
Friday 23rd December 2022
My dear people,
The time we have been waiting for since the start of Advent is here; the Celebration of the Nativity of our Lord is almost upon us. The birth of Jesus is the decisive event in the history of salvation and of humanity. Our Lord will live a life very similar to ours with its joys and sorrows but the end of his life is very different from ours. At that time, he will accept the will of the Father for him after his agony in the garden and goes through what is required for our freedom from slavery to sin. This birth of the Son of God brings us joy because it represents the light which removes all darkness, especially the darkness of sin.
We celebrate Christmas on Sunday with a different mindset from the one last year. We acknowledge that COVID is not over yet but we go about our lives in a normal way, always mindful of the necessary precautions. The same will be with us at our parish this weekend. I am truly delighted that there is no maximum number of people who can come to Mass at Christmas this year. What that means for us is that five Masses are enough to accommodate everyone who wishes to attend Mass this year. Fr Joel and I are very much looking forward to see all of at the Christmas Masses. A quick reminder that the Mass schedule is as follows:
Saturday 24 December | 6pm, 8pm & 12 midnight (with carols sung half-an-hour before)
Sunday 25 December | 9am & 10:30am only (No 12pm Mass or evening services)
This year has certainly not been without its own number of challenges. We remember sadly the invasion of Ukraine in February, the different floods in NSW, our own floods here in Victoria, the effects of which are still being felt by a large number of people. These events are terrible tragedies for they totally upset the livelihoods of people. That upset is certainly accentuated when these events lead to the loss of lives. We remember the need to pray for the repose of the souls of all who have died this year and to pray for strength and courage for those who remain.
Furthermore, we, disciples of Jesus, believe firmly that tragedies and evil are not the final word. The celebration of the birth of Jesus is a stark reminder that one day this child will suffer and die for us so that every tear will be wiped away. Once the tears are wiped and time starts diminishing the pain, we know that God will provide the strength and courage required to continue with our own pilgrimage. This certainty accompanies us in all parts of our lives, be it at our work or in our family and indeed in everything that makes up our lives.
It is important to find the strength to celebrate the birth of Jesus because, despite all the challenges of this year, we still have each other and you and I know that we need that right now. The birth of Jesus reminds us that there is always hope in the midst of the greatest tragedies because it is his birth that brings about our salvation. We think of hope as the theological virtue through which we believe that God will be faithful to his promises; that he will reward our efforts both here on earth and most importantly for ever with him, in heaven. So, my dear people, I truly wish you and your loved ones, near and far, a very Merry Christmas. May the celebration of the birth of Jesus bring you joy and peace.
Also, as we come to the end of the year I would like to sincerely thank, from the bottom of my heart, all the people who contribute to making our parish the wonderful community it is. I thank the office staff, the coordinators of ministries, and everyone involved in all the ministries. I would also like to thank the members of the Leadership Team and the Evangelisation Team. Most importantly, all of you, the disciples of Jesus Christ here at St Catherine of Siena Caroline Springs. Thank you for your support and your love, which I treasure immensely.
Please be advised that the parish office will be closed from noon today and will re-open on 3rd January. For the month of January, the office will operate at a slower pace and will close at 1:30pm. As such, this is the last of my weekly messages to you for 2022. They will resume the weekend following Australia Day.
My dear people, again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2023 from Fr Joel and me.
We continue turning to our patron saint and we ask for her intercession.
St Catherine of Siena, Pray for us.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Fr Richard Rosse PP