Dear Friends in Christ:
Merry Christmas! Christmas is a day for us to remember God’s merciful love. Through Jesus, we come to know who God really is—He is Love. After our weeks of preparation in Advent, we have finally come to this day when we gather with family and friends to hear the words of the angel of the Lord who says “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.”
We gather here in this holy place to celebrate the birth of our Savior; the Light of the World, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the World, Emmanuel (God is with us). At Christmas we celebrate that in the person of Jesus, God humbled himself and became flesh. God-made-man enters the world as a newborn baby.
This is the Good News we gather to celebrate today! I thank you for your presence here with us today! I extend a warm and loving welcome to all who are with us to celebrate the birth of our Savior. In particular I offer a word of welcome to those who may not normally be with us in worship, to those home from college, to those who may be visiting us for the first time, and to those who may be searching for meaning in their lives and felt a tug at their heart to come to our parish family to celebrate this day of great joy! No matter what brought you to Mass today, we welcome YOU and we pray that all will come to know the joy, the peace, the hope, the love, and the mercy this Babe of Bethlehem brings into the world.
Just as the shepherds were led to a humble stable in Bethlehem to worship the infant Jesus, so have we been led to be together at this time in history and in this place to sing with the angels: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!”
Think of the power of what we celebrate in this infant baby. For us, for each and every one of us, for all people of all time this child is born. God gives His Son for you and for me! He sends His Son into the world for us!
The past year has seen so much activity for our family of faith! Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish is a growing, active, and vibrant family of faith and we welcome all to consider joining us. We have countless ministries seeking to meet the spiritual needs of our parishioners, we have book studies and adult education programs to help us grow in knowledge of our faith and of Jesus Christ, and we have many spiritual programs, activities, and events such as Eucharistic Adoration to bring us closer to Christ. There is so much going on each day, it is truly remarkable. God is at work in our midst as He brings us together as one family of faith. We see the work of the Spirit manifested each day in the many parishioners who volunteer their time, their talent, and their treasure as we make this journey together. As we look to the New Year we are tremendously excited to bring on staff a new Youth Minister dedicated to reaching our young people and helping them to grow in their faith! Likewise, we are super excited to begin a partner relationship with i.d.9:16 Ministry which seeks to form young adults into intentional disciples of Jesus Christ. We will be working in the coming weeks to establish a core group of young adults (20’s and 30’s) to come together and be formed in the faith to encounter Jesus Christ, hear His call, and decide to follow Him. The year 2020 will be a year of profound blessings on our parish family as we continue to hear His voice and follow Him!
May the birth of Jesus help our parish family to be a spiritual home and a center of missionary outreach where all may come to be nourished in the midst of their journey. May all who come here feel at home in our parish family!
On behalf of myself, Father Federico, Deacon Iadarola, Deacon Wilber, Sister Patricia, the entire pastoral staff, our parish staff, our Parish Trustees, the Parish Finance Council, and the Parish Pastoral Council, I offer our prayers for a blessed Christmas for you and your family. Thank you for making Saint Bridget of Sweden Parish such a vibrant community of faith, and thank you for your love evidenced in so many ways throughout the year. We offer our special prayers for all those who find these celebrations difficult, especially for those who have recently grieved the death of a loved one. Know you hold a special place in our prayers at this time and that we pray the Christ-child will grant you His comfort and His peace. To all we say Merry Christmas! Rejoice on this holy night, the night when Christ was born for He is the Prince of Peace and the Light of the World!
As always, remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings as we build His kingdom here. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.