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.
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