Christmas is Nearly Here
With only a week until we celebrate the joyous occasion of our Lord’s birth, I am sure you are all very busy with your preparations. Please know of my prayers for each and every one of you, especially for those who will find their day marked with some sorrow.
The overarching message of Christmas is hope. In both my Advent and Christmas messages, you will find encouragement to hold onto the hope Christ’s birth brings to us all. Remember, my brothers and sisters in Christ, December 25th marks the beginning of the Christmas season. Let us enjoy the blessings of the season for the entire octave of Christmas.
Annual Christmas Message
The Christmas custom of presenting the diocese with a Christmas message is one I look forward to each year. This year, I included words from the Gospel of St. John to contemplate and consider in light of the context of Christmas. I invite you to take the remaining days of Advent to prepare your heart for Christmas.
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. ~ John 1:14
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. ~ John 3:16-17
Additionally, I would like to share these words from my 2019 Christmas message,
“If we think of the time and place Jesus came, those weren’t much better than our time and place. Darkness, doubt, confusion, violence, and wars were all around. It was exactly to that situation that God sent Jesus to bring light and peace.
As we celebrate Jesus’ coming this Christmas, let us pause to reflect, remember and recognize that He comes in the midst of all this brokenness, darkness, confusion and sin, to rescue us. He did just that in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago and He still does it today, if only we open our hearts to welcome Him.”
I invite you to read my 2019 Christmas message in its entirety in the Anchor newspaper, in your church bulletin, or on the Fall River Diocese website.
One of my favorite Christmas traditions is preparing the Christmas Manger. I remember, as a child, how my family would join all of us to prepare the manger at our home. We’d keep it out through the Christmas Season, which ends with the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. When I was Pastor in New Jersey, I also used to spend considerable time with parish volunteers putting together the manger, which we created to look like a real cave-manger representing the poor and simple place where Jesus was born.
Christmas Mass Schedule
It is always a great privilege to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass, not only at the Cathedral but at parishes around the diocese. This year my Christmas schedule is:
- Christmas Eve at 4 pm, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River (English)
- Christmas Eve at 7 pm, Holy Rosary, Taunton (Portuguese)
- Christmas Day at 9 am, Good Shepherd, Fall River (English/Portuguese)
On Christmas Day, December 25, from 12 noon to 1 p.m. I will be the principal celebrant and homilist of the Mass for Christmas, which will be broadcast on WLNE-TV, Channel 6.
The Portuguese Channel will also air Christmas Mass in Portuguese at 7:30 p.m. on Christmas night, December 25. The Rev. John J. Oliveira, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in New Bedford, will be celebrant and homilist for the Mass.
Merry Christmas! Feliz Natal! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha