My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
For the 25th time, I have the joy of celebrating Christmas as your bishop and pastor. I can never thank God sufficiently for this splendid privilege. While I have always felt unworthy, Christmas in your midst has always brought me great joy, the joy which St. Paul describes as the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
At this Christmas, we remember that this joy comes from a Mystery, which is both divine and human; and because it is divine has no end. To paraphrase St. Augustine, the voice changes, but the Word remains the same. It will be preached soon by another shepherd — young, energetic and filled with faith, but the Word he preaches is eternal.
The Mystery of Christ. The Incarnation. God assuming human nature. He comes to save us. The voice changes. The Word does not. This should fill us with peace.
It can be said that just Jesus Christ is keeping His promise. “I will not leave you orphans.” The Mystery of Christmas preached in these parts for 300 years, beginning in the wilderness, continues, for Jesus Christ is eternal, and the church, which is his body, remains as a light for all. Let us embrace this profound truth for as our local church undergoes change, it remains vital and strong always guided by Christ. Let us welcome Christ at Christmas, and let us prepare to welcome his shepherd with all our hearts.
A blessed Christmas to you all.
With every best wish and prayer, I remain
Sincerely yours in our Lord,
Most Rev. John M. D’Arcy
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