Cardinal Donald Wuerl Celebrates Christmas Masses

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cardinal Donald Wuerl blessed the crèche (manger scene) as Mass began on Christmas Eve at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle in Washington. In his homily, the cardinal noted that the true significance of Christmas surpasses festivities, gifts, and family time.

“What is that light that makes Christmas even more than a great family celebration? It is our faith,” he said. “We are a people of faith. Our belief, our creed, provides us a lens through which we see what Christmas really means. Like every act of faith, we start with something very much a part of our human experience. In this case, it is the birth of a child.” Through the eyes of faith, Cardinal Wuerl said, we are able to celebrate Christ’s birth more than 2,000 years ago and realize its impact on our lives today. We gather for Christmas Mass to reaffirm that Christmas is more than looking back to the manger scene centuries ago, Cardinal Wuerl continued, it is about God entering our world.

“We don’t have to go back in time to encounter the Jesus of Bethlehem. He is present in this church, he is present in the Sacraments, he is present in every single believer, in all the things that you and I do to try to manifest that goodness of God,” the cardinal said. And this is why we don’t just look at the crèche, or read the narrative of Jesus’ birth, we come to Church, because it is here where we encounter in the Sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, the presence of God among us.

“But we are called to do more; one reason for Christmas is that enduring hope, that there truly can be peace, harmony, good will, and love – in our world, in our time, in our homes, in our families, and in our hearts,” he said as he concluded his homily. “Renewed in our faith that Jesus is God with us, renewed in commitment to try to live that faith, God’s merciful and compassionate love, may this Christmas then, while it is a time of family and celebration and gifts, be also a time of renewed faith, compassion and love – something we can bring to those around us.”

On Christmas Day, Cardinal Wuerl celebrated the Noon Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. After the Mass, he stopped in to visit the guests who were in attendance at the Shrine’s Christmas dinner. In an annual tradition, volunteers serve a free Christmas meal to those who are alone or are in need as well as to deliver additional meals to families throughout the region. The dinner serves more than 2,000 people in all.