Cardinal Wuerl Celebrates Christmas Masses

December 25, 14

WASHINGTON, DC – Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, blessed the crèche and celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, he celebrated Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

As Cardinal Wuerl began his homily he recalled a visit he made to a friend at his office. This man had a photo of his wife and children on his desk, and he explained to the Cardinal that he kept the photo there as a reminder of why he was working so hard. “It helps to put everything else in perspective,” the friend explained. “All of us keep photos of family and loved ones,” the Cardinal said. “They help us in some way keep them present to our mind and heart, lest we forget the bigger picture when we get caught up in all of the activities of the day, all of the concerns and obligations of life.”

The Cardinal then explained that the ‘bigger picture’ being celebrated at Christmas was the realization of God’s love for us. The intention of celebrating Christmas is to help us remember this big picture. “What is it that we might forget? What is it that urges us to see beyond the exchange of gifts, the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, the decoration of trees and homes and the preparation of all kinds of good things to eat? What is it that we might otherwise forget? What is it that brings us to Mass, to this Church, to this altar lest we forget?” the Cardinal asked.

“Christmas is summed up in one word: love. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son. At the heart of Christmas is the recognition that God is truly with us. Never again do we need to feel distant from a transcendent, invisible, infinite and spiritual divinity. God has come into our world, and by making a gift of himself, revealing himself in the humility of a manger, God offers us a living, personal relationship.”

“In the Christmas manger heaven and earth met. To the extent that you and I open our hearts to the grace of God, God’s love – the Holy Spirit of God’s love – to that extent heaven and earth once again meet in us, in each of us,” said the Cardinal. “We come so that we might remember the presence of Jesus in a very unique and special way, in the Eucharist. The great remembrance that Jesus left us is his own Body and Blood made present to us over and over again in the unique Sacrifice of the Mass. In fact, Jesus’ command to his Apostles was, ‘Do this in memory of me.’ We do this lest we forget.”

The Cardinal concluded his homily, “Tonight as we look on the crib and approach the altar, we can open our hearts in thanksgiving to God. Not only does God love us and send his Son to be with us but, lest we forget, he makes Jesus present to us at every single Mass. Yes, there are reasons to remember and reasons to celebrate Christmas.”
After the Christmas Day Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Cardinal stopped in to visit the guests who were in attendance at the Shrine’s Christmas dinner. In this annual tradition, volunteers serve a free Christmas meal to those who are alone or are in need and deliver additional meals to families throughout the region; this year, more than 2,000 people were served meals on Christmas Day.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

CONTACT: Chieko Noguchi, 301-853-4516 and [email protected]