Cardinal Wuerl Celebrates Christmas Masses
Sunday, December 25, 2016
“Today, we look at the manger, we listen to the Gospel, we celebrate the Eucharist, we exchange a sign of peace, all in the hope that it is possible to envision and create a better world.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, December 23, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington shared his Christmas message with the Washington community in several interviews with the local media. During live interviews in local D.C. media studios, Cardinal Wuerl shared that the Gospel message is for everyone and that we can hope for a much better world.
On Christmas Eve, the cardinal blessed the crèche and celebrated Mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle and also celebrated the Noon Mass on Christmas Day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
In homilies at both Masses, Cardinal Wuerl talked about the manger as symbol of hope and the majesty of God’s love, manifested in a tiny child. We were particularly reminded of God’s merciful, forgiving and compassionate love during the Year of Mercy, which just concluded, the cardinal explained.
God’s love is the answer in a world torn by violence, anger, discrimination and injustice, Cardinal Wuerl continued. “Today, we look at the manger, we listen to the Gospel, we celebrate the Eucharist, we exchange a sign of peace, all in the hope that it is possible to envision and create a better world.”
In his Christmas Eve homily, the cardinal said there is nothing without hope for a better future, and recounted reading the story of a priest whose church was destructed in Iraq, but who continued encouraging Christians to forgive and look forward. The Christmas nativity scene reminds Christians to not let bad things change them or empty them of hope.
At the Christmas Day Mass at the basilica, the cardinal referenced the construction of the Trinity Dome and spoke of how it was a parable of how faith and God’s grace work. One only needs to look up and see signs of a work in progress, said the cardinal, but the final completion is still hidden from sight. Just as we won’t see the work on the dome until it is complete, we won’t see the completion of God’s work in us until the glory comes, and the kingdom is revealed.
“As we look into that nativity scene today, let us not only reaffirm our own faith that this is God with us and renew our conviction that we can stand in that truth, we can bring fresh hope: to ourselves, to our families, to our community, to our world,” the cardinal said. He concluded his homily praying that all will come to know God’s love, and that the disciples of the Church will glorify and praise God for all they have seen and heard. Like the angels in the manger scene, “our message must be glory to God in highest and on earth, peace – the peace that Jesus gives us, first in our hearts then through our actions in the world.”
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.
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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.