#ASonnetADay – GUEST Poem – Christina Rossetti, “In the bleak midwinter” Merry Christmas Eve! pic.twitter.com/Oxvym75pPM — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (@fatherz) December 25, 2020
Coronavirus, terrorism, and war – and once again a growing level of persecution. The year 2020 has been a difficult one for many Christians around the world. At the end of the year, Thomas Heine-Geldern, the executive president of the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), took stock of the main areas of persecution, the work in defense of religious freedom, and also the signs of hope and the help that has been given. He was interviewed by Maria Lozano.
2019 was a terrible year for Christians. Has the situation improved or worsened during 2020?
In many countries, the coronavirus and its consequences have led to a further undermining of peoples‘ right to religious freedom. During this time many already oppressed Christians have suffered a real via Crucis of poverty, exclusion, and discrimination. On top of this, there have been many deadly attacks against Christians. During 2020 Africa, in particular, has once again been a “continent of martyrs”. In this context, I would like to remember, among others, the Nigerian seminarian Michael Nnadi, murdered in Nigeria, and Philippe Yargas, a catechist from Pansi in Burkina Faso, also murdered for his faith. And also all those victims of religious persecution who are still, as far as we know, alive – in particular Sister Gloria Narvaez in Mali.
St Pope Leo the Great was Pope in a tough time. Think Vandals, Goths and Attila the Huns. He had been deacon to Pope Sixtus III and was in charge of the mosaic decorations of the beautiful arch in St … Continue reading →
“The birth of Christ, which the Feast of Christmas celebrates, cannot be ‘cancelled’ … When Christ appeared, as the warmth of God in the winter night, our faith received a new dimension” – Bishop Farrell
Like most things in 2020, this will be a Christmas unlike any other in our lifetime with socially distanced celebrations and uncertainties hanging over our hopes. Since last March we have had to re-think our way of living and the way we engage with each other. We have learned that we are vulnerable. Despite all our medical and technological advances, we can be and have been wounded by the Coronavirus.
Life has been disrupted because of the worldwide pandemic. Some have talked about postponing or cancelling Christmas. Yet others have talked about “a meaningful celebration of Christmas.” However, the birth of Christ, which the Feast of Christmas celebrates, cannot be “cancelled.”
I wrote three homilies for this Mass. The first two didn’t mention the coronavirus or anything else to do with the difficult circumstances of Christmas this year.
We needed a break from the pandemic, I thought. And Christmas is a time for cheerful thoughts, not heavy ones.
My idea was completely wrong. It took only a few days for the Word of God to set me straight and I tossed out the other two tries.
“Good people all, this Christmas time
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done