Finding the True Meaning of Christmas

Last week I promised to consider how we could possibly ignore all the bad and sad news and try to make this Christmas as joyous and cheerful as possible. But I realized that given the doom and gloom in which have found ourselves, by simply offering a few tips, some upbeat pragmatic advice, and jokes may be taken as facile. If possible, I will try to revisit that promise, because our Christmas ought to be merry no regardless of circumstances, and I hope that all Christians will see it that way.

In this article I would like to focus on a very curious phenomenon that could be called sociological. It concerns the truly merry and cheerful nature of our Christmas which has been taken out of context, appropriated, and then presented as the real nature of the holiday season. Many unsuspecting people get sucked into it and cheerfully celebrate this new cult of Christmas instead of the real Christmas.

From the recent response of many callers to the radio call-back shows it became clear that an overwhelming majority of Canadians still considers Christmas the foremost of all Canadian traditions. Thank God, Christmas is still in our DNA, and, it seems, no virus can evolve it away. Although, sadly, most Canadians today act if they didn’t have a clue what Christmas really means. Or, I’m guessing that many still remember, but choose to ignore the really ‘good news’, focusing rather on the mere pursuit of happiness.

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Don’t Discard the Elderly, says Bishop in Philippines

On Holy Family Sunday, a Catholic bishop in the Philippines has called for more attention to the older men and women and the lessons they sow, reported CBCP News.

Speaking during Mass, Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila said that the elderly deserve not only care but the recognition they have much left to give.

“They have important roles to play, even if they are weakened by age. Let us not put them aside,” Pabillo preached at the Holy Family Parish Church in Makati City.

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Archdiocese of Lahore Supports Former Christian Prisoners for Creation of Businesses

“We give thanks to God because today we are able to support our brothers so that they create their own entrepreneurial activity. They have suffered a lot over the past five years. We have taken this initiative to ensure that 42 innocent former prisoners can run a new business to support their families and not depend on anyone. This is a Christmas gift for all of you, to restore stability to your life, to allow you to live with dignity. Let us pray for your good and invoke the blessings of God for your families”, said Mgr. Sebastian Francis Shaw, Archbishop of Lahore, intervening in the framework of the meeting held in the church of Saint John of Youhanabad, in Lahore, on the evening of December 19.

As Fides learned, the Archbishop also thanked the Pakistani government and Ijaz Alam Augustine, Minister for human rights and religious affairs in the province of Punjab, for their cooperation and support in releasing 42 Christian prisoners accused of having participated in clashes and riots after the suicide attacks perpetrated against two churches in Lahore in March 2015. Addressing those present, Archbishop Shaw also said: “We want to support you fully and we wish to see you engaged in a thriving activity so that you can live a happy life”.

Fr. Francis Gulzar, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Lahore and Parish Priest of the Catholic Church of St. John, informs: “Helping them in starting a personal economic enterprise is the best way: we handed out rickshaws (means of transport) to ten people, to others motorcycles with trailers. Still, others have received support for the opening of commercial activity such as a grocery store, a catering activity, a decoration store and sale of curtains and carpets, a store that sells construction materials”. Fr. Gulzar adds: “Among the beneficiaries, there is also a former Muslim prisoner, who was in prison with them”.

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Cardinal Bo’s Message for the New Year

Dear Brothers and Sisters   in Myanmar                                                            1 January 2021

Happy New Year.

May this new year come as a blessing to all of you.  Birth of the new year is also birth of hope.   Let us celebrate hope as one nation.  We leave behind 2020 with all its challenges. That was an unforgettable year.   It caused pain, it wounded us deeply.   Globally it emerged as an arrogant enemy against human survival.  Life and livelihoods are threatened. Starvation is a reality to nearly 122 million people in the world.  It was an existential disruption.

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