Pope Francis Missionary Intention for December
"That parents may be true evangelizers, nurturing in their children the precious gift of faith." Let us pray.
Pope Francis said: "No one becomes a Christian on his or her own! Christians are not made in a laboratory. We receive faith from God which is in in turn encouraged by our parents, witnessed to by our ancestors, and reinforced by those charged with our further instruction in its meaning and impact. We are able to live this journey not only because of others, but together with others. In the Church there is no 'do it yourself' system, just as there are no 'free agents'."
Parents are the first and most important teachers of the faith. According to Pope Paul VI, " …. since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators."
Pope Francis General Intention for December
"That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will." Let us pray.
A long time ago an angel appeared to some shepherds and told them a saviour had been born nearby who would save people from their sins and ultimately from death. Jesus was born to reconcile people with God and with one another. He came to establish order based on loving God above all else and on loving others as children of God. Sharing human life to the point of suffering and dying, Jesus brought hope. He rose from the dead never to die again, and he offers eternal life to all who come to him.
Pope Francis has called Christmas "… the feast of trust and of hope which overcomes uncertainty and pessimism." He said: "… the reason for our hope is this: God is with us... he comes to abide with us, he chooses earth as his dwelling place to remain with us ... in joy or in sorrow. Therefore, earth is no longer only 'a valley of tears' rather it is the place where God himself has pitched his tent, it is the meeting place of God with humanity, of God's solidarity with people."
The Son of God took flesh so he could be with us. He offered his flesh on the cross for the life of the world. He continues to offer his flesh, his Body and Blood, in the Eucharist. As Pope Francis said, "This closeness of God to every man and woman, to each of us, is a gift that never fades." May this Christmas bring peace and hope to all!
Colossians 1: 15-23 Christ is our peace and reconciliation.
Prayer Intention of the Institute for December
"That all who meet the Comboni Missionaries may receive from them great respect and be inspired by them to model their lives on the Child Jesus. Lord hear us."
Grave diggers prepare for new Ebola victim outside an Ebola treatment centre in Gbarnga, Liberia
(from Time.com see Internet)
Bishop Anthony Borwah of the Diocese of GBarnga in central Liberia, where Ebola is wreaking havoc, was absent from Pope Francis' Extraordinary Synod of the Bishops on the family due to travel difficulties. He was, however, able to send a message to the Synod Fathers. Bishop Anthony identifies many of his country's problems (polygamy, migration, unemployment, the lack of father-figures, domestic violence, child trafficking, and sexual tourism) but given the Ebola tragedy he focuses on the question that most exercise the poor, the question which the Civil War had posed: "Where is God? What wrong have we (Liberians) done again? How come we have once again become the abandoned and scum of the earth? …. As Bishop of my people I carry within my heart their wounds and pains every moment of life here," he says.
Prayer of the Month
O sweet Child of Bethlehem, grant that we may share with all our hearts in this profound mystery of Christmas. Put into the hearts of all people this peace for which they sometimes seek so desperately, and which you alone can give them. Help us to know one another better and to live as children of the same Father. Unite us all in charity and grant us your heavenly peace. Amen.
--St. John XXIII