Despite the violence flowing around the globe, we do have a reason to celebrate.
We await the coming of the Prince of Peace; it’s just a week away now. Christ is a gift in our lives, one that brings solace, hope and grace to this suffering earth.
And he has inspired the giving of a multitude of gifts around the Archdiocese of Louisville this Advent.
If you take a look at this story you’ll see a sampling of the work the church’s youngest members have accomplished in the last few weeks. The listing includes more than two dozen examples.
Schools have collected gifts for impoverished children and collected tens of thousands of pounds of food for hungry families. They have collected more than a thousand blankets for homeless men and women.
The religious education students from four parishes — Incarnation, St. Lawrence, Mary Queen of Peace and St. Paul churches — created care packages that their families will hand out to people in need they happen to see on the streets.
This is a very special sort of outreach, one that takes courage. These families are opening themselves up to encounter, in a personal way, someone they see in need. They don’t know who they might encounter.
In a world in which we too rarely share personal interactions even with our loved ones — thanks to the wonders of technology — this individualized approach to service is admirable.
We can all learn from these families.
In this jubilee Year of Mercy, which began Dec. 8, Pope Francis has asked us to seek God’s mercy for ourselves and share God’s mercy
with other people.
That’s what our children and families have been doing around the archdiocese this Advent. It’s one of the ways we keep Christ at the center of our celebrations this time of year, amid the shopping, decorating and baking extravaganzas that also tend to erupt in our homes.
During a homily back in November, Pope Francis noted, “We are approaching Christmas” and with it, “there will be lights, decorated trees, even nativity scenes.” But if these trappings of Christmas don’t signify faith in Jesus Christ, it’s “all fake,” he said.
His homily was specifically focused on the many violent conflicts around the world. In fact, he said we are fighting a “world war in pieces.” He decried this violence and those who perpetuate it.
“The world continues to make war,” he said. “The world has not understood the path to peace.”
In order to choose the path of peace, Christians must choose to live their faith, to follow Christ’s example, and not simply do what’s “normal,” the Holy Father noted in another November homily.
He asked those who profess to be followers of Christ to ask themselves, “What is my identity? Christian or worldly? Or do I say I’m Christian because I was baptized as a baby and I was born in a Christian nation where everyone is a Christian?”
This Advent and Christmas, let’s ask ourselves these questions and pray we have the grace to follow Christ.
We have a new priest
On Saturday morning, Dec. 19, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz will ordain the Archdiocese of Louisville’s newest priest. For now, he’s still known as Deacon Adam B. Carrico and he serves exuberantly at St. Gabriel Church, sharing in the activities of the school and parish.
As reporter Jessica Able notes in this story on Deacon Carrico, our soon-to-be priest was drawn to the priesthood by the desire to serve people.
Deacon Carrico has the energy and will to do this well. He also has something else, something born partly of tragedy and partly of grace.
He has known deep sorrow — he lost his brother to suicide in the last years of his seminary formation. But he hopes to use his own experience of loss to reach out to people who are suffering.
Unfortunately, losses like Deacon Carrico’s are part of our lives. Fortunately, many people are likely to benefit from his very special ministry.
God has sent us a new servant leader, let’s welcome him — this Christmas gift — and support him in his vocation.