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December 19, 2001


Below is Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua's Christmas Letter to be communicated to the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the weekend of December 22nd and 23rd. Please feel free to quote from the letter or to print it in its entirety.

Christmas 2001

My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

At this joyous time of the year, I wish to offer my prayerful best wishes for a blessed Christmas and a happy and holy New Year. It is my hope that God will fill your hearts with every good gift and grace as we rejoice in the birth of His Son.

The celebration of the birth of our Lord fills our minds and hearts with a tremendous sense of gratitude and awe for the love God our Father has shown us in the gift of His Son. The words of Saint John capture for the Church the depth of this love and gift, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him might not die, but have eternal life." [John 3:16]. With the birth of this Child, the hope of a life stronger than death, a light greater than darkness, and a peace more enduring than hatred dawned upon the human race. During this difficult time for our nation and our world, this hope gives us assurance and confidence that God is, indeed, still with us, to protect and guide us.

The wondrous birth of the Savior also renews within us gratitude for the gift of Faith. We are told by Saint Luke that "Mary treasured all these things and reflected upon them in her heart. The Shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen." [Luke 2:19-20]. This holy season of the year offers us the opportunity to treasure what we have seen and heard and recommit ourselves to give as a gift what has been so generously given to us. Our hearts and minds are thankful for the gift of the Church, family and friends who have passed the gift of Faith on to us and shown us the love God has for us. We pray that their example and goodness will encourage us to do the same for all those God has entrusted to us.

May God our Father bless you and your families with the grace and peace offered by His Son Jesus and may Mary our Mother watch over you always.

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Marie Kelly
Associate Director

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