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December 18, 2002


Below is Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua's Christmas Letter to be communicated to the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia the weekend of December 21 and 22. Please feel free to quote from the letter or to print it in its entirety.

Christmas 2002

My Brothers and Sisters:

As the Church rejoices in the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem, our hearts and minds are filled with hope as we recall the dawn of our salvation. The peace and joy which shone forth in the life of the Virgin Mary at the birth of her only Son, are mirrored by the Church as she radiates to the world the hope born in our hearts at Christmas.

In words that are familiar and comforting to us, Saint Luke tells us that "While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." [Luke 2: 6]. In this humble scene, the love of God for each one of us is made visible in the tenderness of the Holy Child. The vulnerability of the newborn Savior is an eloquent sign of the willingness of Almighty God to draw near to His people.

Just as the celebration of Christmas fills us with joy, so also are we reminded of our mission to rekindle the light which entered the world on that holy night. We, as disciples of Jesus, radiate that light through holiness of life. Currently, we in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia strive to walk in the light more profoundly through our nine month novena entitled Journey Towards Holiness. It is only through a holy life that we will mirror, as did the Virgin Mary, the love and hope that was offered to the world when the Son of God became flesh for our sakes.

Be assured of a special remembrance in my prayers and Masses for you and your loved ones during the sacred season of Christmas and in the coming year.

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Marie Kelly
Associate Director

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