The True Joy of Christmas

nativityIn preparation for the Advent of Christ, reflect on this excerpt by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI about the true joy of Christmas:

“Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not the expensive gifts that call for time and money. We can communicate this joy simply: with a smile, a kind gesture, a little help, forgiveness. And the joy we give will certainly come back to us.…Let us pray that this presence of the liberating joy of God shines forth in our lives.”

“Welcome, pilgrims… You are at Home!” – Archdiocese of Chicago Blog

The Archdiocese of Chicago is kicking-off their second year of airing Advent CatholicsComeHome.org TV commercials in the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Diocese of Rockford, and the Diocese of Joliet beginning December 17, 2010. Peter Ductram is the Coordinator of Evangelization Initiatives for Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago, check out an excerpt from his latest blog post below:

arch chicago logo BLOG

Catholic Chicago Blog

Hosted by the Archdiocese of Chicago

December 2010

“Welcome, pilgrims… You are at Home!”

Peter Ductram, Archdiocese of Chicago

Peter Ductram, Archdiocese of Chicago

Advent is par excellence the time of hope, a time in which we, believers in Christ, nourished by prayer, are invited to remain vigilant and active expectation. The liturgical celebrations repeat and assure us the coming of God: God comes to permeate every aspect of our lives. He comes to every being and stirs the heart of those who may have closed their doors to hope. We are challenged to be vigilant of God’s concrete and continuous invitation to those who long for Christian joy, serenity and peace! We are invited to look at Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe most holy, and undertake spiritually with her our journey to welcome Christ.

The Archdiocese of Chicago Evangelization initiative, Catholics Come Home®, intends to remind to those in despair, God’s words, “Come to Me all those who are burdened… I shall give you comfort”(Mt 11:28). It’s time to return home. But Catholics Come Home® is also an intentional invitation to us, practicing Catholics, to open our hearts to be willing to listen to the many stories that will unfold from God’s knocking to those who are struggling and seeking to re-connect with the source of life, hope and truthful joy.

  • We will bring a message of hope through the media in Spanish, Polish and English: 1000 TV ads, YouTube weekly advent reflections and testimonies through Catholics Come Home®.

Let’s contemplate with Mary God’s coming to fill our hearts with His gifts. Let’s make the concrete and intentional pastoral approach to celebrate nuestra morenita on Sunday, December 12, stressing, creatively, the importance of Mary’s humble role in bringing the luminous mystery of Christ to the ever-needy world. If you need more information, or resources on how to make your parish more invitational, welcoming or accompanying, visit us at www.catholicscomehomechicago.org
read entire blog

Visit CatholicsComeHome.org each day as part of your Advent preparation to grow in your faith and knowledge of Christ’s Catholic Church!  And please continue to pray for all dioceses who are partnering to air Catholics Come Home® commercials beginning this December, and for all those individuals away from the faith who will receive this invitation to return home!

A Merry Eucharistic Christmas

As Catholics, we have prepared for weeks during Advent for the coming of Jesus this Christmas. But how can we bring to life the true meaning of Christmas this year?

Here is a clip from a great article that reminds us of the relationship between the Holy Eucharist and Christmas:

“To help the Child Jesus come to life in us, Pope John Paul II called us all to live an intensely Eucharistic Christmas, for the same Jesus who was placed in a manger and adored by the shepherds and wise men is placed in our hands and in our mouths in holy Communion.

“The best way for the Child Jesus to come to life again and be stamped upon our fervent memory at Christmas, he taught, is to remember that God-with-us is still with us. Bethlehem is as close as the altar and tabernacle of the nearest Catholic Church.

“This is indeed “good news of great joy for all people!” Merry Christmas!”

(Fr. Roger J. Landry. “Bringing Christmas to Life Again.” [December 23, 2005].)

Lost & Found Tip: Don’t forget to prepare a present for Jesus this Christmas…He’s the most important one in your family and the reason for the Christmas season!

Let us focus on loving our fallen-away Catholic relatives this Advent

At Catholics Come Home, we receive many e-mails from Catholics who pray fervently, especially during the season of Advent, for their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, neighbors and friends to return to the Catholic Church during this holy time of year. We must not forget that love and prayer are the greatest gifts we can give our family and friends to draw them more deeply into their faith. Our job as Catholics is to plant seeds, and then allow Jesus to convert hearts to Him.

The following article by Rev. John Horgan reminds us that “we can be sure that God wants us to know that He loves our loved ones even more than we do.” He also reflects on the part we must play during this Advent season: “We should pray not just for “them” but for each other, that we be ready for Christmas. We must ask for so much grace that we are radiant with it; that our words be filled with truth and kindness, our hearts with love and divine life. We must pray that everyone who comes into our church may see Jesus reflected in every face, every gesture, everyone that they see. Then they will know that He is alive and true and loving. . . and that there is no one who can compare with Him.”

Read more of this article: http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0689.html

Remember to visit CatholicsComeHome.org to grow in your faith each day!

Catholics Come Home "water-cooler-worthy" Advent thought

Enjoy this Catholic, “water-cooler-worthy” reflection on Advent:

WARNING: ADVENT VIRUS

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:
• A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
• An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
• A loss of interest in judging other people.
• A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
• A loss of interest in conflict.
• A loss of the ability to worry.  (This is a very serious symptom)
• Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
• Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
• Frequent attacks of smiling.
• An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
• An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

You are always welcome and encouraged to visit www.CatholicsComeHome.org to grow in your faith each day!