As we begin the Christmas Novena that ushers in our celebration of the Nativity of Lord and then begin counting the days until the New Year begins, we look back to a year of surprises in our Church. On February 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI resigned. On March 19, the Jesuit Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio, who chose the name Pope Francis was installed. From his first public moment on the balcony, when he humbly asked the world to pray for him, Pope Francis has been inviting the Church to renew its commitment to Jesus, to become once again a joyful, missionary Church, serving the poor and marginalized and inviting back those who no longer worship with us.
Pope Francis has formed an advisory board of eight cardinals to help him bring much needed changes to the church’s administration; challenged us to re-commit to the New Evangelization; and scheduled the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will focus on the pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelization to take place in Rome in October 2014. Pope Francis continues the @Pontifex Twitter account begun by Pope Benedict and is using the platform to inspire, educate and engage his followers in living the Gospel.
At the end January 2014, Pope Francis will release his first World Communications Day message. We already know that the theme will be encounter.
The Message for World Communications Day 2014 will explore the potential of communication, especially in a networked and connected world, to bring people closer to each other and to co-operate in the task of building a more just world.
We are being challenged to bring the Good News into all dimensions of life using every means possible. Accepting this challenge will ultimately bring the Peace of Christ to our world. It is my prayer for myself and for each of you, my good readers, that during this holy season of Advent we accept the grace to live the Good News in every aspect of our lives–to let our lights shine.
I conclude my posts for 2013 with this lovely Advent hymn.
May you have a blessed Chritmas and a joy-filled New Year. I will be posting again in 2014.
Happy Birthday to Pope Francis who turns 77 today! Good health and happiness to you, Holy Father!
Advent Wreath Credit: Andrea Schaufler