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As you probably know Bishop Burbidge was recently named bishop of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia and his installation Mass was held there on December 6. Until a new bishop is named for Raleigh – which from what I hear could take several months – a diocesan administrator will serve in the bishop’s place. His name is Msgr. Mike Shugrue. We are asked to keep Msgr. Shugrue in our prayers here. We friars had a chance to say goodbye to Bishop Burbidge a few weeks ago and we wish him the best in his new position in Virginia.

Thank you to Fr. David Convertino and Fr. Bob Sandoz who were here last weekend speaking about the Franciscan Challenge, which is a fundraiser that helps support the friars of Holy Name Province, of which the friars here are a part. Thanks as well to all who helped organize our first penance services for the 200 or so young people who made their first reconciliation last Saturday.

And now, of course, as Advent draws to a close, we look to Christmas only a week away. Back in 2011, I went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with members of this parish, and one of the places we visited was Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. There is a wall around Bethlehem, with checkpoints at all entrances and exits, and when you arrive at a checkpoint armed soldiers get on the bus, walk down the aisle, and ask for identification. The Holy Land is a place of great beauty and great tension and that is true both in the time of Jesus and in our own time. And yet in the middle of all that, a child is born, God comes to dwell among us.

There is a theological term called “the scandal of the incarnation” which means that it’s astonishing that the God of the universe, the God who created the heavens and the earth, would come into our world not with power and might, but helpless and needy, needing to be nurtured, dependent upon the “yes” of a young woman in Nazareth to enter our world. How does that change our image of who God is in the world?

Please note our Christmas mass schedule: on Christmas Eve, at 2:30pm (church and gym), 5:00pm (church and gym), 7:00pm, and midnight, on Christmas Day at 9:30am and 11:30am. Please note there is no Mass at 7:30am or 5:30pm on Christmas Day.

Blessings on your week

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