Bishop’s message for fourth Sunday of Advent • Aid requested for tornado relief effort 

Bishop’s message for fourth Sunday of Advent • Aid requested for tornado relief effort 

On Dec. 17, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., issued “Advent and the surprise of Christmas,” a message for the fourth Sunday of Advent. An excerpt follows:

The four weeks of Advent, which will soon draw to a close, are like a snapshot, a miniature, a glimpse of the whole of salvation history.

The themes of the past four weeks — like watch and pray … prepare the way of the Lord …God our Savior and Messiah is at hand … Emmanuel, God with us — all alert us to the primary event in human history: the Word became Flesh – Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Mary – who dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory again and again.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI taught us: “If we are to be continually lighting candles of humanity, giving hope and joy to a dark world, we can only do so by lighting them from the light of God, Incarnate … from the light of Christ we are to light the flame of a new humanity, caring for the persecuted, the poor, the little ones” of this world of ours.

There it is, the message of Advent and Christmas to follow: light, hope, joy and love. This is what Jesus’ presence brings in Mary’s womb as she greets her kinswoman Elizabeth, in Christ’s humble birth, throughout his life and in the Church he established.   

This time of the year presents us, as Christians, with a great opportunity and a great realization: from the beginning of human history the God who has created us has continued to surprise us as he reaches out in love. And it is in God’s love that we encounter the gift and grace of his Son.

Click HERE to read Bishop O’Connell’s full message.

On Dec. 14, Bishop O’Connell conveyed an appeal from leaders in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as relief work began in Kentucky and other states that suffered an incalculable toll from the recent outbreak of tornadoes. 

The Bishop shared, “Catholics are encouraged to donate to recovery efforts and financial help for tornado victims by supporting the work of Catholic Charities USA via the website:

In an earlier message posted Dec. 11, Bishop O’Connell called upon the faithful of the Diocese of Trenton to join in prayer for all those impacted by the devastating tornadoes that were reported in nearly a dozen Midwestern and Southern states. He stated: “We pray for the souls of those who have died; for the comfort of their grieving loved ones; for the healing of the injured, and for the strength and perseverance of all those who lost their homes and livelihoods.”

The Bishop’s message concluded, “May all those traumatized by this vast devastation find hope in God’s abiding love and be assured that they will not be forgotten.”

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