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Bishop Cote's Christmas Message for 2022

Posted on December 22, 2022 in: Reflections

Bishop Cote's Christmas Message for 2022


December 2022 Four County Catholic

Christmas Message 2022

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth,
and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

Luke 2:7

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

These words recounting some of the first moments shared between the Blessed Mother and the Christ-child on the first Christmas are both familiar and comforting. In them we encounter both the tenderness of a mother and the sublime humility of our God who, out of the greatness of His love, would choose to take human flesh to become one like us in all things but sin. This familiar scene as recounted by the evangelist Saint Luke, also includes important symbolism that points to the profound reality of the miracle that took place in the quiet stillness of the stable of Bethlehem.

How often in our lives have we looked upon the humble nativity scenes erected in our homes and churches during the Christmas season, and beheld our infant Lord wrapped in cloth and placed in a manger, just as Saint Luke describes? As people of faith, we know that with God, nothing happens accidentally; everything has meaning. There, under the loving gaze of Mary and Joseph with shepherds looking on, the Lord was placed in a manger ordinarily used to feed the animals whose shelter He shared on that Christmas morning. This is significant.  The same Lord Jesus who was laid in a feeding trough at His birth, would later become the very food by which His disciples are transformed into His living presence in the world through the Most Holy Eucharist. 

Each time we attend Mass, we bear witness to the same miracle of the Incarnation which we celebrate at Christmas. It was through His coming as man that the Lord would be able to give us the gift of Himself, body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist. As the Lord taught in the synagogue of Capernaum, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

The awesome mystery of our Lord’s nativity at Christmas is inseparably linked to the gift of His continued presence among us in the Most Holy Eucharist. As I mentioned to you last Christmas, the Church in the United States has now begun a three-year national Eucharistic revival which seeks to re-enliven our faith in the Eucharistic presence of the Lord. The gift of the Eucharist is one of the fruits which flows from the Lord’s nativity. As we gaze on the manger scene this Christmas, and receive Him in Holy Communion, may we each ask the infant Jesus, truly present through this gift of His love, to make His home in us and to help us appreciate His Eucharistic presence more fully, that we might become His living presence in our world today.

May you, your families and loved ones have a truly merry Christmas as well as a New Year filled with an abundance of God’s blessings!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Bishop of Norwich



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    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
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    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294