So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. Luke 2:16-17
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Each year, as we commemorate the birth of the Lord Jesus at Christmas, it is important for us to encounter the mystery and importance of the Lord’s Incarnation with renewed wonder, gratitude and love.
In calling to mind that first Christmas, so lovingly evoked by the manger scenes set up in our parishes and homes, it can be easy to overlook the presence of the humble shepherds of Bethlehem. It was these shepherds who were the first to hear, respond to and share the Good News of the birth of the Savior, proclaimed to them by the angels in their joyful hymn of praise: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Lk 2:14)
As the angels returned to heaven and the unadorned reality of that first Christmas began to dawn upon them with the first light of morning, the shepherds left their flocks and set out in haste to encounter the infant Lord Jesus in the quiet stillness of the manger.
As Catholics, we are called, like the shepherds, to witness Jesus’ great love and mercy, sharing the Good News by our example, bringing Christ to others.
We need not do this important task alone.
Therefore, it is with pleasure that I welcome you to our updated Four County Catholic magazine. The goal of the magazine is to help all of us grow in our relationship with Jesus, and to become better connected with each other and especially with the Church as the body of Christ.
For 34 years, the Four County Catholic has communicated the official news of the diocese and beyond, as well as highlights of important events that occurred in our parishes, schools and institutions.
Employing a new bimonthly magazine format, it is our goal to reach every registered Catholic household in the Diocese.
As you read each issue, you may wish to share the magazine or an interesting article with family, friends and neighbors so that they too can have a deep and meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ. In that small way, you will become an envoy of evangelization, helping me to get the word out about what Christ is accomplishing among us in Eastern Connecticut.
Each month, the Four County Catholic writers will attempt to chronicle inspiring faith stories already occurring here in our diocese, along with sharing fascinating articles of spirituality and Catholic culture. Other features will roll out in the months to come that will aid you in your faith journey. It is my hope that this magazine, over time, serves as an instrument to encourage the faithful in Eastern Connecticut to share the Good News with those around us.
In this season of light and hope, let us give thanks to God for the tremendous gift he has given to the world in the person of Jesus and spend some time in prayer, asking how he is calling us to reflect and radiate the light of his love to others.
As we again recall the great mystery of God’s love this Christmas, may we, like the shepherds of old, approach the manger and adore our infant King with hearts full of gratitude. Then, let us allow his transformative love to work through us as his disciples to bring hope, peace, and joy to our world today.
May you, your families and loved ones have a truly Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with God’s blessings!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop Michael R. Cote