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Bishop Cote's Christmas Message for 2021

Posted on December 23, 2021 in: Reflections

Bishop Cote's Christmas Message for 2021

December 2021 Four County Catholic

Christmas Message 2021

And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:14

My dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

These words speak to us, in a beautifully poetic way, of our Lord’s miraculous gift of Himself - a gift which He gave to the world when He humbly took flesh and was born in the simple manger in Bethlehem.
The gift, the true meaning of the Christmas event, is that the Lord, the Eternal Word and Son of God the Father, became flesh and made his dwelling among us. The mystery and miracle of our Lord’s Incarnation stands at the very heart of our Catholic faith. It is the source of our hope. God’s great love and mercy, as proclaimed in the Gospel message, began with the birth of a child who would grow, teach us the truth of the Gospel, and ultimately offer His very life in sacrifice, providing for those who believe in Him the tremendous grace to share eternal life with God and all the saints in heaven.
May we never forget this miraculous gift of God’s love.
Our annual celebration of the Lord’s Nativity provides an important reminder to us of the true depth of the love that He continues to pour forth upon each of us and our world. The opportunity to encounter the same Lord Jesus who was born in the manger in Bethlehem but is now risen and glorified - who again humbles Himself to become present to us, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity - is now found in the Most Holy Eucharist. Intimately tied to our Lord’s Incarnation, the gift of the Most Holy Eucharist is the mystery by which He continues to make his dwelling among us here and now.
Sadly, as multiple surveys conducted in recent years have shown, belief in the true and real presence of the Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist has declined significantly, even among those who self-identify as Catholics and who attend Mass regularly. This disturbing trend should be a cause of great concern for us all, but we must not lose hope!
In response to these trends, the Bishops of the United States have recently approved a catechetical document on the Most Holy Eucharist that is being prepared for publication in the new year. Plans for a national Eucharistic revival have also been approved. More information about these two initiatives will be forthcoming. It is my hope that they will reawaken and reinvigorate our understanding of this great gift of the Lord’s presence in the most Holy Eucharist. In the meantime, let us pray with greater fervor throughout this Christmas season that these initiatives will be successful and that we will never take the miraculous gift of our Lord’s birth, or of His abiding presence among us in the Most Holy Eucharist for granted.
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 of Norwich

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