As the birth of our Lord approaches, we would like to share an excerpt from a letter written by a past member of Catholic Missions In Canada’s board of governors, Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, shepherd of the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan, in Northern Alberta:
As Christmas approaches
I am aware of the heightened expectations of this season. There is no question that it is an exceedingly beautiful time of year, with hopes and dreams for family harmony around laden dining room tables and brightly packaged gifts flowing from the base of Christmas trees.
However, there are other less happy experiences of the season for some persons and families. Those who have lost a loved one in the previous year may find Christmas particularly lonely. Some families are afflicted by problems of addictions and family violence.
We see around the world the effects of devastation (as in the Philippines) which may make for a challenging Season. Let us all try to be sensitive to these situations and by our prayer and deeds try to lift up the needy.
While bearing all of this in mind, I am praying for all of you during the Advent season.
From now until the 25th is the time to prepare our hearts and our homes to honour the coming of Christ into the world.
Take time to pause and consider how best you can celebrate this event. Be mindful of others. Try to get to weekday Mass a few times. Heal old wounds by reconciliation, and celebrate the sacrament that bears that name. Let your heart be stirred by God, who would become a child.
Sincerely in Christ the Redeemer,
Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R.
Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan