Litany of Christmas Thanks

Staff Group Photo

Over 2,000 thousand years ago, Almighty God entered into the world through the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the humble setting of a cave in a field where shepherds were tending their flocks. The Word of God became flesh so that we might become children of God. In that nativity scene, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph reveal the love of God and His tender compassion for us. The shepherds were the first to worship the infant Jesus as a sign of the necessity of humility in approaching Our Lord.

As you gather together as family this Christmas, we pray that the Holy Family will intercede for you and your loved ones wherever they may be, and that you may experience much joy and peace as you reflect on the baby Jesus and the immense love he has for you. We pray that this joy remain with you throughout the Christmas Season and in the New Year to come.

Blessed Christmas from the Pilgrim Center of Hope!

Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox, Directors
Nan Balfour, Events Coordinator
Thomas H. Dum, Catholic Men’s Conference Coordinator
Deborah Villanueva, Secretary
Ann Gonsalves, Donor Relations Coordinator
Angela Sealana, Media Coordinator
Jessica Rendon, Ministries Assistant

Response: Baby Jesus, we thank you.

For the Blessed Virgin Mary, your Mother, who said “Yes” to the angel. R/

For John the Baptist, who leapt in the womb of Elizabeth, his mother, when you visited him in Mary. R/

For Joseph, your foster father, who trusted the angel instead of heeding his own doubts. R/

For the donkey that carried your expectant Mother to Bethlehem. R/

For the neighbor who led your holy family to the stable. R/

For the manger in which you were placed as if in the first tabernacle. R/

For the animals who were there in the first moments that you were adored. R/

For the angels and their song that led shepherds to your stable. R/

For the shepherds who worshiped you and then proclaimed the Good News like priests. R/

For Simeon, who all his life had been waiting for you in the temple, longing to hold you. R/

For Anna, the prophetess who proclaimed you to all those looking for deliverance and peace. R/

For the star that led the Magi to your manger and your Mother. R/

Loving Father, all of these Christmas gifts
symbolize how much you love us
with the supreme Gift of your Son, Jesus Christ,
born for us.
We give these gifts to one another to express
how grateful we are for your unfathomable generosity
and to show how eager we are to share that goodness with one another.
Bless these tokens of love and caring.
Never let us get attached to material things,
but rather let the joy flowing from these presents
strengthen our bonds of love, deepen our relationships,
and move us to be more thankful, selfless, and giving all the days of our life.
Thank you for the birth of Jesus, our Savior.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning,
is now and will be forever. Amen

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The World’s First Love: Mary, the Mother of God

by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

With his characteristic eloquence and brilliance, Fulton, J. Sheen presents a moving portrayal of the Blessed Virgin Mary that combines deep spirituality with history, philosophy and theology. All the major aspects and events of Mary’s life are lovingly portrayed in this word portrait that is a never failing source of information, consolation and inspiration. Sheen also gives profound insights into all the Marian beliefs ranging from the Immaculate Conception to the Assumption to the miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.

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Saint Anthony Mary Claret

Feast: October 24th

The founder of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Anthony Mary Claret died in the Cistercian monastery at Fontfroide in France on this date in 1870. He was canonized in 1950 and listed in the Roman Calendar in 1960. Anthony was born at Salent in the Diocese of Vich in Catalonia, Spain, in the year in which Napoleon invaded Spain. He was trained for manual labor, since his father was a weaver, but in 1829 he entered the seminary at Vich. Ordained to the priesthood in 1835, he was assigned as pastor in his home parish. Later he went to Rome to work for the Propagation of the Faith. He also entered the novitiate of the Jesuits but had to leave because of ill health, so he returned to Spain and was assigned as pastor of a parish. His apostolate consisted of rural preaching, conferences for the clergy and publications (he wrote more than 150 books). Because of his successful apostolate he aroused the animosity of some of the clergy and as a result he left Catalonia for the Canary Islands (1848). After a year he returned to Catalonia and resumed his preaching apostolate.

In 1849 Anthony gathered together five priests who formed the basis of the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (popularly known as Claretians). At the suggestion of the Queen of Spain, Isabella II, Anthony was named archbishop of Santiago, Cuba (1850). For the next seven years he made pastoral visitations, preached against the slavery of the Negroes, and regularized numerous marriages. As a result of his activity he was frequently threatened with death and on one occasion an attempt was actually made on his life. In 1857 he was recalled to Spain as confessor to the queen. In this way he was able to exert some influence in the naming of bishops, set up a center of ecclesiastical studies at the Escorial, and work towards the recognition of religious orders in Spain. In 1869 he was in Rome, preparing for the First Vatican Council. He followed Isabella II into exile and at the insistence of the Spanish ambassador, was placed under house arrest in the Cistercian monastery at FontFroide, where he died at the age of 63. His remains were ultimately returned to Vich.

Source: EWTN

St. George

Saint-GeorgeIt is likely that Saint George was born to a Greek Christian noble family in Lydda, Syria Palaestina, during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD. He died in the Greek city of Nicomedia in Asia Minor. His father, Gerontios, was a Greek from Cappadocia, an officer in the Roman army; and his mother, Polychronia, was a Greek native of Lydda. They were both Christians from noble families of the Anici, so their child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgios (Greek), meaning “worker of the land” (i.e., farmer). At the age of fourteen, George lost his father; a few years later, George’s mother, Polychronia, died. Eastern accounts give the names of his parents as Anastasius and Theobaste.

On 24 February AD 303, Diocletian (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However, George objected, and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. But George loudly renounced the Emperor’s edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods; he made many offers, but George never accepted.

Recognizing the futility of his efforts and insisting on upholding his edict, Diocletian ordered that George be executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia’s city wall, on 23 April 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.

George is the patron saint of Palestine. His feast day is May 6th.