CNS photo
CNS photo

It happens more often than we’d like to admit … our Christmas to-do lists grow longer, while the time available to address these tasks grows shorter. And somewhere between the Christmas card writing, the baking, the shopping and wrapping of gifts, the decorating of the house and the tree, the preparations for entertaining (and so on), we forgot to do the Advent calendar, we didn’t get to the Christmas caroling event at church, and the only real focus on the Birth of Christ happens when we thankfully manage to get to Mass on Christmas Eve. Inevitably, so many of us find ourselves saying … Christmas will be different next year.

It is that sense of having missed out on the true spirit of Christmas – something to which many Catholic families can relate – that inspired the subject matter of this month’s IN FOCUS package. Our team, in consultation with parish leaders and community members across the Diocese, have curated a collection of ideas, resources and reflections to support our readers’ pursuit of a truly spiritual experience of Christmas this year.  We believe that there is something here for everyone’s journey, even that of the busiest of folks, and we encourage you to try at least one of the ideas that are offered. 

This issue of The Monitor Magazine also brings our readers reporting on the Church’s work to assist asylum seekers at the Mexican border, including an interview with Missionaries of Jesus Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, during her recent visit to the Diocese. You will also find a report from one of our own, Matthew Greeley, who spent a week helping out at the border as part of a delegation from the Center for FaithJustice in Lawrenceville.

Other articles to check out: 

¦ Parish program aimed at building understanding of the Real Presence

¦ The controversy in New York City over building a statue of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

¦ The rewarding experience of researching one’s ancestry

¦ A basketball program with ties to two local parishes that welcomes persons of all ages with disabilities

We’d like to thank our respondents to the December survey, who shared their Christmas traditions and practices. Your ideas helped us in our reporting (see sidebar).  We will announce our next survey topic on and on Facebook.  Please watch for it.

On behalf of our publisher, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and our entire team here at The Monitor, we wish all of our readers and their loved ones a most joyful and blessed Christmas and restful holiday season!