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Seek to accompany others

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

December 18, 2019

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

A constant theme that Pope Francis has incorporated into his teaching is that of accompaniment. Of course, the premier example of accompaniment is the Incarnation, that Joyful Mystery of our faith when God, born of the Virgin Mary, chose to accompany us on our earthly journeys. The Christmas story is a divine love story of accompaniment.

In our recent ad limina visit to Rome, the Holy Father spoke of the importance of the family and its tragic brokenness today. He urged us to accompany, with tenderness and care, members of broken families and to support struggling and strong families. We each have a role to play in the Christmas story as fellow companions in faith, beginning with those closest to us, our families.

So many persons need someone to lean on, someone to show them Jesus. Our Godparents and Confirmation sponsors will want to recommit themselves to accompanying the baptized and confirmed in their walk of faith.

We enter more fully the Christmas story when we take the time to understand and support the fearful migrant, the confused teen, the depressed homeless, the victim of abuse, the mentally ill, the desperate addict, the overwhelmed parent, the forgotten elderly. No one should walk alone.

Christmas is the divine reminder that our God never forgets us. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life who never leaves us alone. It is no wonder that this is a time of great hope, joy and peace. The Christmas story is our love story! For the faithful one, we know how the story ends. As the New Year approaches, let us turn the page to a new chapter in our story. Christ-led, Christ-fed and Hope-filled, we seek to be the companion whose own personal encounter with Jesus becomes the witness for others to want to seek the Prince of Peace.

May the Christ Child bring you and your loved ones the Gift of Love, the Blessing of Hope and the Promise of Peace. A blessed Christmas and joy-filled New Year!

Faithfully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

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