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‘A time of renewed hope and grace’

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

December 20, 2023

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Peace Be with You! These words of greeting that we hear at every Mass are the first words that Jesus spoke to His disciples in Jerusalem when He appeared to them after His resurrection from the dead (Luke 24:36). Yes, our risen Lord, whose birth we now celebrate desires peace and unity among us.

Still another Christmas is upon us where we find our fractured world far from peace. Hopes for genuine reconciliation on the global scene seem so remote. Our national leaders become entrenched in their ideologies and our divided nation continues to limp badly. Many of us, particularly during the holidays, are painfully aware of fractures and division within our own families.

Enduring peace is a fruit of faith. Peace is communion with God. Through our own earnest efforts to grow in our relationship with Christ during this time of Eucharistic Renewal, we can become peacemakers who inspire others by our example. Such efforts might include: daily recitation of the Rosary; spending a Holy Hour of Adoration each week before the Blessed Sacrament for the innocent victims of violence; celebrating the Sacrament of Penance and seeking forgiveness for personal sins that work against peace and unity; making Fridays a day of Penance for Peace by abstaining from meat; taking the time to become more knowledgeable about those who suffer oppression; or including in your prayer intentions at Mass, a special petition for peace and healing in our families.

Our Church has a rich treasury from which we can draw to help us work toward a lasting peace.

I pray that you and your family will avail yourselves of these treasures of our Church and make Christmas 2023 a time of renewed hope and grace.

May the Prince of Peace lead you and your loved ones along the path of peace. With outstretched arms from the manger and then later from the Cross, God reaches out to us in peace and wants us to reach out to one another. Peace is God’s gift to us; our gift to God is to make peace with one another. Let us join the angels in song: “Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth!”

A blessed Christmas and peace-filled New Year to you and your family!

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

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