Christmas Message from Archbishop Miller
Dear brother priests, deacons, seminarians, consecrated women and men, and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Vancouver:
“I bring you good news of a great joy … for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:10-11).
In the angel's message to the shepherds we hear proclaimed the Good News that the Son of God was born in a lowly stable and dwelt among us. Now, 2,000 years later, the angel's proclamation rings out once again this Christmas, inviting us to welcome the Saviour, to welcome the God Who became one of us. In the Christ Child we can, as it were, touch and caress God Himself.
In the silence of that night in Bethlehem, Jesus was born and lovingly welcomed: by Mary and Joseph in the humility of the stable, by the visiting shepherds who left their flocks by night to seek Him out, and by the whole heavenly host singing of God's glory and the gift of peace to people of good will (cf. Lk 2:14).
God made Himself a small and defenceless infant, so that we could understand Him, love Him, and welcome Him into our hearts and into our homes, parishes, and communities.
As the People of God in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, let us endeavour to be among those who welcome Him anew, together with all our brothers and sisters whom He came to save from sadness and sin.
By now you have seen the television commercials which are inviting back to the sacraments those who have become inactive in the practice of their faith. Jesus is welcoming them back to share in His life. Likewise, throw open the doors to welcome them, just as you welcome Him!
Like Mary, do not keep the joy of Christ's birth for yourself, but invite others to share in that joy. In this Year of Faith, let the witness of your gentle word and of your Christ-like lives become beacons of hope for those who seem to have forgotten Him!
The spiritual success of our “Catholics Come Home” initiative depends on your prayer for those who have strayed, and on your willingness to invite and to extend to them your hand of welcome.
Allow them to know once again God's tenderness and love in Jesus Christ. Tell them of His wondrous birth, which invites them to draw near to God in friendship. Tell them that Jesus wants to be their companion along the paths of their life. Tell them that He is stretching out His hand to them in welcome.
This Christmas I urge each one of you to lead back to Jesus at least one person – a family member, a friend, a co-worker or a neighbour – who has wandered away from the Church. Take them by the hand. Through you, He wants to reach out to them, to comfort them and bring them back to Himself.
With my prayerful good wishes to you and your families for a spiritually fruitful celebration of the Lord's birth, and the assurance of a remembrance of you and your families in my celebration of Midnight Mass, I remain
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+ J. Michael Miller, CSB
Archbishop of Vancouver