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Rector’s Christmas Message 2023

CHRISTMAS 2023. 800 years later…

In the year 1223, St. Francis of Assisi was in Greccio, about 100 km from Rome. He had a desire in his heart: to visit the land where Jesus was born and lived. Since he could not go there at that time, he asked that the Gospel scene of the birth of Jesus be represented in that town. And so the first Bethlehem was born, a tradition that has survived to the present day and that brings together the best feelings of peace and love of which the human being is capable.

It has been 800 years since this event, and for this reason the Nativity Scene in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican this year wants to remember St. Francis of Assisi.

St. Francis was a man of peace, with a great love for God and for others. His life changed the lives of many other people. His great love for Jesus was contagious. Even today, 800 years later, the figure of Francis is a bearer of peace throughout the world.

We too can let the mystery of Bethlehem, the mystery of Jesus, of God made man in a newborn child, touch our hearts and change our lives, fill them with the peace and love of God. In a world where sadly there are so many wars, where men kill one another, let us Christians be witnesses and messengers of peace and love. It is not easy, but with God’s help, it is possible. Not only is it possible, but it is a beautiful reality that thousands and millions of Christians live throughout the world.

Dear friends, I invite you to pray this prayer attributed to St. Francis and to make it a reality in our lives:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, may I put love. Where there is offense, may I put forgiveness. Where there is discord, may I put union.

Let us live this and then there will be a little more peace in the world.

Merry Christmas to all.

Fr. Enrique Tapia, LC.