PASTORAL LETTER FOR THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD – 2011
Beloved Clergy, Monastics and Faithful of the Diocese of the Midwest:
Christ is Born! — Glorify Him!
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
With the glorious celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, we take time to reflect on the gracious gift that God has bestowed upon us with the incarnate Birth of His Only-Begotten Son. With that gift comes the potential for each of us, through the Mystery of Holy Baptism and Chrismation, to be adopted children of the Most High. We are not worthy of such a gift, and yet it is bestowed upon us with the cooperation of our free will — which is in itself a gift of God.
Observing the Birth of our Lord has always filled my heart with hope for the future and the encouragement for the New Year to come. It is a time to contemplate all that has occurred in the year before and look forward to the challenges and opportunities that await us. It is also a time to put behind us the mistakes and sins of the past and allow the Birth of Christ to inspire us to set new goals of spiritual growth.
I have spent this past year traveling throughout most of the Diocese of the Midwest getting to know the clergy, their families, and the faithful of this God-blessed Church, and allowing them to get to know their new archpastor. I have gotten to know so many wonderful people and learned so much. Acquiring that experience and knowledge, I look forward to the New Year with confidence to put in place the vision that I have for the Diocese. We have many, many strengths, but we also have many obstacles and weaknesses to overcome.
As your hierarch, I take full responsibility for the events of the past year and ask for your prayers and forgiveness of my sins. I look forward to the next year with enthusiasm, encouragement, joy and hope. My prayer is that the Birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, be that inspiration to all of the clergy, their families, and the faithful of the Diocese of the Midwest!
Christ is Born! - Glorify Him!
Your shepherd in Christ,
Bishop of Chicago and the Diocese of the Midwest