Archdiocese of St. John's

Sunday, 22 December 2013

My Christmas Message for 2013

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As we draw near to Christmas, we remember that Jesus was born in a time of political uncertainty, in a land occupied by a foreign power. A political act, a census, dictated that every man and his family register in their native town. Mary and Joseph thus found themselves far from home and loved ones, on the road, about to bring a child into the world without adequate shelter, money or support. They then became refugees when the king’s jealousy and rage endangered their child’s life. This same human drama is being played out on stages all over the world today. We entered into 2013 moved by the crisis in Syria, a human tragedy on a scale never before seen by humankind, with two million people displaced and rendered refugees. Newfoundlanders found themselves moved to respond. We ended the year with the worst natural disaster in history, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which rendered hundreds of thousands homeless. Once again, Newfoundlanders found it in their hearts to respond.
As refugees, Jesus, Mary and Joseph would have welcomed the aid provided by Newfoundlanders. Knowing what it is to be poor and vulnerable to the ravages of nature, we have consistently opened our hearts, hands and pocketbooks to help people in need. The generosity of Newfoundlanders in time of tremendous and immediate need has moved me greatly. I have been just as moved by the generosity of people who, day in and day out, take time to volunteer, donate to local charities, or bring food to people who are grieving or in need.
It is no coincidence that our God chose to take on human form in and through a poor refugee family. Our God does nothing by accident. God became human in these circumstances to call us to identify with, and give ourselves for, the poor. We cannot be satisfied with “poverty reduction” strategies; we must strive, as Pope Francis urges us, to see the world and people through God’s eyes. He calls us to envision and work for a future of hope and reconciliation, equality and justice. And how will we know that this Kingdom of God is being made real in our midst? The hungry will be fed, the naked will be clothed, the lame will walk, the blind will see, the imprisoned will be freed, and the poor will have Good News proclaimed to them.
In order to bring about this new world, it is important to do what Jesus would do. It is even more important to make Christ present in our world. We Christians do not just slavishly imitate our Master. We have been given His very heart, intelligence, skill and imagination. We must get out there, make a difference wherever we find ourselves, be creative, use our God-given talents and finely-developed skills to make the lives of our brothers and sisters better and our world a more just, more loving, more peaceful place.
I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas!  May you experience all the blessings of God. Together, let us give thanks for the blessings of this past year, and look forward in hope.

Sincerely yours in Christ,


______________________________
MOST REVEREND MARTIN W. CURRIE
Archbishop of St. John’s

Friday, 20 December 2013

Masses with the Sick and Imprisioned

Christmas Mass at Her Majesty's Penitentiary

On Tuesday, December 17 I celebrated a Christmas Mass for inmates at Her Majesty's Penitentiary. The Basilica Parish choir also attended and after Mass they provided a snack for those in attendance. I always welcome the opportunity to visit and minister to those who are imprisoned. In my conversations with inmates, I see again and again, that Christ is in search of every human being regardless of their situation. Christ understands the seasons and rhythms of the human heart and patiently and lovingly searches for the lost sheep. The mercy of God creates daily opportunities for all people to grow in goodness and find new paths of redemption. Please remember all those individuals behind prison walls - the mentally and physically ill, the illiterate and undereducated, the addicted, homeless and poor especially during the upcoming Christmas season when many will be separated from their families and loved ones.

"I was in prison and you visited me." Matthew 25:37
 


Christmas Mass at the Waterford Hospital

On Friday, December 20 I will celebrate a Christmas Mass with residents at the Waterford Hospital. Mental illness is one of the most agonizing of human experiences not only for the person suffering but also for their family, loved ones and all those involved in their life. Individuals suffering from mental illness need empathy, sensitivity and compassion as they struggle with the complexities of their illness. God knows our hurts and weaknesses and lovingly journeys with us during the vulnerable and broken times of our lives. Let us all be loving and accepting towards our brothers and sisters who suffer from mental illness providing support, understanding and compassion to them so that they may find strength, hope and courage in their daily struggles. Please pray for all individuals who are hospitalized, especially those suffering from mental illness, during this Christmas season.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Advent 2013

 

Handel's Messiah

I had the privilege to attend the annual Handel's Messiah, sponsored by Cox and Palmer, on Friday, December 13 at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. This spectacular production featured Marc David conductor, Mark Fewer guest concertmaster, Meredith Hall soprano, Daniel Taylor countertenor, Adam Luther tenor, Tyler Duncan baritone and the Philharmonic Choir of the NSO. Handel's Messiah is a Christmastime tradition at the Basilica attended by a full church. Congratulations to all performers.


Advent Penitential Celebrations


There will be a number of Penitential Celebrations at churches in the St. John's area fromDecember 16 - 19. These celebrations are an opportunity for parish communities to gather to listen to God's Word, to reflect on that Word, and to be attentive to those parts of our lives where we are challenged to live more deeply grounded in the Gospel. A number of priests will be available at each Penitential Celebration for those indviduals wishing to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance. Please consider taking some time this week to receive God's unconditional love and mercy as you prepare to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's first coming into this world.


PENITENTIAL CELEBRATIONS DURING ADVENT – 7:00 P.M.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 16th: St. Patrick’s Church, Patrick Street

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17th: Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Military Road

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 18th: Corpus Christi Church, Waterford Bridge Road


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19TH: St. Teresa’s Church, Mundy Pond Road


Be It Resolved - Roger's Community Channel


On Monday, December 16, I will be Randy Simm's guest on the program "Be It Resolved" which airs on Roger's TV. Host Randy Simms explores all sides of contemporary cultural, social and poliitcal issues on the "Be It Resolved" series. I look forward to discussing with Randy issues related to religion, church attendance, spirituality, and the like as his guest on December 16.


Annual Christmas Dinner - Gathering Place


 
On Tuesday, December 17 I will attend the annual Christmas dinner for Gathering Place members. This year the event will be held at the Knights of Columbus building on St. Clare Avenue while renovations continue on the Gathering Place property. I always look forward to attending this annual event and welcome the opportunity to meet and socialize with patrons of the Gathering Place who show such a generous spirit of friendship and appreciation.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The Faithful of the Archdiocese wish Archbishiop Currie - Happy Birthday!

Today, December 11, 2013 Archbishop Currie celebrates his 70th birthday.  On behalf of all people of the Archdiocese of St. John’s, we wish him abundant blessings on this special occasion – blessings of health, happiness, peace and joy.  May today be an opportunity for you to reflect on the great gift of life given to you and to give thanks to God for all the blessings of the past year.


May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
(Irish Blessing)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Collection for the Philippines

It is with a great sense of gratitude and deep appreciation that Archbishop Martin W. Currie announces that the people of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. John’s have contributed a total of $135,395.19 to the recent collection in support of those people whose lives were touched by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. When we ponder the fact that this amount will be matched by the Government of Canada, we recognize that this brings the total to over a quarter of a million dollars. This amount is significant, for it will be combined with aid from many other sources to help the people of the storm-ravaged areas of the Philippines re-build and move on. The solidarity and support that the collection represents is even more significant. As we draw near to Christmas, we remember that Jesus was born into a refugee family, without adequate shelter, money or support. Through this collection we have embraced the opportunity to provide our sisters and brothers with aid, aid that Jesus, Mary and Joseph would have welcomed on this journey. Newfoundlanders, knowing what it is to be poor and open to the ravages of nature, have consistently opened their hearts, their hands and their pocketbooks to help those less fortunate. Archbishop Currie expresses his thanks to all who contributed in any way.

Friday, 6 December 2013

On the Death of Nelson Mandella



Ordinarily we respond to the news of a death with sadness. However last night I was filled with a sense of gratitude to God that a man such as Nelson Mandella had walked among us. His life was truly a gift and an example to all who are oppressed and walk in valleys of darkness. He walked through many such valleys in his life – he endured oppression, prejudice, enslavement and thirty years of imprisonment under the Apartheid regime in South Africa. Yet all these did not break his spirit but solidified in him a commitment to freedom, justice, and the enhancement of human dignity. More than anything else I am struck by his example of forgiveness, both seeking and bringing about – reconciliation between people, among opposing factions and among nations. 
He won the Nobel prize for Peace – but his spirit was truly noble. So today when we could be sad, we prefer to recommit ourselves to the same causes that gave him life and to work for the enhancement of human dignity - in our homes, in our families, in our schools, in our places of work and in “our own long walk to freedom.”

“Well done good and faithful servant. Come inherit the Kingdom.”

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Advent Festival of Carols and Scripture

On Sunday, December 1, 2013 I had the delightful pleasure to attend the 17th Annual Advent Festival of Carols and Scripture at the Basilica of St. John the Baptist. The evening was filled with carols and scripture as well as stories told by individual storytellers - stories of consolation, hope, peace, trust and light. The choir performances were absolutely splendid. The entire evening was a great way for all in attendance to enter into the Advent season - the four weeks of preparation for the birth of our Saviour. The reception afterwards was well attended and added to an absolutely fantastic evening. Thank you to the faithful organizers of the Basilica Parish of St. John the Baptist for offering all people from St. John's and surrounding areas this spectacular annual Advent festival. Congratulations to all of you!