Hi everyone,

In this season of Advent, I hope that I can be a bearer of good news. We have climbed a mountain during the pandemic and I believe we are starting to see the horizon in the valley below us. I say this 275 days after I first took to writing a daily communication to everyone in CFCS. If you remember, one month into the national crisis I asked everyone to picture a time when a vaccine would begin shipment and to be prepared for another 6 months of challenges as we get to the end of a long journey. Today that day is upon us, I am happy to report that we can start a countdown, which is why I named my communication “Day 180 Countdown”.

Now if you are like me, I have a hard time accepting good news without the continued fear of what comes next. Right now we are in the midst of ever increasing cases counts and death. How can we be so hopeful when we have tragedy and anxiety to battle every day? How can we be hopeful when our Christmas celebration this year will be marked by denying ourselves the very thing that we cherish most; gathering together as a family, as a Church, as a community. These are trying times for sure. And they prepare for us to be renewed.

As Christians, this Christmas we are reminded that God sent his only son to be with us; to be one of us. Where would Christ be in the midst of the pandemic today? What would he be doing? I have to remind myself that when Christ walked the earth he didn’t wipe away all the tragedy and pain. He walked among us and felt our pain. As I ponder these questions, I can only think that he would be among us at funerals and at the cemetery. He would be at the hospitals consoling the sick. He would be wiping away tears of grief, letting us know that God has prepared a place for us. When I picture him with his disciples, I picture each of you. He would be gathered with us, encouraging us to be the light at a dark time. He would be opening our eyes as he worked among us.

Each day I know that there is one of you who will get up and make the decision to go out into the cold to dig a grave, to prepare for a funeral, and to meet with a family. If we could only know that Christ was walking beside us or opening a door for the family to be greeted by you, one of his disciples. How much more confident would we be if we felt his presence?

With every Christmas story, there is a gift. In this case, I came to realize the gift was given to us by you, our CFCS family. Just like a proud father, I decided to share that message (click here) with bishops and dioceses across the country.

In these coming days and weeks, I pray that each of you receives a sign that God is present with you in the midst of your life. In your heart I hope that you receive the gift of Hope. You are needed more today than ever before by your spouse, your parents, your children, and your friends. We need you more than ever before, and our Church needs you.

With continued blessings and gratitude,