As 2019 draws to a close we would like to thank our families for their support over the past year. It has been a pleasure to walk alongside the young men of our community as they grow in faith, learning more about themselves and their gifts and talents. We recognise that for some of our families 2019 has been challenging. We are always filled with hope when we see the way in which our community comes together in support of those who are struggling. It is our Marist characteristics alive in our words and actions each day.
Each year Pope Francis shares a Christmas address. In 2018,
he delivered a message around the importance of fraternity, where we are all
called to live in solidarity with the other. We share this with you as a
reminder of all we are trying to achieve in our community; peace, acceptance,
love and family spirit. We recognise that we are all fallible, but as children
of God we are invited to enter into a relationship with Him and the other,
which is framed by dignity and hope. We wish each of you a blessed and Holy
Christmas, a restful and safe holiday, and look forward to seeing you in 2020.
What does that Child, born for us of the Virgin Mary, have to tell us? What is the universal message of Christmas? It is that God is a good Father and we are all brothers and sisters. This truth is the basis of the Christian vision of humanity. Without the fraternity that Jesus Christ has bestowed on us, our efforts for a more just world fall short, and even our best plans and projects risk being soulless and empty. For this reason, my wish for a happy Christmas is a wish for fraternity. Fraternity among individuals of every nation and culture. Fraternity among people with different ideas, yet capable of respecting and listening to one another. Fraternity among persons of different religions. Jesus came to reveal the face of God to all those who seek him.
The face of God has been revealed in a human face. It did not appear in an angel, but in one man, born in a specific time and place. By his incarnation, the Son of God tells us that salvation comes through love, acceptance, respect for this poor humanity of ours, which we all share in a great variety of races, languages, and cultures. Yet all of us are brothers and sisters in humanity!
Our differences, then, are not a detriment or a danger; they are a source of richness. As when an artist is about to make a mosaic, it is better to have tiles of many colours available, rather than just a few! The experience of families teaches us this: As brothers and sisters, we are all different from each other. We do not always agree, but there is an unbreakable bond uniting us, and the love of our parents helps us to love one another. The same is true for the larger human family, but here, God is our "parent," the foundation and strength of our fraternity. May this Christmas help us to rediscover the bonds of fraternity linking us together as individuals and joining all peoples.