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The Wednesday Update           

Please note:  The Update will take a short break for Christmas and the New Year holiday, and will return on Wednesday Jan. 10.

Christmas and Sunday Mass attendance:  The U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Divine Worship has determined that Catholics should attend two Masses to fulfill their Sunday and Christmas Mass obligations.

The Sunday obligation for Dec. 24 can be fulfilled on Sunday, or any time after 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, and the Christmas Mass obligation can be fulfilled on Monday, or any time after 4 p.m. on Dec. 24.  

Third Week of Advent
Last Sunday, Gaudete or “Rejoice” Sunday, we heard again from John the Baptist. Here is a summary that aptly brings the message John gave, but with relevance to our lives today: 

John the Baptist said, ‘there stands among you, unknown to you, the one who is coming after me.’

The Lord stands among all of us, but He remains unknown to many. Our calling is to make Him known, to allow Him to shine forth in our world through our lives. John spoke of himself as a voice crying in the wilderness. John used his voice to make known the Light.

We too are asked to use our voice to make Christ known. It does not mean that we stand in the main street and preach. Rather, we use the gift of communication that we have, the gifts of speech and writing, to proclaim the person of Christ; His world view, His values and His attitudes. (We use it) in what we communicate and how we communicate it, and we allow the Lord to communicate through us. Who we are as witnesses to the light, as the voice for the Word, shapes how we live and explains why we live the way we do… Advent is an appropriate time to reclaim our fundamental identity, our Christ-linked identity. If Jesus is to be born anywhere today, it will be in the hearts of his followers.”

                                                             -Partial text taken from the Association of Catholic Priests

Sunday, Dec. 24, is the fourth Sunday of Advent.  On Sunday, the only day of the fourth week of Advent, we anticipate the birth of Christ: 

Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. We ask this through He who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

I wish you a most blessed Christmas.

Diocesan news
I was in Scottsdale yesterday and will be again today for a meeting of leaders of the Santa Fe Province. Our diocese is part of the Santa Fe Province, led by our Metropolitan, Archbishop John Wester, who shepherds the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Other dioceses in the province are Phoenix, Gallup, and Las Cruces. 

Mass and Dinner with seminarians and their parents
During this annual event I will celebrate Mass with our seminarians and their parents, followed by dinner with them at Most Holy Trinity Parish. It will be wonderful opportunity to meet those close to our future priests, and to discover more about how their nurturing and guidance encouraged these young men to pursue service to God.

Other
In no time at all, we will begin a new year. I pray that together, we in the Diocese of Tucson will have a year of helpful ministry to all around us.  As members of the Body of Christ, I urge all of us to find ways in 2018 to serve the Lord and one another.

During the last few weeks, many people have asked me what I might include in my plans for the Diocese. I have said that I have not made any specific plans yet, since I am still learning about our home and assessing the needs of the Diocese. I know this Diocese is in a stable place, with parishes and ministries streaming along in good fashion. I am thankful for this, and for the fact that there is indeed time to observe and to learn before launching into new projects or making changes.

Thanks to those who have contacted me through the email commenttobishop@diocesetucson.org  Your comments are useful and enlightening.

Please keep me in your prayers as you all are in mine.