Christmas Message of Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, DD
My dear People of God:
On this happy occasion of Christmas, I wish to convey to you and your loved ones my greetings of peace and blessings of joy.
Christmas has many symbols. We hang lanterns. We put up Christmas lights. We decorate Christmas trees. We exchange gifts. We have traditional Christmas goodies and we party. All these symbols are seasonal. We cannot keep them the whole year round otherwise they become stale and life becomes expensive!
But Christmas is not just a day in the year. Christmas is everyday, in fact it can be every moment. Every time the priest whispers the words. “This is my Body … this is my Blood” over the bread and the chalice of wine, it is Christmas! Every time we celebrate the Mass, God comes down from heaven; dwells among us; enters our hearts and stays in our souls. Every time there is a Mass, we join the angels sing “Hosanna in the highest!”
If you want to fulfill the wish of the song, “Araw-araw ay Paskong lagi”, you do not need to keep the Christmas decors and eat the Christmas goodies the whole year. Go to Mass everyday — that is daily Christmas! Receive Holy Communion as much as possible everyday — that is Christmas everyday! So many lives have been changed by frequent Holy Communion. So many have become saints by daily Holy Communion. If all of us become saints, isn’t that why Christ was born?
Indeed the Mass is a celebration of Christmas every moment and everyday. As I bless you on this happy night, let me also invite you to pray in your families that one of your sons may be called to be priests. How can you have Christmas without priests? Do not take your priests for granted. They make possible the continuing rebirth of Christ among us. How can you celebrate Christmas without the priests? The priest is your father but he is also the mother who gives birth to Jesus on the altar not only once but everyday.
Treasure the daily Mass because that is your daily Christmas. Love your priests — you need them; they give you Jesus.
Merry Christmas to all!
From the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist, Dagupan City, December 24, 2010.
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan
The Roman Catholic
Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan
(Central Pangasinan, Philippines)