As millions around the world begin gathering to mark the birth of Jesus Christ, one of America's top Catholic prelates tells Newsmax that the true meaning of Christmas is simply a love of family, friends and those we surround ourselves with every day.
“Christmas is always a wonderful time of the year because it’s a time when people instinctively, intuitively turn to family,” Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, DC. tells Newsmax TV. “They also turn to the whole experience of love in their lives. And we come together as family, because we love our family.”
But our own family is only part of the equation, Wuerl stresses.
“It’s a reminder to us that we’re part of a bigger family, God’s family,” Wuerl says. “We’re called to love not only just the members of our family, but all of those around us.”
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Wuerl is known nationally for his teaching ministry and for his efforts on behalf of Catholic education. He serves on numerous national and international bodies and is chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and chancellor of The Catholic University of America.
A native of Pittsburgh, he received graduate degrees from The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University while attending the North American College, and a doctorate in theology from the University of Saint Thomas in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 17, 1966, and ordained a bishop by Pope John Paul II on January 6, 1986 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
Wuerl served as Auxiliary Bishop in Seattle until 1987 and then as Bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years until his appointment to Washington.
The spirit of Christmas informs how life should be lived year-round, he says.
“Can you imagine what it would be like if the message of Christmas – peace, goodwill, love – if that were lived out every day in our world? Christmas is an opportunity to remind ourselves God is with us, and He calls us to be so much better.”
Christmas also is a time for helping the needy. And that’s especially true this year, with many Americans in economic need, Wuerl says. “This is a rough time, and when we celebrate such a wonderful holy day such as Christmas, we need to remind ourselves the best gift we give one another is our love for one another,” he maintains.
“That’s what Christmas is all about. God came among us. He sent His word among us to say you can love one another, and you can build a better world. So, at Christmas, even if we don’t have a lot of financial means to do other things, we live in hope, we live in the faith that God is with us, and we can certainly share the love. That’s the greatest of the gifts of Christmas.”
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