A Message for Christmas by Archbishop Paul Cremona O.P.
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Archbishop Paul Cremona has issued his annual Christmas message, in it he says:
Brothers and sisters,
“This year, I offer you my Christmas greetings from the Corradino Correctional Facility. There is a specific reason why this place was chosen – as this year I wish that we would bear in mind all those people who will not be spending their Christmas at home. It could be that they live in an institution, or they are in hospital, or it could also be that they are living in this Correctional Facility.
I chose this place so that we may remember Our Lord Jesus Christ in a special way. In the first Christmas, he was born in a cave, far away from his home, albeit accompanied by Mary and Joseph. I am saying this because, first and foremost, Our Lord Jesus Christ will be born this Christmas in the place which we shall prepare for him, that is, a place where we are ready to welcome him.
Therefore, we should prepare ourselves for this feast of Christmas, irrespective of where we live, because the place should not make a difference. We could be in a place like the one where I am presently, the Corradino Correctional Facility, or it could be a palace. We can welcome Jesus Christ anywhere. It is important for us not to differentiate between places, because Our Lord is to be found everywhere. In this light, may I ask you to reflect upon two points.
Firstly, that our Lord Jesus Christ came for one and all. Therefore, the Christian must not have any prejudices against others, no matter who they are: whether they are residents of this Facility or those people we refer to as refugees; the mentally-impaired, and also those who are poor and live on the streets. We cannot hold any prejudice against any of these people because if we do, then we will be going against all that Our Lord Jesus Christ did.
The second reflection which I would like to share with you, if especially as Christians, we wish to use the same reasoning as Jesus Christ did when he came among us, is this: the more we come face to face with and poverty and afflicttion, the more we should come close to these people who are suffering. This is precisely why Jesus was born in a cave in Bethlehem: that he may be united with all those who are poor, emarginated and in distress.
It would be so beautiful if this Christmas we could put into practise these two reflections which I have shared with you. Furthermore, I encourage you to try and live them all the year round, in every place where you may be. No prejudices, but lots of love, especially towards those who are suffering and the emarginated, otherwise our journey with Jesus will not be fulfilling. We would be only experiencing the surface rather than the essence of the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ among us.
I wish to conclude by wishing a Happy Christmas to all living here, at the Corradino Correctional Facility, including the staff who work here. Some of these staff members will not be able to celebrate Christmas at home with their families either. But Christmas can be celebrated everywhere. Jesus will come to any place which we prepare for him, to any place where there are hearts that are ready to welcome him.
May I take this opportunity to wish a Happy Christmas to all who are listening to this message. On behalf of Baby Jesus, may I impart my blessing on every home, on every residence: in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
+ Paul Cremona O.P.
Archbishop of Malta
Photograph of Archbishop Paul Cremona O.P. by Photocity, Valletta.