“Contemplate the cradle in Bethlehem without forgetting to fix our gaze on Christ Crucified”

Christmas Greetings of Pope Francis to the Passionists

Within the context of the recently concluded Jubilee Year of Mercy and in preparation for the feast of St. Maria Goretti (July 6), Fr. Antonio Coppola, Rector of the Shrine of St. Maria Goretti in Nettuno, Italy, presented our Holy Father, Pope Francis, with a relic of the Saint, who was a model of forgiveness and mercy.  The Holy Father responded with a letter in which he thanked the community of Nettuno for the gift of the relic and at the same time he recalled various aspects of the life of St. Maria Goretti.

The entire Italian text: link1


At the conclusion of the letter he stated- “As I wrote in the Bull, Misericordiae Vultus, ‘The time has come for the Church to take up the joyful call to mercy once more. It is time to return to the basics and to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters. Mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instils in us the courage to look to the future with hope.’ (n. 10): this is my heartfelt sentiment that I offer you together with my greetings and blessing…”

Then in December, at the conclusion of the Jubilee Year, the Holy Father responded to a letter from the rector in which he recalled the life of St. Maria Goretti and offered the Passionists his greetings for Christmas.

The full Italian text: link2

In part, he wrote— “Christmas is near and in order to welcome the coming of the Lord amongst us we contemplate the cradle in Bethlehem without forgetting to fix our gaze on Christ Crucified, so as to attain a comprehensive and profound vision of this boundless love and become ever more faithful. The Year of Mercy has just ended; however, the doors of this boundless love remain open and it invites us to go back to basics. Mercy is essential and brings us to the heart of the Gospel!

         As a sign of my spiritual closeness in your life of contemplation and prayer, I wish the entire Passionist community greetings at the Nativity of the Child Jesus and I impart to all of you the abundant Blessing of Divine Mercy.  Please, continue to pray for me.”