Catholic Courier 12 01 2016 E Edition Page 2

2 Catholic Courier Diocese of Rochester, NY December 2016 From theBishop My dear brothers and sisters in Christ: Each year with the celebration of Christmas, we fo- cus on images of that first Christmas, a cave where the Savior of humanity was born. Certainly, we recog- nize that the Incarnation radically altered history. But in acknowledging the great transformation born at Bethlehem, we must realize the simplici- ty that surrounded Our Savior's birth. Our society has become so complex that simplicity, which in- deed can be a virtue, is now a lost virtue. We only recently have ended a very difficult political campaign season, which many political analysts de- scribed as unparalleled in our nation's history. The huge sums of money that were spent on these campaigns must necessarily cause us to ask if streamlining or even restructuring the campaign process ought to be exam- ined. When the amounts of money spent were publi- cized, I thought of how the poor served through Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rochester and the outreach programs of our parishes would have been aided by a mere fraction of these campaign costs. I thought of our struggling Catholic schools and the students who cannot attend because of tuition costs; the cost of one commer- cial, which often were not very positive or uplifting, would have benefited so many of these students. I re- gretted the numbers of God's poor whose lives would have received a spark of hope, but did not, from the cost of one campaign event. I thought of so many of you who work so hard just to make ends meet - truly, I prayed, "God, please bless America." What a stark difference between Bethlehem and the campaign trail! And a lack of simplicity can be found in so many areas of life. During our Advent preparations for Christmas, we can forget the greatest celebrations are with family and friends, visiting and sharing time to- gether without texting or e-mailing, but speaking person to person; becoming one with Our Lord in the reception of Holy Communion; finding forgiveness and peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, confession. Advent is the time to leave the noise of the world to al- low silence to envelop our minds and hearts so that we can speak to God. Union with the Lord, or the sad lack of unity with God, affects every aspect of our lives. It is necessary to enter into the silence born of simplicity to understand truly who we are as human beings created by God. In the simplicity of that cave at Bethlehem, Je- sus and Mary understood their spousal relationship, their vocation as parents and the faith essential to every life. In the silence of that night, the Holy Family heard the Continued on page 11 Set world's noise aside Table of Contents Making the grade Schools earn recommendation - 4 Bishops eye concerns Address migrants, persecution - 6-7 Extending mercy Papal letter transcends year - 8-9 Commentary Elected officials and faith values - 10 Advent Faith Alive! Preparing to receive Jesus - 12 Appeal aids ministries Urban, rural families helped - 14-15 Advent activities Parishes slate special events - 16 Novel gift ideas Book reviewer has suggestions - 17 Seasonal success Teams, players amass wins - 18 Kids' Chronicle Jesus speaks of John the Baptist - 19 Bishop SalvatoreR. Matano From the Bishop

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