In his Christmas message to the diocese, Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown has called on faithful “to pray for increase, expansiveness, growth, blossoming and becoming”, so that they “will become more like Christ”.
Bishop Alleyne’s message was published in the December 17, 2021 issue of the diocesan weekly publication, Catholic Standard.
Referring to Pope Francis’ invitation for the Synod “to dream about the Church we are called to be”, Bishop Alleyne called on faithful to ponder: “What is it we, as disciples faithful to our Baptism, dream now as we look ahead in this third millennium?…What are the ways through which we are called to increase?”. These are questions, the Bishop said, that are presented in the first stages of the Synod process.
He continued, “Advent and Christmas repeatedly offer us the invitations to dream, and to grow and to increase. We have been lighting our Advent candles, symbolising the increase of light and expectation as we look to the coming of our Saviour at His birth. We are up early each morning of Novena when it is still dark but emerge into the dawn light at the end of our prayer.”
Bishop Alleyne said that our celebrations “and the very cosmos give us reminders of increase, increase because Christ is coming into our lives”.
He shared that during his recent visits to faith communities to conduct Confirmations, he asked each community if they had had their vaccinations against the coronavirus. Each community, he said, answered with a resounding “yes”.
“This is certainly a light shining in the darkness of pandemic and evidence of so much more that is possible when a community acts and interfaces with other entities in a synodal manner,” he said.
Bishop Alleyne mentioned that over most of the past year, a time when persons have been limited in options to gather and share in faith, particularly faith formation, initiatives were taken to reach out to the faith communities through virtual platforms. “This was yet another way, in the context of limitation, that as a faith community we could share in life and increase.”
Bishop Alleyne further called on faithful to accept Pope Francis’ invitation to increase through synodality. The intended outcome is “to inspire people to dream about the Church we are called to be, to make people’s hopes flourish, to stimulate trust, to bind up wounds, to weave new and deeper relationships, to learn from one another, to build bridges, to enlighten minds, warm hearts, and restore strength to our hands for our common mission”.