St. Paul's Principal's Message page

Principal's Message

Christmas Message

As December has arrived and the season of Advent is upon us, people begin to think of Christmas and getting ready for the holidays. Also, I send out my Christmas message to the St. Paul community. This year it will be a little different as I focus on prayer intentions. Since 2018 Pope Francis has set aside a month for us to pray for different intentions. An intention is a person or a thing that is meant to benefit as a result of prayer or religious offering. Although Pope Francis’ plan to help society through prayer dates from 2018, it has its roots dating back to the mid-19 century. In 1844 a Jesuit priest Francis Xavier Gautrelet suggested that students in his care prayed for intentions on the feast day of St. Francis Xavier. His idea expanded until today it is a world wide prayer system in the Catholic world. For example, in November the Holy Father’s prayer intentions were dedicated to those who suffer from depression. In January 2022 people will be praying for the True Human Fraternity. This month, December is dedicated to praying for the intentions of Catechists. 

Catechists are lay people who teach the word of God. They can be involved in a variety of areas of the Church's work from sacramental preparation to visiting community members who are “shut in”. According to Cannon Law, “they are lay members of the Christian faithful duly instructed and out standing in Christian life who devote themselves to setting forth the teachings of the gospel and organise liturgies and works of charity”. Catechists have a very long tradition in the Church. It goes back to its earliest days when men and women used their God given talents to meet the needs of the people and further the aims of the new religion.

Pope Francis would like to expand this today. That is why he established the Ministry for Catechists in May 2021. As well as putting a formal stamp on the work of lay people who are central to the continuation of the faith, he said the new organisation would,”emphasise even more the missionary commitment … to every baptised person, a commitment that must be carried out in a fully secular manner ....” He goes on to say that qualities of the people involved have to be “... expert in the pastoral service of transmitting the faith as it develops … from Gospel proclamation  … to the ongoing formation that can allow each person to give an accounting of hope within them”.

In our privileged world there will be little obvious change in the work that is done by the Catechists. They will help with sacramental preparation, preside at funerals and help the sick, the poor and the marginalised. However Pope Francis  sees the role of Catechists in parts of the world where there are no or very few priests as now being very important. In 2020 he said that there is a need to strengthen the lay leadership in the Amazon region of South America. Here communities are small and are scattered throughout the tropical rainforest. Pope Francis wants the role of the Catechist to be one which is familiar with the cultures and languages as well as considerate and respectful of indigenous traditions. 

As I said at the start, this is not the usual Christmas message. However as the Church navigates a very complex world we should pray for all those who are tasked with the job of looking after the Lord’s flock, whether they are lay or clergy.

I'Taamomohkatoyiiksistsikomi Cualli netlācatilizpan īhuān yancuic xihuitl    

Ngand Nwi Lam    عيد ميلاد   Feliz Navidad


Maligayang Pasko   Miet puou yan dhiedh Banyda tene Yin

Merry Christmas

-Mr. Muldoon

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