Bishop of Leiria-Fátima says pandemic imposes simpler way of living Christmas – Leiria region

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The bishop of Leiria-Fátima declared this Thursday 17 that the covid-19 pandemic requires that Christmas be lived in a “simpler and more sober” way and considered that it is also a call to find its authenticity, so many times eclipsed by “consumerism”.

“This year, the shadow of the pandemic hangs over this party, which leaves us dejected, anxious, scared, sorry and saddens our hearts. We must live Christmas in a different, simpler and more sober way ”, writes António Marto, in the Christmas message.

Entitled “The Christmas of Fragility and Fraternity”, the bishop asks that “the sanitary requirements and recommendations” be respected, but he maintains that “the virus cannot extinguish the love, hope and joy of Christmas “.

For the cardinal, “the current situation is also a call to rediscover the truth of Christmas in its authenticity and in its meaning, so often eclipsed by consumerism and the outside”.

“We cannot forget the scenario of this moment which brings personal, family and social difficulties and wounds and that we are going to celebrate Christmas in an experience of fragility”, he warns, thus defending that “no more need” is is “living the own spirituality” to help overcome this pandemic.

Evoking that Christmas is not limited to “celebrating the anniversary of the birth of Jesus”, António Marto underlines that “in this boy God the Love is manifested”.

“He who has faith is never alone. And faith does not take away the difficult moments, but it gives us the strength to face them knowing that we are not alone ”, he adds, wondering:“ This is not the right time for ask ourselves if we are opening our hearts to God who comes to us. our meeting in Jesus? “.

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According to the cardinal, “one of the most beautiful aspects of Christmas is the universal brotherhood in Christ” and “never as now does it make so much sense to speak of brotherhood and social friendship”, because everyone gets together. realizes “that no one is saved alone”.

Quoting Pope Francis, who calls “to live fraternity as a true mystic in order to rebuild the world divided by walls of all kinds”, António Marto maintains that “the feast of Christmas does not allow” to pass “by, indifferent to poverty, the abandonment of the elderly or alone, of migrants, of the homeless, of the rejected ”.

In this sense, he calls for participation in the Christmas solidarity initiative “10 million stars – a gesture for peace”, promoted by Cáritas Nacional, in which each candle costs two euros.

“Of the total funds collected, 65% go to Caritas Diocesan in its work to support people in need. The remaining 35% are channeled to support the victims of the pandemic caused by the spread of the covid-19 virus, in particular those suffering from the social impact of this crisis, through the program “Reversing the poverty curve in Portugal »», Explains the bishop.

António Marto justifies the appeal by increasing the “number of people in need knocking at the door” of Caritas Diocesan, urging Christians to hear “the cry” of the needy.

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