Christmas Mass Celebrated in Bethlehem on AMS Pilgrimage to Holy Land

Archbishop Timothy Broglio gives homily at the Church of St. Catherine

BETHLEHEM—During a Christmas Mass at the Church of St. Catherine in Bethlehem, His Excellency, the Most ReverendTimothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, called on Holy Land pilgrims to remember why Christ was born—to assure human salvation. The archbishop celebrated the Mass on November 27, 2013 during a weeklong pilgrimage by nearly three dozen members of the Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS). The pilgrimage was timed to coincide with the end of the Year of Faith, the 13-month period from Oct. 11, 2012 to Nov. 24, 2013 declared by Pope Benedict XVI to summon Catholics the world over to conversion and a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Archbishop Broglio said:

“This is only a transitory place for us, and so we walk on pilgrimage with the reminder that our goal is everlasting life; and it is important to keep that mind, because so often we’re distracted by all of the things that cry out for our attention on the way, but a pilgrimage reminds us that we walk here in the Holy Land in the footsteps of Jesus and that it is a mirror image of our walking for the reward of everlasting life, whose beginning, in a very immediate sense, took place here in Bethlehem, when the Savior of the world was born.

“… this is a good occasion to think about the immense love of almighty God for us. Everything planned for a reason. Everything an invitation, so that we might be able to understand the prophets of the Old Testament. So that we might be able to listen anew to the message of the New Testament. So that our faith might be strengthened. Our pilgrimage was born as an activity of the Year of Faith, which ended on Sunday. An invitation to renew that faith. To be strengthened in the that faith. To reach again the fundamentals of that faith, which, as Pope Francis tells us repeatedly, is an expression of God’s mercy. His desire to draw us in. His desire to awaken in us the understanding of his passion, death and resurrection, so that we, too, look forward and hope for that celebration. As we enter in, then, to the mystery of the Eucharist, we are reminded of the simplicity of a child—of a baby. And we are reminded that this child was born to assure that salvation of the human race. And so we are humbled by such an expression of love. And we are brought also to that sense of renewal, of recommitment to our faith. And we ask the Lord to strengthen us in our faith.”

More than a dozen priests and U.S. Military chaplains concelebrated the Mass with Archbishop Broglio: AMS Auxiliary BishopNeal Buckon; Father Stephen Panzer; Father James Danner; Father Edward Grice; Father James O’Neal; Father Patrick Wedeking; Father Alwyn Albano; Father Leo Moras; Father John Schuetze; Father Stephen McDermott; Father William Hahn; Father Dan Fullerton; Father Anthony Rowland; and Father William Ferguson.

An edited video of the Mass can be viewed here.