Diocese of Fresno
1550 North Fresno Street
Fresno, California 93703-3788
Telephone (559) 488-7400
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
As Advent begins, our minds and hearts are drawn towards Bethlehem. Let us imagine ourselves on a four-week journey approaching Bethlehem step-by-step reflecting along the way on what and Who awaits us there.
Of, course we know the outcome of this journey. We have travelled this path many times throughout our lives, always waiting the moment of Our Savior’s birth, We have memories of the traditions of our families and cultures — always ending in the celebrations marking Christmas. Each year, Advent has unfolded amidst new concerns, new challenges, new unknowns both in our personal lives as well as in our nation and world.
Perhaps this year, our anxieties and our concerns seem more intense. Our world is in turmoil on so many fronts. Each day we hear of new wars, insurrections, earthquakes, fioods — our hearts heavy wth feelings of confusion and questions about the future. And we, here in the United States have just completed a bruising presidential campaign that highlighted alarming and dangerous divisions among us as Americans, especiaily in the way we speak to one another and treat one another.
I believe Advent/Christmas offers us as Catholics and as members of our national family a unique and special chalienge to put away the negative rhetoric, to calm our voices, and to quiet our partisanship, in order to hear and to listen to the eternal invitation of Our Savior to be instruments of HOPE for our world. No matterwhat síde of the political aisle we championed, it is now (and always has been) our cali as a Catholic Community to be witnesses to and instruments of HOPE in the name of Jesus.
I call on all our people to pray for unity, civility, and respect as we move forward to continue building on our solemn pledge to be a nation that honestly proclaims “Liberty and Justice for All.“
I wish you and your loved ones a hope filled Advent and a Blessed Christmas.
Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, DO.
Bishop, Diocese of Fresno