Christmas 2020

Circular Letter of the Prior General

     

Christmas is coming this year, too  

 

To all the Members of the Hospitaller Family of StJohn of God

 

My dear Brothers, Co-workers, Volunteers andfriends,

 

Christmas is coming this year, too!  Itwill probably be less elaborate and unadorned, but the God-Child will be bornand will come to fill us with peace and love. Neither the pandemic we aresuffering from, nor any other scourge afflicting our world can deprive us ofChristmas. As the Angel proclaimed on that Christmas Eve, Do not be afraid; fora Saviour has been born for you (Cf.Lk 2: 10-11).

 

With this good news I send you my very best wishes that, this year, theGod-Child will enter our lives, our homes, our communities and every part ofworld, filling us all with light and hope, especially where suffering andmarginalisation are hurting most.

 

Christmas is coming this year, too! It is true that we are living through this year under the burden of thecoronavirus pandemic that has changed so many things and  the way we live our lives, and has brought great  sadness and loneliness, with such a highdeath toll. It has also brought economic, social, ethical and spiritualconsequences. And it is still not over, and while we hope that it soon be overcome,we continue to suffer from the uncertainty that the pandemic is causing worldwide.

 

This pandemic, as other situations that we may easily forget, hasdemonstrated above all the vulnerability of the human being. We havetechnological and all kinds of progress, with the result that, especially incertain parts of the world, people imagined that we were virtually immune, and veryclose to becoming “superhuman” in the minds of some philosophers andtechnocrats. But it has only taken a single virus to put the world incheck, together with our most advanced health care systems, our economies,and all the forecasts we were relying on. Let us hope that this will teach us humilityto build a more humane and fraternal world, with greater humility andcompassion, and be less overbearing.

 

This is one of the messages that Christmas is sending us, as we prepareto celebrate it with special attention this year. For we shall becelebrating Christmas this year, too, beset by so many difficulties, butOur Lord’s birth will help to shed light on the situation in which we areliving and suffering. We have to learn a lesson for the future, so thatsomething new, creative and above all more just and more fraternal, can comeinto being for our world, along the lines of the Encyclical Fratelli Tutti,recently published by Pope Francis. Christmas is coming this year, too! Itwill surely be more simpler and less boisterous, but also more deeply felt, andmore consistent with the first Christmas, when Jesus was born alone and poor.

 

During this pandemic, we are learning to reach out to hope, tofind the personal, social and religious resources that are enabling us to seethat it is possible to move beyond this complicated situation, provided that wedo so in solidarity and with faith. We have no idea when it will end, but our hopein the vaccines and new treatments are enabling us to glimpse the end of this"nightmare" coming ever closer. We also trust that this experiencewill help to improve our health and social care systems and create a morefraternal economy, concerned to ensure the rights of everyone, especially themost needy... and so many other dreams that we hope to see come true, forourselves, our families and our Order

 

For we are full of hope: Christmas is coming this year, too! albeit more austere and unadorned. Thelight and hope that the God-Child brings to the world, to the sick, those whoare suffering and victims of aggression, marginalisation or natural disasters, willfill this year's Christmas with its full significance and meaning. With thehope based on the simplicity and humility of the Babe born in Bethlehem, and onthe humility of all men and women of goodwill.

 

Humility, hope, fraternity and hospitality. These are key to gettingthrough the pandemic and they are also key to enabling us to experience Christmasprofoundly and joyfully. Christmas is coming this year, too!  Let us welcome it as Mary, the Mother ofJesus, welcomed it when she welcomed her Son in hope and faith, firmly believingin  Him and becoming His first Disciple.

 

I wish to thank you to all the members of our Hospitaller Family of St.John of God throughout the world, who have been spending this year serving thesick and the needy, especially because of the coronavirus, with such greatcommitment and sacrifice. Many Brothers and Co-workers have also been infectedby the virus, and some have also died from it.  We offer our sincere thanks to all of you, andfor those who have returned to the Lord we offer our prayers and pay tribute tothem.           

 

And to everyone, Brothers, Co-workers, Volunteers, Benefactors andfriends of the Order, our sick guests and those being cared for in our Centres,and your families, I wish you a very  happyChristmas and a prosperous New Year 2021, which we hope we see the end of thecoronavirus.  And speaking on behalf ofthe whole Order, I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to theBrothers and Co-workers  who will be atthe service of the guests in all our Centres over these coming days, especiallyon Christmas Day. 

 

Together with all the members of the Hospitaller Family of St. John ofGod at the General Curia, Brothers and Collaborators, I wish you all a Happy Christmasfull of peace and joy!

 

 

Brother Jesús Etayo

Superior General



 

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