PROVIDENCE — Bishop Thomas J. Tobin offered a message of renewed hope as he celebrated the 10 a.m. Mass on Christmas morning at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul.
He began by offering a warm and sincere welcome to all, including those in attendance at the Mass, as well as those watching at home on WPRI-TV, which, along with the Diocese of Providence YouTube page, also broadcast the cathedral’s video feed for viewing by those unable to attend.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, there was no Midnight Mass at the cathedral this year, and admittance to the Christmas Day Mass was by ticket only.
“Thank you for braving the storm and thank you for being with us,” Bishop Tobin told the participants, referring to a powerful wind and rain storm impacting the region on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
“To all, may you have a very joyful Christmas filled with God’s finest blessings and his abundant grace and peace. We pray that the Lord Jesus, whose birth we celebrate today, will bless you with abundant peace, joy and a renewal of hope.”
The bishop spoke in his homily about the many wondrous events heralding the birth of Jesus 2,000 years ago, such as great choirs of angels singing in the heavens, shepherds returning to their fields filled with joy and the visit to the stable by the Magi.
“In this season we strive to think about all these wondrous events, and reflect upon the significance of the birth of this child, Jesus,” Bishop Tobin said.
“The message of this day in indeed very timely. It is a message of renewed hope.”
Making a connection to the challenges of the present day, the bishop quoted a verse —“A thrill of hope and a weary world rejoices,” — from the Christmas hymn “O Holy Night.”
“This year, especially, dear brothers and sisters, we know what a weary world looks like,” Bishop Tobin said.
“We have wrestled with so many problems in our world, our nation, in our own Church, perhaps even in our own lives as well. It can be very frustrating, it can be very discouraging for us, can’t it? We live in a tired, old weary world. Today, we return to Bethlehem and there we find Jesus and we are inspired and we are refreshed.”
The bishop spoke of the decision by many people last spring, as the pandemic took hold across the world, to put up Christmas decorations and listen to Christmas music months ahead of when they normally would early because it gave them a sense of hope and peace.
“In every season the message is inspiring, the message of Christmas is good news,” he said. “The birth of Jesus Christ is an assurance of God’s presence and God’s love in our lives.