Dear Friends and Parishioners,
Christmas traditions are celebrated all over the world. Last week in Church I noticed a number of
visitors who were from near and far preparing for the birth of our Savior. Unlike Scrooge, I have
been blessed by Christmas experiences, Past, Present and (hopefully) Future. Due to the
kindness of our Idaho Bishops and more importantly the wonderful Idaho Catholic families
in our Diocese I have been able to participate in many different Christmas customs and Masses
around the world.
Perhaps the most wonderful Mass I attended was with St. Pope John Paul II on Christmas day
in 1991. Friends and I got tickets to sit on the roof of the Sistine Chapel with a wonderful view
of Pope John Paul II celebrating Christmas Mass in St. Peter’s Square—with over 300
Once, in the Peace Corps, my mom and dad came down to Paraguay. We went to Church
with several families and then a swim at the waterfalls in Ybicui National Park. While in the
seminary a friend and I went to visit friends in Jalapa, Mexico. When the local Bishop found out
we were deacons he asked us to serve on the altar.
One Christmas a friend and I went the Benedictine Monastery of “Engelberg” in
Switzerland, founded in 1120. I promise, we did pray with the monks, but then went skiing! They
were so happy they could host a seminarian who was from “Mt. Angel” in America. On my
Sabbatical to the Catholic University of Eastern Africa I saw Santa riding a donkey on the beach
But I suppose the best Christmas Masses I have been to are the ones here in Idaho at St. Mark’s
in Boise, St. John’s Student Center in Pocatello, St. John’s Cathedral in Boise, the Idaho Falls
Catholic Community, Our Lady of the Snows in Sun Valley and St. Charles in Hailey. And for the
last nine years St. Mary’s in Moscow. Thanks for making these days so very special!