Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas is here already?!

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Special Christmas Post by Msgr. John Enzler, President and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington

Wasn't it just yesterday that we were sitting down for Thanksgiving? Time flies when you’re having fun.

As we prepare for Christmas, to head to Mass or spend time with our family and loved ones, I am taking a moment to stop, and look back on an incredible month. It flew by in a blur of gifts, meals, and laughter.

With 65 programs, there’s no shortage of Christmas celebrations around here. Our Kennedy School and Child Development Center, which both work with young people who have a developmental delay, each enjoyed celebrations and visits with Santa. They also held a wonderful Christmas pageant, featuring kids of each grade contributing, singing, dancing and laughing. Seeing the smiles of those kids will melt your heart.

The celebration of Christmas at our Refugee Center has a different feel to it. This is a program working with people who have fled their home for political, personal or even religious persecution. For many of them, this was their first time experiencing Christmas in America. Our Refugee Center staff created a warm environment over delicious food and I know it felt like home for many of the refugees as they laughed, sang some carols and more.

Several of our families were lucky enough to receive gifts directly from players on the Washington Redskins, Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals. These teams and their players set a great example in our community, as well as create unforgettable memories by visiting some of our families in their homes or hosting them for a special day where the teams practice.

Our staff were all able to get together for some much needed rest and relaxation over delicious food at our annual Christmas party, which always feels like a BIG family reunion.

Our Angel Tree Program reached more than 700 children with donated toys and clothing thanks to hundreds of generous donors who bought and delivered toys. On Monday and Tuesday, our McCarrick Family Center distributed gifts to more than 500 families living in the nearby neighborhood. So awesome to see happy parents who have been relieved of the stress of providing Christmas gifts to their little ones.

And finally, we ended our celebration on Monday with a wonderful and delicious dinner for our homeless neighbors here at our home offices at 924 G St. With beautiful table settings and warm plates of turkey, green beans, gravy and mashed potatoes plus dessert, more than 200 people came for a holiday meal.

Whew!

It feels like the perfect way to finish an incredible year, and I thank each of you for your part in making our community a better place for every family. Now, I pray each of you find peace and joy in this wonderful holiday, as we finish up the hustle and bustle and turn our eyes to the star over Bethlehem.

Merry Christmas!

~Fr. John