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These lines are taken from a poem entitled “Nativity,” written by St. Robert Southwell, S.J., one of the English Jesuit martyrs, during his time in prison as he awaited execution. St. Robert reminds us that we celebrate God’s gift of Himself at Christmas. He understood that God is with us to accompany us through good times and bad, through both faith and uncertainty. Christ the King humbled Himself to become a part of the world—fully divine and fully human—and he walks beside us today, His Spirit ever-present to provide wisdom and strength.

As we come toward the close of another complex year, hope returns. Tidings of comfort and joy come to us from a gracious God who willingly put on our flesh and walked alongside us.

Because we are called to imitate Christ, a key mission of the Jesuits is to accompany those who have no one in this world to walk beside them. I am deeply grateful for all you have done to assist in our efforts here and abroad, for your continued support of our future priests and brothers as they prepare for a life of service to God and His Church, and for the much-needed care of our elderly and infirm Jesuits.
There is new hope throughout Jesuits USA East as we look to reaffirm our mission and position ourselves to the everchanging needs of those we serve. This Christmas, let us praise God for hope—in a Savior born to the world many years ago and from a God who continues to accompany us on our journey.

I pray that the everlasting peace of the Child of Bethlehem be the source of your hope this season and in the New Year.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Joseph M. O’Keefe, S.J.