Advent Message to the Clergy of The Anglocatholic Church from His Eminence Patriarch Coadjutor Dr. Raphael Marie Villiere

Dear Members of the Clergy of the Anglocatholic Church,

On Sunday, November 26, 2023, we reach the conclusion of the liturgical year with the feast of Christ the King. On December 3, we officially enter the season of Advent, a period of penance, waiting, and hope. It is also a time when we see the streets of cities illuminated, symbolizing the hope of the approaching Nativity—the announcement of the Messiah’s coming to save us.

As we reflect on the past year, we sadly observe that year after year, the people of God are increasingly moving away from their Creator who loves them so much. “For God so loved the world that he sent his Son to save us from our sins and give us eternal life through faith in him” (John 3:16).

We also recall the parable of Jesus, Matthew 13:24-30, about the good seed and the weeds. God, always allowing humanity the freedom to make its own choices, has allowed the enemy to spread weeds among the good seed. What is this weed that chokes the good seed today? It can easily be found in human indifference, selfishness, lack of charity, fear of others, hatred, terrorist acts, and more. Furthermore, the ease and personal interest without wanting to make an effort have become fashionable. This destructive weed even leads to the desertion of the duties of a Christian to worship God.

Last October, when I took a few days off, providence led me to Saint Laurent sur Sèvres, in France, where the basilica of Saint Louis Mary Grignon of Monfort is located. He wrote the treatise on true devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. After talking to someone from the presbytery, I learned that currently, only a third of the people attend Mass on Sundays, whereas a few years ago, this edifice was filled… And the same observation is made everywhere… The weed also affects the institutional Church. Indeed, the lack of vocations is increasingly felt. This is the consequence of this de-Christianization where baptism is almost no longer performed, leading to ignorance of God’s existence and salvation for humanity. The good seed, meaning the word of truth, the divine law, nowadays struggles to take root in hearts.

However, even though these current times may seem so dark, we, the true servants, must not be discouraged or dismayed. We have chosen and must assume the mission we have accepted. Like the tireless evangelizers, the apostles, we must maintain this total trust in God who knows and controls everything, even if it doesn’t seem that way; He will always have the final say.

Therefore, during this upcoming Advent season where we will hear again the texts of Isaiah about the coming of the Messiah, we must pray a lot for ourselves, for our respective functions, at our different levels, to remain at peace in our hearts by accepting these events, staying in full communion with each other, and remaining steadfast in the faith of our Fathers while advancing according to the rhythm and will of God. Let us not forget Jesus’ words: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:38). For us, it must be the same: to live in this world but not as from this world.

May the thrice-holy God bless you all.

Amen.

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