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Archbishop Leo's Message for Hanukkah

Posted : Dec-11-2023

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My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

As Catholic Christians, we are in the midst of our Advent celebrations, the solemn and sacred preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour, on Christmas Day. Our Jewish brothers and sisters are likewise currently celebrating Hanukkah, the festival of lights, where a candle is lit on the menorah for eight days, concluding on December 15, 2023 with special meals being prepared and prayers and blessings recited.

This time of reflection, prayer and hope for the Jewish community, around the world and in Toronto, also comes this year in a time of great unrest and uncertainty, with war unfolding in the Middle East, in the Holy Land, following the unthinkable terror attacks of October 7, 2023.

It is a most appropriate time of year for us to focus on bringing more light where there is great darkness. When we think of the birth of the Infant Jesus in a manger, with shepherds and wise men following the star to worship Him, are we not called to rekindle our prayers for peace, hope and love among all peoples of the world? Let us ask ourselves, how may we truly and concretely bring the light of hope to others, through our simple acts of charity and outreach?

In our communities, sadly, we are seeing more and more acts and words of hatred and vitriol. May our faith serve as a balm for those who are ridiculed, mocked and cast aside. There is no place for religious intolerance and persecution in our world, and we must make every effort to counter hatred with love, mindful of the call of Jesus to “love your neighbour as you love yourself.”

I wish to extend warm wishes and fervent prayers to the entire Jewish community as they celebrate the very special festival of Hanukkah. May we continue to find opportunities to collaborate and work together, and in a particular way, to bring about peace and justice in a world and society that is in dire need of it at this time.

Sincerely Yours in Jesus with Mary,

Most Rev. Francis Leo
Archbishop of Toronto