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Pope Francis called a Spanish priest in the city of Pamplona on November 7, to congratulate him on a text he had written about Christmas during the time of the pandemic. In the text, the Spanish priest emphasizes that December 25 this year will be simpler and quieter than Christmas in previous years, and as a consequence can better honor the birth of Jesus.
When he heard the voice of Pope Francis, “my heart almost burst out of my chest,” Fr. Javier Leoz told the Spanish newspaper Navarra.com shortly afterward.
The pastor of the parish of San Lorenzo in Pamplona had just been on the phone with Pope Francis. “It was really very surprising. At 4:30 p.m. I was at the rectory of San Lorenzo when my cell phone rang,” explained the priest, who thought it was a business call or one of the many parishoners.
At the other end of the line was Pope Francis, who was calling to tell him that he had read his text written a few days earlier about Christmas during the coronavirus pandemic.
The text, titled “Will there be Christmas?” and presented as a poem, reaffirms the true meaning of the holiday. Certainly, the end of this year is likely to be less hectic than we’re used to, the priest points out. But that’s just the point; it’s an opportunity to finally experience the silence and peace of Bethlehem.
According to the priest, Pope Francis appreciated the message of the poem and told him that Christmas would be “more purified” because of the health crisis. “He told me how the Christian spirit of those days has been progressively stolen from us,” he said.
The news outlet Navarra.com published the original text written by Fr. Leoz. Here is an English translation.
Will there be Christmas?
More silent and with more depth.
More like unto the first one, when Jesus was born in solitude.
Without many lights on earth
but with the star of Bethlehem
shining on paths of life in its immensity.
Without colossal royal processions
but with the humility of feeling as if we are
shepherds, young and old, seeking the Truth.
Without big tables and with bitter absences
but with the presence of a God who will fill everything.
Will there be Christmas?
Without streets overflowing with people
with our hearts burning
for the One who is about to arrive.
Without noise or festivals,
complaints or stampedes …
but living the Mystery without fear
of the “COVID-Herod” that tries to
rob us even of the dream of waiting.
There will be Christmas because GOD is on our side
and He shares, as Christ did in a manger,
our poverty, trials, tears, anguish and orphanhood.
There will be Christmas because we need
a divine light in the midst of such darkness.
COVID-19 will never be able to reach the heart or soul
of those who put their hope and their high ideal in heaven.
THERE WILL BE CHRISTMAS!
WE WILL SING CHRISTMAS CAROLS!
GOD WILL BE BORN AND WILL BRING US FREEDOM!
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