Well, hello there, and Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a blessed Advent to all of you.

I really have the opportunity right now to simply say thank you for your generosity to the young people that are entrusted to our care at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.

As you see, I just came through the old oak door.

The door that’s been here for 130 years, welcoming children who have experienced neglect and abuse in their lives. And they come through that door, and they find hope and healing in their lives.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with our Communications Director, and he told me a beautiful story about this old oak door.

He told me the story about his own father, who grew up in a rather poor family on the south side of the city.

And at the end of the Christmas season, his mother grabbed Fred and said, “Fred, let’s go all through all the toys, all the toys that you won’t be using, and let’s give them to the kids at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.”

And so Fred was happy to do it, and he gathered his toys and he put it in a big sack like Santa would.

At 15 years old, he got on the “L” and he came almost 20 miles to Mercy Home. And he rang the doorbell, knocked on the door here at Mercy Home.

And the sisters came and they opened the door, and there was Fred with a bundle of toys on his back. He said, “Please give these to the children at Mercy Home.”

A gift that he had received, given as gift.

That’s the beauty of this season.

That’s the beauty of you who continue to be generous to our young people.

You know, we just closed the Holy Door at St. Peter’s in Rome.

It was the end of the Year of Mercy, a beautiful year for the Church.

But the truth of the matter is, the Year and the Years of Mercy continue because of folks like yourselves.

Your generosity and your mercy provides a safe home, a great education, therapeutic support.

Teaching our kids a work ethic, so that they, too, can experience life to the fullest.

Isn’t that what the Christmas season is all about?

God so loved the world, He sent His only son to us to teach us to how life can best be lived.

And we find that, especially during the Christmas season, when we are able to show the generosity of spirit, that has been given to us as gift, to share with others.

Folks, thank you so much for all that you do for young people. I want to wish you and your loved ones, as I said, a very blessed Advent, Happy Holidays, a very Merry Christmas.

And please help me to keep the old oak door open to future generations of young people who will be entrusted to our care.

God bless you.

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