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Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

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Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

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Watch today's daily live stream Mass at 12pm (noon) and on demand after its conclusion.

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Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
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Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church

News of the Diocese

December 6, 2021

Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church
Journey to Bethlehem returns to St. Augustine Church

About 80 people gathered on Dec. 4 in St. Augustine Church in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood for the 36th annual Journey to Bethlehem.

Organized by Disability Services sand Ministries, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland, the popular event draws those with disabilities and their caregivers from across the diocese. Except for a break last year because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Journey to Bethlehem traditionally takes place on the first Saturday in Advent.

Auxiliary Bishop emeritus Roger Gries was the celebrant once again this year. Concelebrants were Father Bill O’Donnell, St. Augustine pastor; Father Joe McNulty, retired St. Augustine pastor; Father Ben Jimenez, SJ, parochial vicar at St. Augustine; and Father Andy Turner, vice rector of Borromeo Seminary. Deacon Chris DePenti assisted.

The St. John Vianney Choir, directed by Bill Rebol, provided music. Dennis McNulty, retired director of Disability Services, assisted the music ministers. Several seminarians from Saint Mary Seminary and members of the Alhambra also attended and offered assistance.

“This is one of my favorite events,” Bishop Gries said.

He showed the congregation a crisp $100 bill and asked who wanted it. Several hands shot up. Then, he crumpled the bill and asked if anyone still wanted it. A few hands went up.

“At baptism, we’re crumpled, like that $100 bill,” the bishop said. “But baptism cleans us up.”

He said our greatest challenge in life is to be the best we can be with the gives we were given. “We live for that moment when God welcomes us home,” he added.

God doesn’t care if we’re rich or famous. “He doesn’t care if we’re Baker Mayfield and he doesn’t care about all of our ‘stuff.’ He only cares about who we are. And he loves us so much that he gave us his Son. He loves you for who you are,” Bishop Gries said.

He told those gathered that God sees us like that fresh, crisp $100 bill.

“God is good,” he said, as the group answered, “All the time.” And all the time, he said, “God is good,” the congregation responded.

Bishop Gries gave the $100 bill to Marilyn Scott, director of Disability Services and Ministries, as a donation to help pay for the box lunches distributed after Mass.

One of the highlights of the Mass is the offertory procession, during which members of the congregation carry items used to build the Nativity scene in the front of the church. “It’s a symbolic way to show our journey to Bethlehem,” Scott said. They also bring forward the wine, water and bread.

Bishop Gries accepted each item, then handed it to the deacon or one of the priests. Scott took Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, sheep, angels and other pieces of the Nativity scene and arranged them in the stable. The baby Jesus was the last piece added.

After Mass, Bishop Gries greeted the congregation and posed for photos before the group headed to the church hall for boxed lunches provided by Catholic Charities’ Emergency Assistance Services.

There was one more surprise: Santa Claus made a brief appearance to greet the group.

Scott said they decided not to have the Journey to Bethlehem last year out of an abundance of caution. Although members of the disability community were happy the event returned this year, she said attendance was lower than usual.

“Thank you for the joy and love you share all year long and thank you for your dedication to persons with disabilities,” Scott said.

Disability Services and Ministries offers persons with disabilities throughout the diocese opportunities and resources to live their lives to their fullest potential, making it possible to experience a fuller participation in Church and society. For more information, click here.

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