Bishop Koenig celebrated several Christmas Day and Christmas Eve Masses in southern Delaware and Maryland.
He officiated Christmas morning at St. Edmond Church in Rehoboth Beach and at St. Ann in Bethany Beach. He officiated at both St. Luke and Holy Savior Churches on Christmas Eve in Ocean City, Md.
Parishioners braved chilly temperatures to attend Mass and hear Bishop Koenig speak about the words of St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of the Diocese of Wilmington. Four centuries ago, de Sales noted that the Bible tells us the shepherds heard the heavenly choir announce the birth of Christ but does not mention whether Mary and Joseph also heard the sound.
He said that raises the question of whether it is better to hear the joyful sound or to come into the darkened manger to see the newborn baby shivering in the cold.
He said we should go to the manger and be closer to God. We do so when we hear the needs of the cold and hungry or when we help the people of Ukraine or when we listen to the wisdom of the church, instead of simply “going with the flow,” he said.
He urged people to open their hearts and draw closer. “It is far better even in the darkness that we stay close to Jesus,” he quoted de Sales as saying.
In the darkened manger, we will “encounter God with Mary and Joseph as he trembles in the cold,” he said.