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Dec 24, 2008

Merry Christmas
A warm Christmas wish from Florida—warm in weather and warm in prayers from the heart! We are really close to Christmas. It is strange to me to have so much warm weather in the last weeks. It is unusual to have at this special time of the year! We do not have any complaints at all, though, especially when we see how up north in the States the weather has been so brutally cold!
The guys are preparing for a prayerful Christmas. They made good sacrifices and had special times of prayer to prepare their hearts to be ready for Christmas. We were fortunate to have priests coming frequently for Mass, so every one had the great gift of Confession, which is always a very good gift for every single one of us! In Community Christmas is always very simple. We do not have too many gifts. This year we have much less then previous years, and it is good because more and more we want to detach from all the material things that did not bring us any happiness. They just were part of the lie that the things of the world could bring us peace and happiness. The more we got into the things of the world, the more our hearts were empty.
There is a nice tradition in Community to give a nice gift to each other by giving up the shirt or pants that you like the most. You give it as a present to another brother of the Community. It has always been very nice. There is also a great family friend of the Community who every year invites the guys to go to their house on Christmas Eve. This family gives to each one of them a nice gift.
We also butchered a couple of pigs from the farm so we will have some nice roast to bake for Christmas. A couple of guys entered, Jahaan and Will, and so far they are doing fine. Both of them are at OLOH.
Pretty much we are not doing orientation in these days. We will restart after New Year! At Mary Immaculate the guys are doing a lot of construction and are clearing some of the woods. It is a good time to do work outside because the weather is great, and there are not bugs this time of year in Florida. That is already a great gift. Also at Mary Immaculate we have one more priest coming for Mass. He comes now on Sunday. What a great gift! For Christmas the two houses will get together and will try to do something special!
At S.M.G life is thriving, and the girls are preparing all the Christmas gift for friends of the Community here in this area. They make beautiful things. They are making each other gifts, too, really making something special from scratch. It is pretty impressive. The new girls, Ashley and Gabriella, are doing pretty well, especially when you think that it has been less than a month for them. It is just nice to see this new reality in Florida that is finding its own identity. Providence gave a very nice minivan for the girls. It is a very reliable vehicle for them.
So far, all the guys in Europe seem to be doing fine. I will have a chance to see most of them, hopefully, in January when I go to Italy for Mother Elvira’s birthday.
We hope and pray that you will have a wonderful Christmas. Our prayers for lots of joy are with all of you, your family, and friends.
Merry Christmas
Buon Natale

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