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Bishop Daniel Felton: Poem from Father Fruth speaks to our hearts when we grieve at Christmas

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

Bishop Daniel Felton
Bishop Daniel Felton
Believe in the Good News

As we approach this great Feast of Christmas, the divine mystery that is unfolding is so deep and wide that it will carry us through Christmas Day, then the Christmas Octave, then the 12 Days of Christmas, and then Christmastide, which ends with the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. It will take us this long to even begin to fathom what this mystery is for us every day of our lives. Jesus was born, lived, died, and is resurrected. It is this mystery that we are seeking to embrace, embody, and express as disciples of the Christmas Christ.

It is this mystery unfolding in Jesus Christ that sustains us when we are feeling the grief of missing loved ones who are no longer with us on earth for our Christmas celebrations. We pray and believe that if they have died in the Lord, they will rise in the Lord. Therefore, we believe that they are with us in this Christmastime as the Communion of Saints, as together we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ here on earth as it is in heaven. 

One of our retired priests, Father Paul Fruth, is an acclaimed poet. Poetry often captures that which we grapple to express in everyday words. As we reflect on the beautiful mystery that unfolds in this Christmas season and as we remember loved ones who are no longer with us, let this poem of Father Fruth speak to our hearts and to the divine mystery. 

Grandma’s Gift 
by Father Paul Fruth 

While in grade school I spent Time with Grandma 
She had a very warm heart, 
And she shared her little dog with me. 

One year, near Christmas, Grandma became ill. 
In time her earthly life was to change. 

As Christmas was coming, Grandma asked my 
Parents to bring me to see her. 
She was suffering from a stroke 
She had very little use of her hands and voice. 

When we visited, she gave to me a Christmas card, 
Inside the card was a dollar bill. 
She asked me to buy something for Christmas. 
She wanted the gift to remind me always of her. 

After Grandma’s death, Mother and I went 
Shopping in the next town. 
We walked through many stores and I saw an 
Iron dog like Grandmother’s. 

I paid 75 cents for the iron dog 
I have always kept it by my bed. 
Often, I reach out to touch it with my hand. 

This dog was my Grandmother’s last gift to me, 
It reminds me she still lives within my heart. 

Merry Christmas Grandma. 

May the blessings of the Christmas Christ be upon you and your loved ones here on earth and in heaven! 

Merry Christmas, 
Bishop Daniel 

Bishop Daniel Felton is the tenth bishop of Duluth.