Christmas Celebration


Venerable Jean Gailhac


The celebratory space is prepared with candles, the Bible, images of Mary, Joseph, the Child Jesus in the manger, representations of yesterday’s and today’s shepherds and wise men, cultural Christmas symbols, and flowers. At the beginning of the ritual, play instrumental music to create a climate of prayer, meditation, and interiorization.

Each group participating in this Christmas celebration should feel free to adapt it to their own reality, and choose the songs to be sung during the celebration.

1st Moment: WELCOME

Leader: On the 13th of November, we started the Jean Gailhac Year. In this month of December, contemplating the nativity scene, these inspiring words from Gailhac call out to us:


The experience of Christmas should motivate us to think about the true meaning of this manifestation of love, of a God who comes to us, poor and humble.

Let us prepare our hearts to welcome the beauty of the mystery of Christmas and let ourselves be transformed by the Love and Humility of the Holy Child.

We begin: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  • Hymn about LIGHT – chosen by the group
  • Light the Candles:

(While the song is sung, one person lights the candles in the celebratory space).

Leader: In silence, let us contemplate the LIGHT, cultivating a heart open to new ways of seeing and seeking the meaning of being here, in this moment, welcoming the gift of Jean Gailhac as we celebrate Christmas 2022 in union with the entire RSHM Institute.

  • Silence…
  • Opening Prayer

Reader: God of grace and love, we celebrate once again the astonishing reality of Christmas – from You, taking on our human flesh. We ask you to fill us with admiration of Mary, the loving presence of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the faith and zeal of Jean Gailhac, and the peace of a tender and Humble Baby. On this day, may we, like Mary, remember all these things, meditating on them in our hearts, so that Jesus may be born in the hearts of others.

All: Amen.


  • 1st READING: Luke 2: 1. 4-20

1Now it happened that at this time Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be made of the whole inhabited world. 4So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee for Judaea, to David’s town called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, 5in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

6Now it happened that, while they were there, the time came for her to have her child, 7and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the living-space.

8In the countryside close by there were shepherds out in the fields keeping guard over their sheep during the watches of the night. 9An angel of the Lord stood over them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, 10but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Look, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ encontrareis um menino envolto em panos e deitado numa manjedoura.»

13And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words:

14‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favors.’

15Now it happened that when the angels had gone from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this event which the Lord has made known to us.’

16So they hurried away and found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the manger. 17When they saw the child, they repeated what they had been told about him, 18and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds said to them. 19As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.

Leader: Like the shepherds, what do I have to be grateful for? What to celebrate?

How do I perceive this movement of gratitude in myself?


  • Gloria Hymn –chosen by the group

Leader: Let’s read a letter about Christmas from Gailhac, written in 1873, which has a message that is ahead of its time, yet adapted for our time. Let the message resound in our hearts; let it inspire us.

Reader 1: I hope that the Child Jesus will be born in your hearts; that you embrace his love and unite so closely with each other that all are one heart in Jesus and live his life.

The Child of earth and heaven has been given to us. In the stable, next to a poor manager, the shepherds and kings representing all humanity are together.

E This Child-God saves us through the life he has given to us.

Reader 2: In the crib, Jesus is a model. His poverty shows us his detachment from the things he gave up to put us on the path to the Kingdom of God. His humiliations teach us to downplay momentary praise and glory…

All that is old must pass away. Everything must be renewed. Jesus, the great restorer, comes to renew all things on earth and in heaven. Let us leave the darkness. Let’s go into the light. The shadows and the lies disappear. With the coming of Jesus, everything is light and truth.

Once again, may everything be new in us: our heart, our voice, our actions; may everything in us take the form of Jesus Christ. Yes, let us be Jesus Christ; that’s why He came. All Creation, represented by Jews and Gentiles, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, all hear the voice from heaven announcing to them this great wonder.

Reader 3: An angel made his voice heard to the shepherds, and while they were filled with fear because they were enveloped by a bright light coming from the sky, he said to them: “Do not fear, I bring you great news, great joy. Today is born the Savior.”

A star announced Jesus to the Magi from the East. Its position, its brilliance, its nearness to the earth, its mysterious ensemble reminded those wise men of the prophecy that predicted the birth of the Messiah who would be called King of the Jews.

The shepherds and the wise men are a great example for us. All are faithful to the grace they received in advance. The shepherds left their flocks to go looking for the Child Savior who was announced to them. The wise men left their palaces to follow the path that the star indicated to them.

The shepherds, poor, offered Jesus their humble gifts. Prostrated at the feet of the Holy Child, their eyes beheld him. They adored and admired the humble Word, the Holy Child. They take him from Maria’s hands, press him against their hearts, kiss his feet. They want to put him in their hearts, or rather, place themselves in the heart of the Word.

Reader 4: According to human thought, it seemed that the three kings must have been the first worshipers of the Holy Child. But God’s thoughts are different from ours. God loves everyone, but gives preference to the poor, the little ones, the humble, those with simple hearts. The great, the mighty, the rich, those who are favored by the world, are the last. They only come after the poor, and even then it is necessary that they become small and poor to be worthy of walking in their footsteps.

Remember the Magi. Look at them. Prostrate at the feet of the frail and newborn Jesus, they recognize him as their true King, as their God and their Savior. It’s because they are rich, that they are happy to honor Jesus, to tell him that they prefer him to everything, and honor him by placing at his feet their treasures of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, expressions of their faith, their love, and their adoration. An expression also of their determination that, from that moment on, they would live only from Jesus, in Jesus, and for Jesus.

Reader 5: Encouraged by the examples of the shepherds and the wise men, we go to Bethlehem; we go to the crib of Jesus. Let us fix our abode in this poor stable. Let us remain in spirit and heart very close to Jesus. Let us contemplate his love for us. Jesus becomes man so that we may become God. How sweet! How could we not love?

Let us ask Jesus to give us the simplicity and the humility of shepherds, the fidelity and the generosity of the Magi.

I bless you with all my heart.

Your Father, Gailhac.

3th Moment: Brief sharing about the words we have listened to…

  • Hymn of Thanksgiving – chosen by the group

4th Moment: GESTURES OF GRATITUDE – Offering of the Gifts …

Leader: Gratitude is the leafy tree which produces fruit in abundance. Genuine gratitude leads me to action, to respond affectively and effectively for what has been given to me, to reciprocate, especially with those in more vulnerable situations. Gratitude for the mystery of Christmas leads me to give back to the Child Jesus, who freely comes to me, bringing the little ones of this world to Jesus in solidarity.

– What can I offer to the Baby Jesus, present in the poorest people of this world? What concrete action am I committed to assume in solidarity with the most needy of this world?

(Silent reflection… If the group wants, a symbolic gesture may be offered).

  • Hymn of Offering – chosen by the group

5th Moment: Intercessory Prayer

Reader: – Gailhac reminds us that the universe is beautiful and humanity is become like God. In our world of diminishing resources, we ask our God to make us good stewards, tenderly caring for our earth and working to shape a global community where no one is left behind.

For this we pray:

All: Loving God, hear our prayer.

Gailhac reflected that Mary carried in her womb the long-for Messiah. Like Mary, may we rejoice that hungry people are filled with good things and that poor people are lifted up. May our actions reveal the tenderness of God for all who live on the margins.

For this we pray:

All: Loving God, hear our prayer.

– Gailhac encourages us to follow the shepherds. May we continue to place ourselves and our resources with those most in need of justice, responding to the cry of the most vulnerable among us, especially women and children.

For this we pray:

All: Loving God, hear our prayer.

Our Father …

6th Moment: Prayer and Final Blessing

“Jesus, Baby Jesus, Jesus burning with love,

make us humble little ones like you.

Strip us of ourselves; clothe us with You.

Make us one and the same with You.

Make this likeness perfect every day

so that, having lived in You, from You, for You,

we will earn the happiness of living in You in our real home, heaven.”

Venerable Jean Gailhac

GS/s.d./73 (Christmas)

Leader.: The Lord be with you.

All: And with your spirit.

Leader: O God of tenderness, enlighten us with the Light of Your Son, a baby in the manger. Grant us the grace to remain in this same light every day of our lives so that we can help Jesus be born in all hearts.

All: Amen!

Leader : May God full of love bless us,

the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen!

  • CHRISTMAS Hymn – chosen by the group

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