More than 34 years ago, Monsignor John P. McNulty started Daystar Life Center in the basement of St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in downtown St. Petersburg. His compassion for the poor and his belief that we are called to serve compelled him to take action in a bad economy with high unemployment rates and more and more people unable to meet their basic needs.
Monsignor McNulty was also an eloquent, astute and inspiring writer. Here is a Christmas message he wrote:
A Blessed Christmas to you and your loved ones.
This should be a very grace filled time as you prepare to greet the Child in His cold, bleak stable. With His shivering, anxious Mother and frantic Joseph furiously readying to escape to Egypt to save the Life of Him who was Life.
Mary and Joseph saved Him. But 33 years later the people He came to save crucified the Christmas Child. Forty years later old Apostle John wept as he wrote: “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.”
The Christmas Child challenges: “If you love Me then love My Least ones the way I loved you. Whatever you do or do not do to one of them so you do or do not do to me.” Thereby hangs Heaven or hell. Salvation or damnation. We cannot ever escape the tremendous eternal implications of Love: Christmas and the Cross made the Christmas Child our Brother. We are our brother’s keeper. Prisoners of Love. Or escapees.
As the ghost of Dickens business man Marley shrieked despairingly: “Mankind was my business.”
This Christmas the Child starves in African deserts. He sleeps in your woods and under your interstate bridges. He is the malnourished infant sucking Kool-aid instead of milk from his bottle. He is the old helpless lady you read about. Dying helpless and alone. He is the evicted mother and her children. In your city. Now. This Christmas.
You love Him. Then go to Him in His Daystar. His Centurions. But go to where He suffers.
Or leave the Child and His mother hungry. Let them sleep under the Interstate.
This is our Christmas and forever choice.
May the Child of Christmas feel your embrace.