Cardinal O'Malley: Christmas is about spiritual joy

Posted: 12/25/13 at 6:00 pm EST      Last Updated: 12/25/13 at 11:13 pm EST

BOSTON (WHDH) -- One day after serving meals to the needy at the Pine Street Inn Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley held a special prayer service for guests of New England’s largest shelter.

Christmas Day is a busy day for Cardinal Sean O'Malley.

He spent an early part of the holiday at St. Francis House in Chinatown.

"I was very touched by the reception, the joy and the faith of the people. It makes my Christmas to be able to be with them,” O’Malley said.

There he led a special Christmas morning prayer service with those who are less fortunate.

"In many ways Christmas is the story of a homeless family that turns out to be the most important family in history,” he said.

He says he knows his presence at a shelter for the homeless on Christmas Day draws a lot of attention and says there's a method to his timing.

"Part of the reason for the visit of the mayor or the bishop

is consciousness raising so people realize that homelessness exists

in our community."

"As the homelessness and poverty increases more people need to be aware of it so we can work together to find solutions,” O’Malley said.

His day continued at Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End where he led a mass reminding parishioners of the true meaning of the holiday.

“Unfortunately I think Christmas, we become so caught up in the material aspects of it which are supposed to be reminders of the spiritual joy and the self giving of Christmas,” the cardinal said.

No matter the venue, be it a homeless shelter or a towering cathedral, the message was the same: enjoy the holiday but remember what it's all about.

"If we go to the core of the message, that our God loves us and he's made a gift of himself to us so that we can make a gift of ourselves to him and to others,” O’Malley said.

Have a story idea or news tip for 7NEWS?

Email:, or call us at 1-800-280-TIPS.