The day that I felt like I had really joined the Missionary Oblates was Christmas in 2008. It was my first Christmas away from my family, and the first Christmas celebrated with my Oblate family.

As a child, Christmas was always a big deal for me. I come from a family where there was always lots to do. But Christmas 2008 was totally different. I was in the middle of my novitiate year, a time in formation to be secluded from family and discern if one is called to religious life. Novices do not go home for Christmas, so I spent the holiday with my six brother novices. We had a simple celebration focused on the true meaning of the season - the birth of Our Savior.

This year, five young men will be celebrating their first Christmas away from home at the Oblate Novitiate. One of them will be Henry Zayamoe, whose previous Christmases have been celebrated in vastly different ways.

Henry was born in Burma (currently Myanmar) in 1993. As a child he celebrated Christmas on his family farm. His family was persecuted for their Catholic faith and when Henry was 13 they fled to a refugee camp in Thailand. For the next six years, Henry and his family would celebrate Christmas with other refugees in a makeshift chapel.

In 2013 the Zayamoe family was allowed to immigrate to the United States, settling in Buffalo, New York. Henry had never seen snow before, and that year Buffalo received 130 inches. Henry celebrated his first Christmas in the United States at Our Lady of Hope Parish, run by the Oblates. A few years later he was part of the Oblates' pre-novitiate community in Buffalo and is currently spending a year at the Oblate Novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois.

Henry once told me that he wants to become the "priest of refugees." He also said he wants to be a person that fills the gap among the poor when others are not available. This may be Henry's goal, but it is also a fulfillment of the Christmas message. Christmas is a time when we celebrate refugees - the Holy Family and the birth of a Savior who will fill the gaps in our lives in many ways.

I am sure that Henry will have a grace-filled Christmas this year with his Oblate family.

Christmas Prayers

Share the gift of prayer with family, friends and the people in our Oblate missions this Christmas season. Please know that the Oblates are honored to remember you at Mass and in our prayers every day.

Submit a Prayer Request

Devotional Gifts

Prayers at Christmastime Rosary and Pouch    The Original Gifts of Christmas Set     Lighted Cardinal Remembrance Ornament   Elegant Winter Cross Necklace   Christmas Tree Pin   Sparkle Angel Bracelet

Christmas Cards

Cards with Mass

A Child is Born Card     Peace on Earth Card      Nativity Card    Silent Night Card    

 Holy Night Card    Christmas Blessings Card     A Child is Born Card

Cards without a Mass

Christmas Blessings Card      

Christmas Votive Candles

Votive Candles   Votive Candles

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