Parish Sessions Aim at Christmas Depression

Priest Senses «Nostalgia for Happiness»

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BARCELONA, Spain, DEC. 20, 2005 ( A priest is offering a pair of sessions to help people suffering from the Christmas doldrums.

Yuletide depression comes from «the nostalgia for the happiness of the humble,» according to Father Xavier Morlans of St. Raymond of Penyafort Parish. He plans his therapeutic sessions Dec. 22 and 29.

In his sessions the priest uses a combination of monologues, images and songs.

Christmas anxiety is rising among people, Father Morlans contends, and many are seeking «a possible happiness associated with humility.»

«The symptoms of the so-called Christmas doldrums are: an excessive consumerism, memories of deceased family members, and the stress of preparing holiday meals, etc.,» he said.

«But there is a deep-seated kind [of symptom] in the West, due to the ‘sediment’ that remains in the DNA of a European of the secularized world after so many years of Christianity,» the priest observed.

In the sessions, the priest will analyze the symptoms and invite those present to rediscover and relish various aspects of Christmas.

Childhood memories

For example, he will suggest that they try to relive the moment when, as children, they unwrapped the figures for the manger scene, and kneeled before the Christ Child. He will encourage the people to pray along the lines of: «Jesus … help me to know you this Christmas.»

Father Morlans will also analyze the depression that people suffer throughout the year, «in a society centered in comfort and which has turned its back on God.»

At the end of the sessions, the priest will offer the attendees the chance to enroll in biweekly encounters to «relearn» a personal encounter with God. The encounters will form part of a journey of Christian initiation for adults called «Believe Again.»

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