Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Nativity/Birth of Our Lord is a feast day so powerful to experience and equally important to ponder that merely one day’s celebration is not sufficient. Instead, we celebrate what is called the Octave of Christmas. “Octave” means “eight” and refers to the eight full days from Christmas Day through January 1, the feast of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. Masses for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God are: Vigil, Dec 31 at 5:30pm (English) & 7:00pm (Spanish); and Jan 1 at 11:00am (English). These celebrations allow us to thank God for the past year (or maybe to thank Him that the year is passed!) and ask for His blessings for 2021, along with the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary.
This weekend we celebrate Holy Family Sunday. Yearly, we are blessed to ponder the example of the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the shining model for all Christian families. If you are called to the vocation of Christian family life, then use this celebration to ask the Holy Family to bless and guide you in your vocation. Are you a husband and a father? Then, strive to be the best one ever. Why settle for less? Are you a wife and mother? Then, endeavor to be the best one who ever lived. Again, why settle for less? Are you a child? (Including teens on this one!) Be a light to your family, helping to show them the way as did the Child Jesus, who eventually became the “Teen Jesus.” We cannot settle for being anything less than a saint, because only saints go to heaven. Praise God for His mercy, grace, and forgiveness to help us when we fall to start again and again on the path to the holiness of life. Be a light wherever God has placed you.READ MORE
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Well, Christmas is just about here. You’ve no doubt seen our “elves” already at work, just beginning the transformation of our St. Mary’s church and campus into a place of Christmas splendor. After the 4th Sunday of Advent has ended, they will finish with a joyful flourish!
I realize that it is an understatement to say that it’s been quite a year. No one could have dreamed of the way things went. In the midst of all of the uncertainty, fear, sorrow, loss, and pain, we still have a secret to the joy that cannot be taken away. It’s an open secret available to anyone who will open their hearts even just a little to the incredible event that we celebrate. The long-awaited fulfillment of God’s promise to truly save us. Not merely giving us what we want on our Christmas lists or taking away aches and pains, but to be saved. Your Savior has come.READ MORE
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We continue to pray for a swift and safe end to all the problems caused by the pandemic. In the meantime, please remember who we are: we are always and everywhere – whether online in comments and social media or out and about in the community – disciples of Jesus Christ. Therefore, let each action and word be not your own, but His. If someone has a conversation with you or me about any topic, will they come away from the conversation knowing we are a faithful disciple?
There are, as you likely know, a few vaccines preparing to roll out. Some people have wrongly suggested that certain vaccines coming available were made with tissue taken from aborted fetuses. Here is the “official word” on the morality of the current vaccines:
“To clear any confusion or concerns regarding COVID vaccines and future production, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has released the following memo from Greg Schleppenbach, associate director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities:
“Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine involved the use of cell lines that originated in fetal tissue taken from the body of an aborted baby at any level of design, development, or production.READ MORE
See the St. Mary HOC confirmations here.