Pastor’s Letter: January 1, 2023
30 Dec 2022 | Posted by: chadmin
The January 1 bulletin is available online.
Happy New Year! As Catholics, we have the privilege of celebrating the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, on January 1, to finish the Christmas Octave. The Christmas Octave gives us the opportunity to celebrate Christmas for eight straight days. Sometimes our culture can conflict with our celebration of our Catholic Christian faith. Christmas is one such time. The culture starts celebrating Christmas at Thanksgiving and often stops at Christmas Day. The Church invites us into the quiet prayer of Advent in order to prepare us not only for Christmas Day, but also for the whole Christmas Season. We celebrate Christmas until the Monday after the Baptism of the Lord. The Church celebrates the first eight days, the Octave, as each day being Christmas. At one point in our history, the church celebrated Christmas until the baptism of Jesus on February 2. Although there have been varying traditions, the point being the celebration of Christmas begins with the Vigil Mass on December 24 and ends after a lengthy celebration. The length of the Christmas Season helps us reflect on the great miracle of the Incarnation and the importance of Emmanuel, God-with-us.
The Solemnity of Mary during this Christmas Season allows us to maintain our focus on Mary’s “yes” and her participation in the Divine Plan. I often find it interesting that Mary can be a topic of contention between Christians. Non-Catholics often claim there is an over-emphasis on Mary’s role, within the Church. Most of the claims are misguided beliefs that Catholics believe Mary has divine attributes. We don’t claim Mary is divine. Mary is human and created just like the rest of us. The Church teaching is that God created her free from Original Sin in order to bring forth the Christ-child free from the Fall in the Garden of Eden. We celebrate this truth on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. This being true, Mary still was free in her “yes” to the Incarnation. Our veneration for Mary revolves around her faithfulness. When we fail in our spiritual efforts, Mary remains ever faithful. Mary is a model and example to all of us. We pray through her intercession as she presents our prayers before the Lord and we resolve to model her love, holiness, and humility. Thank you for all the Christmas blessings during the last several weeks. I am overwhelmed by the cards, notes, and generosity. I am deeply thankful for your support. As we begin 2023, after celebrating the Church New Year in Advent, may the new calendar year bring many blessings to our parish and families as we resolve to live our Catholic faith with greater joy and thanksgiving. Have a Blessed year!
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