In this season marked by family gatherings, it is appropriate that we celebrate today the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. When God the Son, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, became incarnate in human flesh, he became a member of a human family and of the human family. God entrusted to the care of Mary and Joseph his divine Son, just as he entrusts to the care of their parents all children born into this world. Since all of us are children of God, parents should receive and nurture their children with the same reverence and love with which Mary and Joseph cared for Jesus. Likewise, children should obey and love their parents as Jesus was obedient to Mary and Joseph.
Monday, on New Year’s Day, we celebrate the second of the three solemnities of the Christmas season: the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Without Mary’s cooperation, God’s plan for our salvation could not have come to completion. On this day we express our debt of gratitude to Mary, whose response to God was: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” Because it falls on a Monday, it is not a holy day of obligation this year. Nevertheless, it is a day worth celebrating and beginning the new year with Mass. There will be Mass Monday morning at St. Charles at 8:30 AM and at St. Peter at 9:00 AM.
For 51 years January 1 has been observed by Catholics, at least, as the World Day of Peace. For his message for the 51st annual World Day of Peace, Pope Francis has chosen the theme, “Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace.” He says: “In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.” The Holy Father speaks of four actions essential for offering such people an opportunity to find the peace they seek: welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating. Since this is a global problem, the Holy Father says:
It is my heartfelt hope this spirit will guide the process that in the course of 2018 will lead the United Nations to draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees. As shared agreements at a global level, these compacts will provide a framework for policy proposals and practical measures. For this reason, they need to be inspired by compassion, foresight and courage, so as to take advantage of every opportunity to advance the peace-building process. Only in this way can the realism required of international politics avoid surrendering to cynicism and to the globalization of indifference.
The Holy Father signed this message on November 13, 2017, the 100th anniversary of the death of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, who came to the United States to serve the immigrants and became the first U. S. citizen to be canonized. He concluded his message with these words:
On this thirteenth day of November, many ecclesial communities celebrate her memory. This remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of migrants and became their patron saint, taught us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our brothers and sisters. Through her intercession, may the Lord enable all of us to experience that “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:18)
To read The Holy Father’s message in its entirety, go to <w2.vatican.va>; click on the English logo; then click on “Messages”; then “World Day of Peace.”
A special book for the sesquicentennial of our diocese is now available for $33.00 per copy. It is a marvelous book that contains a history of the diocese and of all our bishops, and photographs and brief histories of all our parishes. The book is full of many inserts that also make it special. It is a coffee-table type book that will also make a great gift. You will be very impressed once you see it.
Father Miller and I wish to thank all who remembered us with prayers, cards, gifts, homemade treats and wines this Christmas. It is always heartwarming to know how much our ministry means to you. I want to express gratitude also to all who donated and delivered cookies to our homebound parishioners before Christmas. I can assure you, from those I visited, that they were very much appreciated.
Enjoy these holy holidays as you gather with family and friends. Pray for the safety of all who are traveling during these days and remember those who are far from home, especially those serving overseas.
May God bless us all throughout the coming year.