Today we celebrate 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.
Friday, 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 of the bishop’s dispensation related to the pandemic, you are not strictly obliged to attend Mass for this holy day. Nevertheless, it is a day worth celebrating and beginning the new year with Mass. There will be Mass at St. Charles Thursday evening at 5:30 and Friday morning at 10:30, and at St. Peter on Thursday evening at 7:00 and Friday morning at 9:00.
For 54 years January 1 has been observed by Catholics, at least, as the World Day of Peace. For his message for the 54th annual World Day of Peace, Pope Francis has chosen the theme, “A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace.” Having come through a year plagued worldwide by the Covid-19 health crisis, the Holy Father chose this theme because the events that marked humanity’s path this past year “have taught us how important it is to care for one another and for creation in our efforts to build a more fraternal society.” Stating that a culture of care calls for a “process of education,” he says: “Educating people to care begins in the family, the natural and fundamental nucleus of society, in which we learn how to live and relate to others in a spirit of mutual respect.” The family is to be empowered to carry out this “indispensable task” by schools and universities, religions and religious leaders, and public service and international organizations, both governmental and non-governmental. The Holy Father concludes that there can be no peace without a culture of care. To read the Holy Father’s entire message, go to <w2.vatican.va>, click on the English logo, then click on “Messages,” then “World Day of Peace.”
Father Hokamp 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. Unfortunately we as a parish were not permitted to take cookies to homebound parishioners this year, but maybe you were able to drop something off for a neighbor who is homebound. Let us pray for all who have been isolated in their homes or care centers during this very difficult year.
Enjoy these holy holidays to whatever extent you are gathering with family and friends. Pray for the safety of all who are traveling during these days. Remember those who are prevented from seeing others because of the pandemic, and others who are far from home, especially those serving overseas.
May God bless us all throughout the coming year.