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December 31, 2017


This week we’ll celebrate the beginning of the new year.  It’s a good chance to reflect on the past year, giving thanks for the blessings that occurred and learning from the mistakes.  It’s also a good chance to look ahead to the upcoming year, asking God for the strength to live it well.  New Year’s Day is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.  Although not a holy day of obligation this year (because it falls on a Monday), it’s still a beautiful feast to get the new year off to a good start.


As a reflection on this feast, I thought I’d share part of Bishop Rhoades’ New Year’s Day message from 2017.


Today’s Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, is the oldest feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Church’s calendar. We honor her who played such a great role in the mystery of the Incarnation, in the accomplishment of God’s plan of salvation. Her “yes” to God’s invitation to be the mother of His Incarnate Son teaches us to say “yes” to God’s will and to be open to His grace.  Thanks to Mary’s “yes,” Our Savior was born. As Saint Paul wrote to the Galatians: “God sent His Son, born of a woman, … so that we might receive adoption as sons. As proof that you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God.” 


We cannot foresee what this New Year … will bring, but we can live each day knowing that God is our loving Father, that His Son has saved us, and that He has given us His Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts. We can live each day also knowing that Mary, the Mother of God, is also our mother, the Mother of the Church, who intercedes for us with her Son.


As we begin this New Year, I invoke upon you and all your families and loved ones the ancient priestly blessing: “The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”


Happy New Year!