Dear Fellow Parishioners,

On December 27, I saw my first Christmas tree stripped and hauled to the curb. For those observing the full liturgical season, Christmas begins on Christmas Eve and ends on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which falls on January 9 this coming year. We can continue to bask in the grace of the season and do so more-or-less in peace.

I would like to thank those who participated in our Advent and Christmas liturgies, now with a special thanks for those who donated flowers in memory of a loved one. Our Flower Committee was able to fill our church with poinsettias and pillar garlands, and another group from the Hispanic Committee set up the nativity display. You all had a much better view of it all than the priests and deacon did, since we face the other direction most of the time.

Beginning with All Souls’ Day on November 2nd, there has been a strong note of remembering, and praying for, our beloved departed. While these are often very private sentiments for each of us, we remember and pray together, assuring ourselves and each other that our loved ones are never forgotten.

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1) is observed under Mary’s ancient title, “Theotokos”, i.e., “God-Bearer.” The historical roots of this feast go back at least at least to 431, to the First Council of Ephesus. In short, one of the thorny issues raised regarded the various statements in Scripture about the divinity of Christ, and the humanity of Christ– as well as the divinity of God and the humanity of God. Were they all interchangeable? For example, could one say that God suffered on the cross or that Jesus created the world? And can we say that Mary is the Mother of God– and not just the Mother of Jesus?  The answer is, in a word, yes.

This feast also falls on New Year’s Day. So, it is natural that we take stock of the year now ended and look toward the new year before us.

Only God can use the year now ending– the good and the bad– and the year now before us and work them for our eternal salvation. A good year is not one in which everything goes our way. We tend to define success as little more than natural happiness and making it on our own. A good year for a Christian, however, is one in which both joys and sorrows have helped him or her love God and neighbor a little more.

Blessings,

Fr. Bill Donahue

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