December 8, 2019 – 2nd Sunday of Advent

I.  Holy Day of Opportunity:  Because December 8th falls on a Sunday, the Church has transferred the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary to Monday, December 9th, with Masses at the Cathedral at 7:00am and noon. In any celebration of the Eucharist, our focus is always on Christ, through whom and by whose Spirit we give praise to the Father. As we are the People of God, this is “our duty and our salvation” (Eucharistic prayer II). It is also Mary’s. Although she “far surpasses all creatures, both in heaven and on earth” (Lumen Gentium, #53), she is still “one with all those who are to be saved,” (#53). 

       As the model disciple, Mary shows us the way to live a life completely devoted to Christ. How would you like to emulate Mary more fully in this coming year? Saint Paul writes to the Ephesians, “We were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One.” What specific purpose do you think God has for your life? How are you living out this purpose?

II.  Keeping Safe & Secure UPDATE:  I would like to give another update on the progress of this project, beginning in late 2017, with the pledge period extending to the end of 2020. Thank you for your generous financial support!

       While work on the porch was completed several months ago, and we have been using the front entrance for some time, only recently was the Safety portion of the project pursued:  on Tuesday, November 12, when we had ice and snow, the heating elements in the porch and steps were effective. I would like to thank the Capital Campaign Committee, chaired by Mike Sullivan, for their foresight.

         I would also like to thank the Long Range Planning Campus Security Committee for their wisdom as we have worked to make our buildings and grounds safe for our parishioners, staff, and many visitors. We have improved the lighting around our buildings and parking lot. The reception area in the office building has been upgraded to improve security. The entry doors to our buildings are having new locking systems installed in order to provide better access control.

        You may have noticed the addition of surveillance cameras in our buildings and around the grounds. These will enable us to better monitor the activities in these areas and serve to make our campus safer. Perhaps you have felt as I have, that some of these safety enhancements are intrusive to our worship space and make our church less welcoming. I have struggled with the proper balance between hospitality and safety, and have come to the conclusion, with the consultation of law enforcement professionals, that we have a responsibility to take prudent steps to ensure the safety of our parishioners, visitors, volunteers and staff. A note of gratitude to the law enforcement/first responder professionals of our parish for their valued input and wisdom.

III. Patroness of the Americas! The story of the origins of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is well-known. Saint Juan Diego, whose feast we normally celebrate on December 9th, was a quiet, humble man; a poor peasant living in Mexico. When Mary appeared to him and asked him to tell the local bishop to build a church in her honor, Juan Diego became a very reluctant messenger. The bishop would not believe him. So Mary filled Juan Diego’s tilma (cloak) with roses in December! When he emptied out these beautiful flowers at the bishop’s feet, a wonderful image of the Virgin Mary, dressed like a young noble Aztec woman, was imprinted on his tilma. You are invited to celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the 7:00am Mass and 12:05 noon Mass on Thursday, December 12, as the Church throughout the Americas—North, Central, and South—honors Mary under this title.