A few days ago I discovered that our first child was born on the Feast of the Holy Family. He was born 41 years ago, long before we knew such a celebration existed. This year I am especially excited about today's celebration of the Holy Family because our Bishop is introducing an Apostolic Letter to the families of our diocese.
The priest who received us into the Church told his parishioners each year, "it's the HOLY family, not the PERFECT family." This truth has stuck with me because there is no such thing as a perfect family and it makes us crazy if we try to create the illusion that we have achieved perfection.READ MORE
Fearful things can sometimes happen in family life. The local evening news often has stories about the struggles a family may be facing. Maybe it's a fire that drove a family from its home. Or it may be an illness that strikes a child and severely affects the entire family. Or the news story may be about an accident that incapacitates the wage-earner in the household. These kinds of problems seem even more tragic at this time of year, when families gather together and often feel a certain security and warmth in being united.READ MORE
Next Tuesday is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; it is a holy day of obligation. What is sad is that it is probably the least attended holy day of the year. Oh, I know, Monday night is New Year's Eve and there is a lot of partying, but Mary is our blessed Mother. She is also our patroness under her title of our Lady of Perpetual Help. How can we ignore her?
We will celebrate a vigil mass Monday evening at 5:30pm in English; what better way to welcome the New Year than with Mass. We will also have an English Mass at 10:00am on Tuesday and a Spanish Mass at 12:30pm. You can sleep in on Tuesday morning and still come to Mass!READ MORE
First of all, I wish a very Merry Christmas to all of you. This is such a wonderful time of year, full of family and friends. For some of us who have lost loved ones, it is also a difficult time. Please remember to pray for those who are missing loved ones or who are especially lonely at this time. God became one with us to remind us that we are all one family together.READ MORE
Here we are, mere days from Christmas, and we hear a Gospel anticipating the birth of another child. Mary has received word that her cousin Elizabeth is with child. Pregnant as she is, Mary "set out and traveled to the hill country in haste." She has recently received the greatest news of her life - that she is to be mother to the Messiah by the power of the Holy Spirit - but her concern is for her cousin in need. Through God's grace, Elizabeth turns it into an opportunity to honor the coming Christ. "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Yet Mary's example of selflessness should inspire us.READ MORE
We are now oh so close to Christmas and the excitement is growing. If you have small children in your family, they show you the loving expectation with which we are meant to await our Christmas celebration.
The eager expectation with which children await gifts is the same "I can hardly wait" longing that should be growing in our hearts as we look forward to Christ's second coming. Do we hope for the salvation of the whole world, believing Jesus will come again? Or do we think our desires will never be satisfied? Elizabeth met Mary's visit with great faith and humility. Are we ready now, after four weeks of Advent, to welcome Jesus and Mary afresh into our lives with joy this Christmas? Elizabeth gives us the words we need: "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!"READ MORE
We have just celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of all the Americas and patroness of our diocese. This is such an important celebration for many reasons. It might be important for all of us to reflect on the message our Blessed Mother brought to all of the Americas.
Advent season is a time to prepare ourselves to welcome the Lord when He comes again. Our Blessed Mother came to prepare the Americas to embrace our Lord through the Catholic Church in this new land. If we truly honor Our Lady of Guadalupe we must work with her and call our brothers and sisters back to Christ and away from hatred and division.READ MORE
In Christianity, we hear often about the "Good News." We might often associate it with Jesus' compassion to the poor, his healings and miracles, and the salvation he won for us. In today's Gospel, we read of John the Baptist. "Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people." Yet as we examine the rest of the reading, we see examples of John's preaching. If you have two cloaks, give one away. Don't cheat others out of their money, extort, or lie. And, of course, the warning that the Messiah is on the move and "his winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." Merry Christmas?READ MORE
As Christmas approaches, let's take a moment to reflect on the life of joy that is promised to us. It's not just for heaven. We are meant to live this joy here and now! "Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!" How is it possible at all times and everywhere to be full of joy? Paul lays out the steps for living in joy:
Isaiah uses poetry to describe preparations for the coming of Christ. He helps us to imagine making straight paths, filling in valleys and leveling mountains. The imagery comes from actual road work done in ancient times to prepare for the arrival of a king traveling to visit a neighboring city. He needed straight, level roads. He would not be able to go to the city if the roads were in poor condition.
Isaiah paints a picture of how we are to prepare our hearts for the coming of God. The "valleys" of failing to love as Christ teaches and the "mountains" of unforgiveness and other sins need to be made level by repentance. He wants to come to the city of our hearts. "Winding roads" that take him on detours must be "made straight." "Rough ways" full of obstacles need to be "made smooth."READ MORE
I am sure some of you have seen men on the church roof, which means we are finally getting our roof fixed. This is because of your generosity to our diocesan campaign, Together Let Us Go Forth-Juntos Sigamos Adelante. We have already received our first check for our 35% of what you have given to the campaign. Thank you to all who have contributed.
I receive a report every month and I noticed some people who have pledged to the campaign have not yet begun to send their pledges to the diocese. If you are having a problem, please call the diocese or our office for help.READ MORE
Now we begin the Holy Season of Advent; a time of preparation to celebrate the great gift of the Incarnation: God becoming one with us to show us the way to Him. Advent is a very busy time for all of us, not just because of preparing for Christmas, but also because of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
This year there will be some changes in our Guadalupe celebrations. First, we cannot have a procession the last night of the novena. The city has been raising the price for a police escort every year; last year we asked for some relief and we were ignored. This year the cost is beyond what we can pay. Instead, our Grupo Guadalupano has scheduled some talks after the rosaries to help us grow in our understanding of the miracle of Tepeyac. Also, this year, I have asked Fr. Fernando Camou to celebrate the mass on the evening of the 12th of December.READ MORE
On this first Sunday of Advent when we begin preparations for celebrating Christmas - the first time Christ came to earth, the Church reminds us that we're also awaiting his soon return.
As a small child I worried about being "left behind" if Jesus came back to earth again. How could I be sure I was ready to be caught up with him in the sky? This question haunted me until years later I was initiated into the Catholic Church. When I heard the words of absolution in Confession, I knew I was in right relationship with Christ and would not be left behind. What a gift!READ MORE