My Dearest Brothers and Sisters,

    For Christians, the New Year is celebrated on January 1, one week after the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Before the liturgical renewal of the Second Vatican Council [1962-1965] the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus or the Naming of Jesus was celebrated on this date to commemorate the Gospel account of Jesus’ circumcision according to the ritual prescriptions of the Mosaic law, thus becoming officially a member of the people of the covenant.

    Following the liturgical renewal of the Second Vatican Council, January 1 is now known as the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

    With all the excitement and celebration attached to New Year's Eve we are left with little energy, desire or willingness to consider New Year's Day as a great religious feast in which to celebrate.

    However, if you are like me, you love the Blessed Mother.  You want to take advantage of every opportunity to celebrate her, the obedience of her “yes” to God’s will and the powerful intercessor she is for all Christians.  By her response, she broke out of the cultural and religious boundaries of her time, manifesting great courage and faith. She literally brought heaven down to earth. 

    Today we celebrate Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of God who is a model for every believer. Let us begin this New Year seeking her great intercession as she points the way to Jesus.  Let us find hope in following her example of obedience and love.  Let our faith increase as we mirror our life to reflect so great a Savior.

A Joyous and Blessed New Year to you all!

God’s peace and my love and prayers,

Father Michael