December 1, 2019
The First Sunday in Advent
We come today to the First Sunday of the Church’s New Year of Grace, the First Sunday in Advent. As we know, the Church Year does not follow the calendar year but rather it begins, not on January 1st but on the First Sunday in Advent. Thus, today we begin to place our feet along the way of holiness once more.
The season of Advent is grace filled for it is the time of preparation for the coming of Our Divine Savior on Christmas Day. It is said that in true darkness, one can never judge the light in the distance. Sailors have discovered this phenomenon at sea as have travelers in the desert. They may see light in the distance but cannot judge how far away it is…is it five miles or five hundred? For the ancient Jews it was much the same as they awaited the coming of the Messiah.
They had been told on that most tragic day, the day of the ruin of our race, that one day a Savior would come who would crush the head of the ancient enemy of our race, the accursed serpent, the devil. But how long would it be…5 years, 50 years, or 500 years? No one was certain. And thus the ancient people of Israel awaited the coming of the Messiah and watched and waited.
Finally, the long wait ended on that first Christmas night when God became a man. In the world of nature we see the nights growing darker and longer right until the time of Christmas. Then suddenly the sun returns and the light shines ever greater on each day. So we are reminded that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the light of the world, a light no darkness will ever extinguish.
Let us use these days then to prepare for the coming of the light and to live in intimate union with Our Lady and St. Joseph as they too await the light.
It is my fond hope that many of you have already received the St. Andrew Novena Card. Please make every effort to say this prayer 15 times each day between St. Andrew’s Day (November 30th) and Christmas Day.
POT/LUCK SUPPER AND TREE LIGHTING: Please make every effort to attend our Tree Lighting and Pot/Luck supper on the evening of December 6th, the Feast of St. Nicholas. We are grateful to the Knights and Squires for providing this fun-filled and grace-filled evening.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY: Because in this year of 2019 December 8th falls on a Sunday of Advent, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is transferred (moved) to Monday December 9th. Although the Feast can be moved, the obligation to attend Mass cannot be moved. (It is an old principle of Canon Law that good things are amplified, while restrictive things are curtailed). There is no obligation to attend Mass on December 9th but, nonetheless, Holy Mass will be in the Chapel at 8.00AM on Monday, December 9th. Please consider coming to Mass that day to honor the Immaculate One. Vergine Immacolata, aiutateci! (Immaculate Virgin, Help Us!)
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE: Thursday, December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Empress of the Americas. It is under that title, the River of Light, that Our Lady is the Protectress of all the peoples of the Americas, both North America and South America. Our Lady appeared to a humble Aztec, St. Juan Diego, on the Tepeyac Hill outside Mexico City four times between December 9, 1531 and December 12, 1531 – 488 years ago. There she said I have come to make known, to manifest, and to demonstrate my love, for all the peoples of these lands (North and South America). She asked that a Church be built on the Hill and finally she left us the miraculous image that is the most visited object on earth in the Basilica in Mexico City. In these days the images of Our Lady and St. Juan Diego are on display in our Church. Both beautiful images are from Mexico and I brought them to New York myself on one of my thirteen pilgrimages to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. What a grace that these images now hang in our own Church, in the Guadalupe Chapel. There we may go to confide to our Lady all the desires of our hearts.
FIRST FRIDAY AND FIRST SATURDAY: Friday of this week is the First Friday of the month. There will be adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament beginning at noon and concluding at 8PM. Saturday of this week is the First Saturday of the month. Mass will be celebrated at 9AM followed by the blessing of the sick and the Rosary in honor of Our Lady of Fatima.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda