From the Pastor’s desk— December 11, 2022

Tomorrow faithful Catholics around the world, especially in the Americas and Mexico will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe commemorating 491 years since the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Juan Diego in 1431.   The apparition actually took place in New Spain, what is now called Mexico that not only covered what is now Mexico but also much of the Southwest of the United States.  For this reason, Mary’s appearance and message was to us as well. 

Her message is simple, “Am I not your mother?”  This is the theme we have reflected on for the past 9 days, Mary as the mother of prayer, the Church, the afflicted, pregnant mothers, immigrants, missionaries, the new evangelization, youth, and the Americas.  To celebrate her as mother, is to remind ourselves we are al her children and thus brothers and sisters to one another.  Her motherhood tells us not just who she is but who we are as well, one family regardless of race or language. 

Never have I felt this sense of family more than when I was in Indonesia.  One morning I was chosen to go on the market run with one of our volunteers.  On our way to the open-air market, I was sitting in the back of a pickup truck with a local man who spoke no English and I still did not speak Indonesian, but what we both spoke were Spanish songs of praise (alabanzas).  In those few moments of singing songs to our Blessed Mother in Spanish on the other side of the world in a small remote town, in the back of a pick-up truck, I felt I was part of the same family.

The mistake we often make in faith is that we think it is enough to “know” we are family when we are called to “live” as family.   Our current season of Advent, if it is anything, is a time to remember just as God united with humanity through Jesus, we are also united despite language differences, through Mary. 

The challenge of Advent is to find more ways to live as one family as we prepare for the coming of the Christ-child into our family.  It may be learning to sing a song in the other’s language or sharing a meal as we will do in our Mañanitas and feast of Guadalupe or at our parish Christmas party.  It might be offering to teach English or learn Spanish.  It can be making the effort to sit with someone not from your culture at the Sunday social after the 930am mass. 

It is not enough to acknowledge Mary as our mother on the feast of Guadalupe, it is time to draw close to her, her Son, and one another.   While it is a miracle that St Juan Diego’s tilma still exists, it is more miraculous that God continues to break down the walls that separate us and make us one family.

Fr. Ray Smith, CMF
Parochial administrator

With a heart for Mission,
Fr. Ray