December 31, 2023
Today, we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This is a moveable feast that most often falls on the Sunday between Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God on January 1. It is a relatively new feast on our calendar. Following World War I, the chaos of daily life in Europe made its impact felt on the family structure. The feast of the Holy Family was created in 1921 to offer Christians an image of hope and holiness in family life, and to promote the welfare of children. In 1969, the feast was fixed to the Sunday between Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. It is a great way for us to continue our celebration of the wonderful feast of Christmas.
“When God comes, he always calls us out of our house. We are visited so that we can visit others; we are encountered so as to encounter others; we receive love in order to give love.”Pope Francis
Our parish celebration of Christmas was certainly a grand one! Thank you to Emma Flores and our Liturgy Planning team, who planned and guided our efforts. Zaira Defino and our Art and Environment Committee members did a splendid job in transforming the church from Advent to Christmas in just a few hours on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Christmas Eve). Thank you to them for all of their work during these two seasons. Thank you to our Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Greeters, Ushers and Altar Servers for your dedicated service at our Christmas liturgies. A number of them attended one Mass with their families and then returned to a later Mass to serve in their particular ministry. Thank you to Pat Mooney and our choir members, cantors and musicians. The Christmas Eve carols were very powerful. Many of them also did double duty so that all of our Christmas Masses would have talented leaders of music. Thank you to Dan Tobin and our parish facilities crew, who kept the parking lot and sidewalks safe and clear. And thank you to you, our faithful parishioners, for your hospitality in welcoming the additional visitors and dealing with our limited parking resources at Christmas. We had two Christmas Eve vigil Masses at 3:00 pm to begin our celebrations. I am grateful for your planning ahead and working with our limitations. We have entered the celebration of the season of Christmas very well.
On Monday, January 1, we will celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Normally this feast is a Holy Day of Obligation. In our country, though, the obligation is lifted whenever this feast falls on a Monday or a Saturday. Masses for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God, will be celebrated on Monday, January 1 at 8:30 am, 10:00 am and 11:30 am (in Spanish). Please note that our Parish Offices will be closed for the New Year’s holiday on Monday, New Year’s Day. We will reopen at 9:00 am on Tuesday, January 2. Our parish Grade School will resume classes on Monday, January 8.
Thank you to all who sent Christmas greetings and gifts to us at the Rectory. We deeply appreciate your good wishes and your generosity. We are blessed in being able to serve you at our parish.
It is hard to believe that another year will soon pass into history. Whatever the past year may have held for each of us, through it all, God continued to dwell among us, continued to bless us and continued to love us. As the calendar turns over tonight to the year 2024, let’s begin another new year in God’s faithful history of salvation. Know that I pray that God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
– Father Jim Murphy