Immaculate Mary, Your Praises We Sing

12-08-2019Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This Sunday, December 8, normally would be the celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, since the 8th falls on a Sunday of Advent, which has precedence, the celebration of the solemnity is transferred to tomorrow, December 9. Although the obligation to attend Mass is therefore lifted this year, the Immaculate Conception still remains an incredibly important feast for us all.

The faithful have believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary since the early Christians. After all, it’s only common sense that in order for Jesus – God the Son – to become human without sin (see 1 John 3:5), the woman, who not only gave birth to Him but from whom He took His humanity, must have been herself free from original sin. God redeemed Mary before her conception to make it possible to bring us Himself, Our Lord and Savior. Mary is who she is because of who Jesus is.

But He didn’t stop there in His generosity. At the cross Jesus gave us Mary, His own mother and now our own mother also, who has powerfully interceded for us her children over the centuries. For example, less than two months ago, an 18-year-old girl crippled and wheelchair-bound from Lyme’s Disease experienced a complete cure at Lourdes, France, where Our Lady had identified herself in 1858 to St. Bernadette as the Immaculate Conception. Olga Pierce, Deacon Bob and Donna’s daughter, was blessed to witness this miracle, having accompanied this disabled pilgrim into the baths on her mission trip to Lourdes as a nursing student. (Please read Olga’s account of the miracle elsewhere in this bulletin.)

In 1846, our bishops unanimously chose the Immaculate Conception as the patroness of our nation. Come to Mass on Monday and pray for yourself and your loved ones, pray for our beloved Church, and pray for our country. Holy Mass for the Immaculate Conception will be offered by Fr. Hepner in Old St. Mary’s on the 9th at 5:30pm, preceded by the recitation of the holy rosary. Let us celebrate with joy as we honor Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.

Mary, with her unequivocal “Yes!” to God’s plan continues to help us prepare in Advent. You’re welcome to join us for special celebrations on Thursday the 12th in honor of Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn and of all the Americas. Scientific examination of the miraculous image on St. Juan Diego’s tilma revealed that the original image of the Virgin herself does not appear to have been painted by an artist. There is no sketch underneath it, no brush strokes, and no corrections. The pigments used are scientifically unidentifiable. In 1921 a bomb was planted to try and destroy it. An iron cross next to the tilma was twisted out of shape, the marble altar rail was heavily damaged, and the tilma was...untouched! The image remains after over 480 years. Our celebration will include a procession down Park Ave. at about 6pm (gather in the courtyard of the church), followed by Holy Mass afterwards at 7pm. Then, come enjoy the fiesta!

Father Wilson