Mary, Mother of God
The first day of January is not only the beginning of a new year but also the day the Church celebrates Mary, as Mother of God. It is also a beautiful and most fitting way to close out the Christmas octave—the eight days following the birth of Christ—with a day honoring Mary, whose yes to the angel Gabriel opened the way for Christmas.
“Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church’s Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the “Seat of Wisdom.” — Catechism of the Catholic Church 721
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is usually a holy day of obligation, but since in 2022, it falls on a Saturday, the obligation is lifted. However, continuing my Christmas message of a season of opportunity, one should always view attending Mass as a blessing. To come together as a Church community to celebrate this incredible gift of Mary, as Mother of God, is indeed more opportunity than obligation. I encourage you, especially together with your family, to consider attending either the vigil or a New Year’s Day Mass in addition to your Sunday Mass.
World Day of Peace
Every year on January 1, the Holy Father marks World Day of Peace with a special message inviting all people to reflect on the important work of building peace. Pope Francis’ message for the 2022 World Day of Peace, the 55th celebration, is entitled “Dialogue between generations, education, and work: tools for building lasting peace.”
In the text, Pope Francis outlined three “paths for building a lasting peace”: promoting dialogue between generations, investing in education, and improving labor conditions. The pope called for a new alliance between the young and elderly to address the problems of isolation and self-absorption heightened by the coronavirus pandemic.
Pope Francis concluded his World Day of Peace message with these poignant words:
“Dear brothers and sisters, as we seek to combine our efforts in order to emerge from the pandemic, I renew my thanks to all those who continue to work with generosity and responsibility in the areas of education, safety and protection of rights, in supplying medical care, in facilitating meetings between family members and the sick, and in providing economic support to the needy and those who have lost their jobs. I continue to remember the victims and their families in my prayers.
To government leaders and to all those charged with political and social responsibilities, to priests and pastoral workers, and to all men and women of good will, I make this appeal: let us walk together with courage and creativity on the path of intergenerational dialogue, education, and work. May more and more men and women strive daily, with quiet humility and courage, to be artisans of peace. And may they be ever inspired and accompanied by the blessings of the God of peace!”
Let us contemplate Pope Francis’ words, as we also consider how we can be agents of peace in 2022, in our homes, our communities, and our world.
Happy New Year! ¡Feliz Ano Novo! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
May 2022 be a year filled with many blessings, renewed hope, and much joy for you and your family.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop da Cunha