On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 2020, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, called the faithful to engage in “The Year of Joseph.”
On the third Monday of January, each year, our country and many in the world commemorate the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was born with the name Michael King, Jr.; however, his father was a Baptist minister who traveled to Germany and was inspired by Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation leader, and changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
This year, we celebrate the 54th World Day of Peace. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has chosen the theme “A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace.” This can certainly bring about a peaceful situation among individuals and nations.
As we begin this New Year, we all are certainly filled with anticipation. If we look back on this past year, we know that no one would like to repeat 2020. Yet, what 2021 has in store for us we do not know. Certainly, our main hope would be that the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines will bring an end to this terrible virus that has controlled our lives for the better part of 2020.
As we celebrate Christmas this year, it is a Christmas like no other that I have ever celebrated in my 76 years. Fortunately, I never celebrated Christmas in a time of war when the whole world was in turmoil, but this year the Coronavirus has joined the world together in a crisis never before seen in the last hundred years.
Advent is a time of expectation, of waiting. There is no better model of expectation, of waiting, to us Christians than Mary, the Mother of God and the Mother of Jesus Christ. During this time of Advent, as we come closer to Christmas, we recognize that Mary was in the last stage of her pregnancy.
This week, as in the past five years, our DeSales Media Group sponsored a Christmas Tree lighting in Grand Army Plaza in front of the monument dedicated to the Union Soldiers from Brooklyn who fought in the Civil War. In addition to the tree, a large Nativity has a place of honor.
On Thanksgiving Eve, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a 5-4 decision, temporarily barred enforcement of one aspect of New York’s COVID-19 restrictions that imposed a 10 and 25-person capacity limit on our churches in the so-called Red and Orange zones.
The Gospel reading this year for the First Sunday of Advent tells us of a rather ominous saying of Jesus which is meant to prepare us not only for Christmas, but also for the end of time: “Be watchful, be alert for you do not know when the time will come.”
We all know that this year our Thanksgiving will not be what we have normally experienced, no parades, perhaps limited football, smaller dinners, and less interaction with our most beloved family members. But we still must give thanks. As we look back over the past year, for what can we give thanks?