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?
During the latest period of restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we here in the Diocese of Brooklyn, in the “red” zones, now limited to Brooklyn but previously also in Queens, have endured a real curtailment of our right to worship, that is overreaching.
As we enter the month of November, traditionally, we observe a time of prayer for the faithfully departed. This year because of the coronavirus, we have experi- enced many losses, and, unfortunately, often the loss of the lives of people very close to us. Another regrettable issue is that during this time, we could not properly ex- press the grief we have, engage in mourning, or follow the normal rituals of bereavement.
As we come to the end of October, during which we celebrate Respect Life Month, we have an opportunity to reflect upon the 25th anniversary of “Evangelium vitae” (The Gospel of Life), the Encyclical of St. John Paul II.
October is the time of year we look back on some of our historical roots. For the Italian population, it is the month we remember Christopher Columbus, a Genovese sailor, who under the flag of Spain discovered the New World.
The Third Encyclical of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, entitled, “Fratelli Tutti” is a very long and complicated commentary on the world today and the place of Christians in the world. My intention with this week’s article is to give you a kind of menu of what the Holy Father says in his Encyclical.