Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

New Year’s. Tomorrow, January 1, 2018, is of course,
New Year’s Day and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of
God. Together with the priests and the staff of St.
Raymond’s, may I wish you a happy, blessed and holy New
Year.
Normally, Mary, Mother of God is a Holy Day of
Obligation. But since it falls on a Monday this year it is
not a Holy Day of Obligation, and you don’t have to go
to Mass. I would still recommend you do so, to honor Our
Mother and to begin the year on the right foot. We will
have Masses on Monday at 12 midnight, 8:45, 10:30 and
12:15 (there will not be a 7am or 5pm Mass).
Merry Christmas! The celebration of the Birth of God the
Son, Jesus Christ, is too great an event to celebrate on only
one day, so Christmas continues well past December 25th.
First, we have the “Octave of Christmas”, eight days of
celebrating, ending tomorrow, as if it were still the Lord’s
birthday. Beyond that we have “the twelve days of
Christmas” running from Christmas day until January 6,
which in most of the world is the Solemnity of the
Epiphany. In the U.S., however, the liturgical celebration of
Epiphany is always moved to “the Sunday occurring
between January 2 and January 8.” Then, normally we
continue to celebrate “Season of Christmas” for an extra
week, until the following Sunday which is usually the
Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. This year, however,
just as we had the shortest Advent possible, we also have
the shortest Season of Christmas possible, with the Baptism
of the Lord falling on Monday, January 8. Even so, we are
still celebrating Christmas, so “Merry Christmas.”
Volunteer Dinner. This coming Saturday, January 6, is our
annual dinner in appreciation for all those who volunteer
their time to support the activities of the parish. If that
should include you, and you haven’t rsvp’d yet, please
contact the parish office or your committee chairman asap.
Year End Donations. Every year at this time we get
inundated with requests for donations. Unfortunately, many
so-called “charities” are not doing work consistent with
God’s will, and others may have good intentions, but are
inefficient or ineffective in using their resources. So, we
don’t have to give to every group who asks for help, and I
recommend you give mainly to those groups you have
confidence in. The groups I give to and would recommend
for your consideration include: the Little Sisters of the
Poor, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, House
of Mercy, Project Rachel, Gabriel Project, Mary’s Shelter
(Fredericksburg), the Poor Clares, Angelus Academy and,
my personal favorite, St. Dominic Monastery in Linden,
VA, our dear cloistered Dominican sisters who pray for us
every day. And of course, St. Raymond’s parish is a very
worthy charity…
Oremus pro invicem, Fr. De Celles
+ + + + + + +
Pope St. John Paul II
Homily, Holy Family Sunday, December 31, 1978
The deepest human problems are connected with the
family. It constitutes the primary, fundamental and irreplaceable
community for man….The Church wishes to bear a particular witness
to that too during the Octave of Christmas, by means of the
feast of the Holy Family. She wishes to recall that the fundamental
values, which cannot be violated without incalculable harm of a
moral nature, are bound up with the family…It is necessary to defend
these fundamental values tenaciously and firmly, because
their violation does incalculable harm to society and, in the last
analysis, to man….
What are these values? ….[T]rying to express ourself
concisely, let us say that here it is a question of two fundamental
values which fall strictly into the context of what we call “conjugal
love”. The first of them is the value of the person which is expressed
in absolute mutual faithfulness until death: the faithfulness
of the husband to his wife and of the wife to her husband. The consequence
of this affirmation of the value of the person, which is
expressed in the mutual relationship between husband and wife,
must also be respect for the personal value of the new life, that is,
of the child, from the first moment of his conception.
The Church can never dispense herself from the obligation
of guarding these two fundamental values, connected with the
vocation of the family…While maintaining respect for all those
who think differently, it is very difficult to recognize…that anyone
who betrays conjugal faithfulness, or who permits life conceived in
the mother’s womb to be wiped out and destroyed, behaves in a
way consistent with true human dignity. Consequently, it cannot be
admitted that programmes…which admit such behaviour serve the
objective well-being of man….
Pope Francis
Homily, Mary, Mother of God, January 1, 2017
“Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart!
(Lk 2:19). In these words, Luke describes the attitude with which
Mary took in all that they had experienced in those days. Far from
trying to understand or master the situation, Mary is the woman
who can treasure, that is to say, protect and guard in her heart, the
passage of God in the life of his people. Deep within, she had
learned to listen to the heartbeat of her Son, and that in turn
taught her, throughout her life, to discover God’s heartbeat in
history. She learned how to be a mother, and in that learning process
she gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is
to be a Son. In Mary, the eternal Word not only became flesh, but
also learned to recognize the maternal tenderness of God. With
Mary, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles,
the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise. With
Mary, he discovered himself a Son of God’s faithful people.
In the Gospels, Mary appears as a woman of few words,
with no great speeches or deeds, but with an attentive gaze capable
of guarding the life and mission of her Son, and for this reason,
of everything that he loves. She was able to watch over the beginnings
of the first Christian community, and in this way she learned
to be the mother of a multitude. She drew near to the most diverse
situations in order to sow hope. She accompanied the crosses
borne in the silence of her children’s hearts. How many devotions,
shrines and chapels in the most far-off places, how many pictures
in our homes, remind us of this great truth. Mary gave us a mother’s
warmth, the warmth that shelters us amid troubles, the maternal
warmth that keeps anything or anyone from extinguishing in
the heart of the Church the revolution of tenderness inaugurated
by her Son. Where there is a mother, there is tenderness….
To celebrate Mary as Mother of God and our mother at
the beginning of the new year means recalling a certainty that will
accompany our days: we are a people with a Mother; we are not
orphans.

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