From our pastor Father Neil Herlihy
 
This Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday, as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Christ Child. This is also the third week of our focus on the Mass.  This week we emphasize the virtue of faith as we encounter Jesus through the eyes of faith in the Eucharist, and as we continue to appreciate the importance of the Mass.

The publication, Our Sunday Visitor, stated, “The Mass is the summit of our spiritual life. It unites us as a community of believers who gather to remember the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.” The publication also reminds us that, “In gratitude for all that our gracious and loving God has done for us, we offer ourselves to God. We offer our strengths and weaknesses, our joys, our sorrows.  We offer our suffering with the one sacrifice that Jesus made when he died on the Cross.”  We also “share a spiritual meal in communion with one another.  We experience the Real Presence of Jesus. We give thanks for all the good things that the Lord has done for us.”  At the end of Mass, we receive a blessing, and then we are sent forth to love and serve the Lord and our neighbor.

As we continue on our Advent journey, we are reminded of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the memorial Mass for Monsignor Reynolds.  This past Tuesday, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. She is the patroness of the United States, Mexico and all of the Americas as well as the protector of the unborn.  The appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe helped generate the conversion of Mexico and Latin America to Catholicism. From 1531 to 1538, eight million people were converted to Catholicism.  Her feast is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm throughout the Americas.

As we reflect on the significance of this feast day, we also call to mind the upcoming memorial Mass for our beloved former pastor, Monsignor Paul Reynolds, on Monday December 18th at 9:00 am. Msgr. Reynolds served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Atlanta for over forty years.  He was a man of great insight and wisdom. He was pastor of several parishes in the Archdiocese, including Saint Brigid, where he served from 2006 until his death in 2010. Archbishop Wilton Gregory appreciated his pastoral gifts and talents, calling him “a healer” with “pervasive Irish charm.”

As we reflect on the example of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and as we remember Monsignor Reynolds, my hope this Advent season is that through our eyes of faith, through our acts of charity, and through the healing provided by the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our hearts will be made ready to receive Our Lord, Our Savior, Our King of Kings.

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