Dear friends,

Every year the parish celebrate this time of advent and Our Lady of Guadalupe I experience some new aspect of the story that makes me more aware of our Gospel mission. This year I learned from a recent Parish Council meeting, when we evaluated our mission, that our liturgies, our Sunday celebrations most especially, must reflect our life. If we want our youth to be educated, our prayer must reflect our concern. If we want our community to be inviting and welcoming, our prayer must reflect our desires. If we want our families to live in peace, our prayer must be caring and consoling. And if we want to be a neighborhood of justice, working to provide jobs and recognize the rights of others, our prayer must be challenging and creative. If we want places where our young people will be safe, our prayer must be inspiring.

As we listen through the time together at our Novena, I believe our prayer will be all of the above and more. Many groups have helped to create and prepare our prayer and reflection. The participation of so many people will guide our young people to a more active participation in their faith life. We can give thanks everyday for a spirit that will help us be like Juan Diego and actively build our church.

Also, we enter into a new liturgical year, beginning today. During the coming year, we will read from the Gospel of Mark. The gospel of Mark is the shortest of all the four evangelists. He is a person who gets right to the heart of the matter: we must take up our cross and follow Jesus. The sacrifices and suffering we endure have a meaning and a purpose. Jesus teaches us to stay focused on our mission and not be distracted. Heal the sick, reach out to those in need, forgive others and be persistent in your mission. There is no time to waste and no need to worry about what has happened. You are loved and called to serve others.

More than any other time, our neighborhood needs your inspirational work to teach our youth and families even in difficult times we do not give up, and we do not despair. We stay focused on our responsibility to carry out our tasks and care especially for those around us.

Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF