Dear friends,

As we begin today the new Church year with advent and approach our novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the year is made very special with the ordination of Deacon Alex Gaitan to the priesthood on Saturday, December 3rd, 3 PM in Holy Cross Church. Alex will be ordained by Bishop Plácido Rodriguez, CMF. Alex has been assigned to our parish and is already working with the adult sacramental preparation, as well as other aspects of accompanying the poor. We are grateful for him and encourage in him always the missionary ideal expressed by Claret that we hold before us.

The spirit of the Claretians, brothers and priests, who called themselves “Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” [In Latin- Cordis Marie Filiet (CMF)] is captured by what St. Anthony Claret wrote of the ideal missionary in 1849: “A son of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a man on fire with love, who spreads its flames wherever he goes. He desires mightily and strives by all means possible to set everyone on fire with God’s love. Nothing daunts him: he delights in privations, welcomes work, embraces sacrifices, smiles at slander, rejoices in all the torments and sorrows he suffers, and glories in the cross of Jesus Christ. His only concern is how he may follow Christ and imitate him in praying, working, enduring and striving constantly and solely for the greater glory of God and the salvation of humankind.” Our own parish community of Claretians must remember this ideal and accompany the laity who teach us, in these challenging times, the attitudes of service and hope.

Also, as we begin our Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe we invite all of our people to participate fully and take the opportunity to know better the spirit of our parish mission: to reach out and respond actively to the needs of others. In a spirit of celebration, we begin with the dancers, who remind us of the indigenous roots of Juan Diego and the people of Mexico. Beginning at 7 PM on Saturday, December 3rd, in Immaculate Heart of Mary, we will touch on the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Nican Mopohua. After the reading and reflection, a procession of drums and dancers will take us to the sanctuary at Holy Cross Church. After that, each day of the Novena will explore the beautiful symbols and signs of Our Lady of Guadalupe, until we celebrate the feast day on December 12th.

Thank you to the many who have helped to prepare these days of special celebrations. You are truly missionaries who follow Christ! Congratulations!

Fr. Bruce Wellems, CMF