The Perfect Woman

Dear Parishioners,

As last weekend we had a 4th Sunday of Advent-Christmas Eve combo, so too this weekend we have a sort of Holy Family (Sunday)—Mary, Mother of God (Monday) combo. And a great combo it is. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and particularly Mary, are models for us.

If you read consistently my Tassel of the Cloak column, you probably know by now that I have a fervent love for the Blessed Mother. Instead of describing why, let me simply include a poem by William Wordsworth, "The Perfect Woman." Wordsworth had other poems explicitly about the Blessed Virgin Mary. This one, though not explicitly about Mary—it was about his wife and all of her good qualities—still speaks of the Mother of God.

She was a phantom of delight
When first she gleam’d upon my sight;
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment’s ornament;
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair;
Like twilight’s, too, her dusky hair;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn;
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.

I saw her upon nearer view,
A Spirit, yet a Woman too!
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin liberty;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature’s daily food;
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.

And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveler between life and death;
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;
A perfect Woman, nobly plann’d,
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of angelic light.

The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God on New Year’s Day is typically a holy day of obligation in our Church, but because the feast this year falls on a Monday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has decided that this will not be a holy day of obligation. Therefore, the Sunday 5pm Mass on December 31st will count as the Sunday obligation (Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph). There will be no Vigil Mass for Mary, Mother of God, since you are not obliged to attend Mass for that feast this year. Nonetheless, we will still offer three Masses on Monday, January 1st (7:30am, 9:30am, and 11am) and we would love to see you there!

The parish office hours will be reduced during this holiday season. We will be open from 9am until noon through Friday, January 5th.

Friday, January 5th is the first Friday of the month, which means we'll have Adoration in the church following the 8:30am Mass (also in church) until 9pm.

I want to recognize and thank everyone who made the Christmas celebrations so beautiful: Margie Shiel and her choirs and cantors, Margie Fisher and all who helped decorate the church and set up the nativity set, Mary McNamara and all who helped with the 3pm children’s Nativity play, the sacristans, altar servers, and ushers. God love you!

Once again, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you have a restful and safe new year. My prayers will be with you throughout 2018. May you continue to experience Christ's love in your lives.

Yours in Christ,
Father James

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