As we close this liturgical year and embrace the new, it is a good time to refocus our prayers and renew our faith. During Advent, we look forward to the coming of Jesus – in majesty, in history and in majesty. (Advent Reflection)

This year, however, I would ask that we also reflect on Blessed Mary Mother of God and her role in the Incarnation and in the family of the Church. In a prayer written by St Bernard, we say:

Hail Mary, full of grace! You are truly full of grace,
for you are pleasing to God, to the angels and to men:

To men, by your maternity.
To angels, by your virginity.
And to God, by your humility.

Mary is the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ and she is the mother of our Church. Her ‘yes’ was our ‘yes’. It was through her fiat that we accepted the new covenant. Our joy reflects hers. We hold Jesus in our hearts just as Mary held Him in her arms. We cannot think about family and the Church without reflecting on the Holy Family - Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.

In this new year, the Church brings attention to the family as Pope Francis continues to engage religious and laity following the Synod this past Fall. Let’s begin Advent thinking of family and imitating Mary, our Mother.

St Louis de Montfort, in his True Devotion to Mary, talks of Mary’s ten principal virtues: deep humility, lively faith, obedience, unceasing prayer, self-denial, purity, love, patience, kindness and heavenly wisdom. During this Advent season, keep Blessed Mary in your prayers and in your hearts. Reflect on these virtues and practice them. With great joy, turn your hearts towards the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and continue to grow in virtue through the imitation of Mary as Mother. Rejoice in family and strive, as always, towards holiness.

Father Neil

What we ask for .......
I asked for strength,

and God gave me difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for wisdom,

and God gave me problems to solve.
I asked for prosperity,

and God gave me brain and brawn to work.
I asked for courage,
and God gave me dangers to overcome.
I asked for love,
and God gave me troubled people to help.
I asked for favours,
and God gave me opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted,
but everything I needed.
     From Msgr Shiels' Homily - July 5 2015

Each week there is a new link to a document or video on the internet selected to further deepen your understanding of our faith.

Strengthen your faith and join us in our ministries to serve our community, our neighbours and our parish.

FRom Fr Neil's Desk

St Mary Star of the Sea

Roman Catholic Church, Mississauga, Ontario