The transition from the old to the New Year can be a time for reflection on the past along with hope for the future.  As we look back on the previous year, we are reminded of the many challenges the Church and the world are facing right now.  Still, amid these trials, we can place our trust in God and have hope for good health and peace in the world, for the Church, for our own lives, and for the welfare of our families.

It is very fitting, then, that the New Year is celebrated in union with the Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God, a holy day that celebrates her divine motherhood of our Savior.  We can learn to have unconditional trust and hope in our Lord, even in times of doubt and fear.  Mary is with us, our “Queen of Peace.”  Accordingly, New Year’s Day is also celebrated as the “World Day of Prayer for Peace.”

In his encyclical of this year, Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis spoke to the need for a neighborly approach to charity that fosters prayer and peace in our hearts and in our communities: “A truly human and fraternal society will be capable of ensuring in an efficient and stable way that each of its members is accompanied by God and neighbor at every stage of life, not only by providing for their basic needs, but by enabling them to give the best of themselves ….”  Caring for those in need is not only at the heart of the Gospel message, it is a Divine command.

I wish you all a New Year filled with hope, peace, and charity, brotherhood and sisterhood among us, and health and happiness in the Lord.

With prayerful best wishes,

Fr. John Mahoney