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Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,

On December 8 we celebrate the great Marian feast day of her Immaculate Conception. This dogma concerning our Blessed Mother was declared by Pope Pius IX in 1854, and it celebrates the Church’s belief that from the first moment of her conception Mary was preserved from original sin. Mary, just like all of us, was in need of her Son’s salvation. Her way of being saved, though, differed from ours, just as her degree of holiness is much greater than ours. Although Christ’s redeeming passion and death occurred after Mary’s conception, the graces and merits of it were applied to Mary ahead of time. That is, Mary was saved by Christ’s sacrifice before it happened. God, who is outside of time, can effect such a unique grace.

In Nicaragua, the Church jubilantly shouts on this feast day, “Quién causa tanta alegría? La Concepción de María!” (What is the cause of such joy? Mary’s Immaculate Conception!). This feast day helps us to see our full dignity as well as the power of Christ’s sacrifice. God is capable of totally transforming us and making us truly holy, just as he did with our Blessed Mother. It is important, even as we struggle in this vale of tears, to know the greatness of our potential, and the infinite power of God’s grace in us. Often we can’t perceive the extent of his power nor our potential for holiness because of our brokenness, but looking at Mary we can truly glimpse the splendor of this reality. In meditating on Mary’s Immaculate Conception we are filled with hope. God took a lowly person named Mary and transformed her into the greatest creature outside of Himself; why can I not, too, become a great saint by God’s grace?

I want to extend a huge thank you to Fr. Bill Garrott for leading our Parish Mission this past week. His musical talents combined with his clear and powerful preaching drew many parishioners to start this Advent season on solid footing.

As a reminder, here are some of the upcoming events in Advent that you won’t want to miss:

  • Monday, December 11: The Vigil of Our Lady of Guadalupe at 9:00pm in the church.

  • Tuesday, December 12-Wednesday, December 22: Las Posadas, our nine day Christmas Novena with food, drinks, music and prayer, each night at the parish hall or gym.

  • Sunday, December 17: A special Posada at 7:30pm in the parish hall with a Christmas play about Christ’s birth.

  • Wednesday, December 20: Walking to Bethlehem, from 6:00pm-8:30pm on Fr. Meyer Field. Parish groups reenact the various events surrounding Christ’s birth, with hot chocolate, music and more.

In Christ,

Fr. Dave

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