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Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,

On December 9, 1531 our Blessed Mother revealed herself to an indigenous Catholic convert, St. Juan Diego. Speaking in his native Nahuatl tongue, she entrusted him with the mission of convincing the bishop of Mexico City to have a temple built in honor of her Son, Jesus Christ. The bishop was skeptical of Juan’s request, so on December 12 Our Lady provided a miraculous growth of flowers for him to collect and bring to the bishop. When Juan opened his tilma to reveal the roses, a miraculous image of Our Lady was imprinted where he had gathered the flowers. 492 years later, the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City draws the largest crowds to any Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. We honor Mary under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe as the Patroness of the Americas.

102 years ago, St. Martin’s Parish celebrated its first Mass on December 12, 1920, and today we are one of the largest Spanish speaking parishes in the Archdiocese of Washington. We are a parish of such diverse cultures and traditions, but we all share the same Mother who leads us to love and follow her Son and our Savior, Jesus. In a special way, Mary has made her home here in busy, downtown Gaithersburg. She draws people here to discover her Son and to worship him. She comforts and consoles her sons and daughters, and leads them to the baths of rebirth in baptism and reconciliation. She urges us to greater faithfulness, courage, and charity, reminding us that she is our Mother, so we have nothing to fear. As we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, the Church calls us to rejoice. Mary teaches us to rejoice always, because she has given us Jesus, our Savior who never abandons us. Together with Our Lady of Guadalupe we acclaim on Gaudete Sunday, “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior!”

This Sunday we celebrate a special Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which begins with a dramatization of her appearance to St. Juan Diego at 9:30pm. Mass follows at 10:00pm, and then there will be a reception in the parish hall at 11:00pm with a mariachi band. Come one, come all!

On Wednesday, December 21, we invite you to Fr. Meyer Field for our Walk-Through Live Nativity from 6:00pm-8:30pm. See the events surrounding the birth of Christ, enjoy some warm refreshments, and don’t miss Fr. Kiko’s ever expanding Nativity scene.

In Mary’s Immaculate Heart,

Fr. Dave

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