Celebrant: As we begin a New Year, let us bring our prayers and needs to our heavenly Father with confidence.
That the Church may effectively proclaim to the world the divinity of Christ and the special role of our blessed Mother, we pray to the Lord…
That Church leaders may be strengthened by God’s grace as they face the challenges of the New Year, we pray to the Lord…
That the leaders of nations will seek equality and peace for all people as they enact just laws, we pray to the Lord…
That the prayers of the Mother of God may strengthen all mothers to follow her example of welcoming new life despite fear, doubt, and uncertainty, we pray to the Lord...
That the lonely and neglected may be encouraged by our prayers and concern for them, we pray to the Lord…
That all who have died in faith may dwell in Christ’s abundant love for eternity, we pray to the Lord…
as we begin this New Year,
open our hearts and minds to the many blessings you offer,
and give us joy in following your Son Jesus Christ,
who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.
Happy New Year!
The beginning of a new calendar year brings us a special joy and hope. It is a reminder that time is a gift of God, given to us from His eternity, for us to use to prepare for eternity. The passing of each year and each day is meant to be an exchange with God: He gives us time, and we give our days and years back to Him in service and love, bringing as much good as possible into the world and into the lives of others. The New Year is an opportunity to resolve, above all, to serve God faithfully: to believe more firmly, to hope more ardently, to love more generously. That is what makes a new year “happy,” and that is what leads us to the happiness that never ends.
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The calendar year starts with reflections on Mary’s greatest title, “Mother of God,” and how her motherhood gives us courage and hope to start anew. Life and hope are intimately related. The more we hope, the more willing we are to welcome life. Abortion is not only a sin against life, but a sin against hope. Some wonder how they can “bring a child into this world,” as though the world is so evil and dangerous a place that it is better if we aren’t born. Christ and Mary lead the way for every mother and child, for every family, as we move forward from one New Year into another.
The gospel tells us that on the first Christmas, when the shepherds arrived in Bethlehem and saw the baby in the manger, they understood what had been told to them by the angels. Why was it at that moment that they understood the message? Perhaps it is because a baby is so approachable. After all, the angels had announced that the Savior was born for all people. Nobody, no matter how poor or lowly, should be afraid to approach him. And how can God become more approachable than by becoming a little baby? God continues to reveal himself in the tiny babies yet in the womb. He invites us to see and love him in them. Yet some continue to be afraid of these babies, so afraid that they despair and are tempted to kill them. May the coming of our God as a little baby inspire a deeper respect and protection for the unborn.