Advent I

Bishop’s Note
Advent has arrived again and I truly hope it has not found you unprepared. A new liturgical cycle begins and along with it our spiritual life should be renewed or begun again. Make straight the way of Our Lord!

As I pulled into the church parking lot after a trip to Chillicothe last Wednesday evening, I was cheered to see it full of cars and with children playing and parents chatting. Wednesday evening choir nights have become quite the gathering for our church family. Even some of the priests like to get in on all the action and come down after their dinner! Feel free to stop by, even if you aren’t a part of the choir, just to socialize and be with fellow parishioners. Even better, come slightly earlier to attend the 5:10 Mass. Could be a good Advent resolution!

There have been many children who have come down with a bad cold lately (I think most of the church staff caught it, too). Still, everyone is courageously pushing on. They say (whoever “they” might be) that a lot of kids here in West Chester have been getting pneumonia this year. ’Tis the season for this kind of thing. Illness is always a hidden blessing though. Don’t waste it by complaining!

I have been in communication with Fr. Siordia and he says that they are getting ready for their patronal feast (Our Lord of the Expiration) in January. If you remember, Father has a very old and miraculous statue of Our Lord in his church. People come from all around to Cocoyoc for the feast day. In fact, he says there are about 25,000 people who attend! He has invited me to Mexico to do confirmations, but said to wait until February so as to avoid the crowds. So it looks like I will be going in early February. Fr. Contreras, of the Company of Jesus and Mary, will also be in Mexico at that time. It will be a busy week as I meet with the different priests with whom Bishop Dolan used to work.

Fr. Noel Ramirez, who teaches in the seminary in Argentina and who also works with Fr. Contreras, recently had knee replacement surgery. All went well and he is now in recovery. Fr. Nicolas Benegas, my first priest, reports that he is doing well and has been doing quite a bit of mission work in Mendoza (or as he insists… Republica de Mendoza!). Fr. Adan Rodriguez, also from the Company of Jesus and Mary, will be coming down from Our Lady of the Rosary in Connecticut to visit with us on the weekend of December 16th. If you see him, stop to introduce yourself. He is a fine priest and has taken over the apostolate of the late Bishop McKenna.

In Nigeria, Bishop Nkamuke and Fathers Ojeka and Okerulu finished their first ever Solemn Forty Hours and said that it was a great success. An announcement was made by His Excellency that he will be ordaining his two deacons to the holy priesthood on the feast of the Epiphany. There is so much good news coming from the missions in Nigeria these days. May God reward the clergy and faithful there for their apostolic zeal.

Please don’t forget the Holy Day this Friday, or the special Rorate Masses on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The Marian Masses are so important. If you are looking for an extra way to honor Our Lady, look no further. You will have plenty of opportunities this Advent! May she help you, this season, to prepare for the coming of her Divine Son.

– Bishop McGuire