Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Happy New Year!
Amid the shouts and cheers that usher in the new year, there are always a few tears shed, as another year retreats into history.
My parents allowed my sister and me to stay up late and greet the incoming year. We enjoyed a couple of different New Year’s celebrations from our living room in Chicago. Thanks to television, we watched the East Coast revelry in New York City at 11:00 p.m. Then, we rejoiced again at the stroke of midnight, Central Standard Time.
Mom would prepare special foods as my sister and I struggled to stay awake. When the clock struck 12:00, we activated our noisemakers, shouted “Happy New Year,” then kissed and hugged our parents, aunts and uncles.
Other family members and friends would call us on the telephone to offer their blessings for the year ahead. While we celebrated inside, some neighbors would set off fireworks and gunshots.
As I have gotten older, I realize that when we embrace the new, we must surrender some of the old. Every year, we turn over our dear, lost loved ones to God. We remember them by offering quiet prayers, grateful that they accompanied us on this journey through life.
Each new year means change. The next morning when we look into our mirrors, we are shocked to find that we have gotten a bit older. For some, we find a few more gray hairs or fewer hairs, a couple of wrinkles here and there and maybe an extra pound or two.
We must adjust to a new year, which means changing the date on various items. After making a number of mistakes on checks and bills, we’ll finally remember to write “2013” instead of “2012” on the date lines.
Some will make New Year’s Resolutions, hoping to improve their lives. Often they are broken before the end of January, but it doesn’t stop us from trying.
The Church, in her wisdom, starts the new year by turning to the Holy Mother of God, celebrating the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on January 1.
Her Motherhood was cause for the salvation brought by her Son. She becomes an example of faithfulness for all members of the Church. During her historic Visitation described in Luke 1:39-56, Elizabeth proclaims her cousin Mary to be “the mother of my Lord.”
Being Jesus’ mother, she is the Mother of God – therefore Mother of us all. In this new year, let’s turn to our Mother for help, for what mother would deny her children?
So we pray:
Remember O most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.