Thursday, December 22, 2011

December 12, 2011: The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Sr. Ana Maria Corona

I work in one of the parishes in the Fall River Diocese with a Hispanic community: The St Joseph Parish, Attleboro, MA hosts a small Latino group and I serve as a Pastoral Associate, so last week I went with them and other sisters of my Community to the annual Mass in honor to our Blessed Mother Mary.

The annual observance generally rotates among the seven Hispanic parishes in the diocese.

With a growing number of Hispanic cultures moving into the area, the Spanish language Masses are among the most popular non-English services in the diocese, second only to Portuguese In Fall River. The older generation of Hispanics is mainly from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, while other more recent arrivals are from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico.

The annual celebration commemorates the appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Juan Diego in December 1531. One of the earliest documented Marian apparitions, Our Lady of Guadalupe remains one of the most well celebrated and well-recognized iconic images of the Blessed Mother alongside her subsequent appearances in La Salette, France (1846); Lourdes, France (1858); and Fatima, Portugal (1917).

This year the celebration was held at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Church in New Bedford, with Bishop George W. Coleman as the principal celebrant. There were other priests from the different parishes. The celebration began at 6:30 p.m. and the Church was overflowing . The Mass was bilingual, in English and Spanish, with the participation of the diocesan Spanish choir. The voices of the faithful sounded full of fervor and joy at the rhythm of the “la Guadalupana.” After Mass, we had a delicious banquet accompanied by Latino music appropriate for the occasion including different cultural folklore and presentations.

Our Lady’s message to Juan Diego was a simple mission of evangelization: a call to bring the inhabitants of the then-New World to the Catholic faith. She was proclaimed the patroness of “New Spain” by Pope Benedict XIV in 1754 and then as “Queen of Mexico” by Pope Pius XII in 1946 and Blessed Pope John Paul II, who had a well-known personal devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, proclaimed Our Lady of Guadalupe as the “Empress of America” on Jan. 22, 1999 and personally dedicated a chapel within St. Peter’s Basilica in her honor.

Being able to participate in this Marian celebration is always a joy and a blessing because she helps us to get closer to our Lord and because she is the Mother of God and our blessed Mother.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Marie's Place - A Ministry of the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation

Founded in 1987, Marie’s Place, a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation, is a free clothing distribution center in Fall River, Massachusetts and is named after our Foundress, Blessed Marie Poussepin.  We are staffed by a dedicated group of lay volunteers and the Dominican Sisters.

We welcome those who are less fortunate and struggle to provide adequate clothing for their families.  In the past few years, we have also been able to provide a small amount of food items to those in need.  We try to reach out to the poor, the elderly and those on fixed incomes.

Marie’s Place has been a way for many people in the community and surrounding areas to get involved in helping the poor and needy. Individuals, families, businesses, local churches, parishes and health facilities also support us in kind and or new or used clothing and food.

During this Christmas Season, through the generosity of our benefactors and volunteers, we are helping over 100 families in order to be able to give their children gifts for Christmas.  Somerset Credit Union, local parishes, organizations, as well as local schools have been collecting new toys and winter clothing for our customers.  The students of Somerset High School collected over $1000.00 in donations and bought us food in order to give to those in need.

Together, volunteers and customers create a warm environment of caring and compassion as we continue to live Marie Poussepin’s desire to serve and love the poor and needy in the name of Christ.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chapel in Dighton

Our beautiful chapel in Dighton, Massachusetts.
You are welcome to come and pray.