Happy New Year! May 2023 be happy, holy, and healthy to you and your families. Since 1967, January 1st is observed as the “World Day of Peace” in the Catholic Church. In his 1967 encyclical on the development of people, Populorum Progressio, Saint Pope Paul VI notes that “peace is not simply the absence of warfare, based on a precarious balance of power; it is fashioned by efforts directed day after day toward the establishment of the ordered universe willed by God, with a more perfect form of justice among men.” As war continues to rage in Ukraine, Yemen, Ethiopia, and in other places, may we continue to pray for peace in our world and may 2023 be the year that these tragic wars come to an end.
Switching gears entirely, some of you may know about St. John Bosco, known affectionately as “Don Bosco” in Italian. He was an Italian priest, born in 1815, and died in 1888. He dedicated his life to the betterment and education of street children, juvenile delinquents, and other disadvantaged youth. He is the patron saint of schoolchildren. As we begin a new year, many of us will make New Year’s Resolutions. I found the following “Resolutions” written by St. John Bosco that are still applicable today and I share them with all of you as good New Year’s Resolutions for our participation in Mass:
1. Try to be early for Mass always. A few minutes spent in before Mass can open your soul to wonderful Graces.
2. When you enter or leave the church take Holy Water and sign yourself with the Sign of the Cross.
3. Always genuflect when you enter or leave your seat. This is an Act of Adoration to Almighty God, present in the tabernacle. So take time to genuflect reverently, facing the altar and saying “My Lord and My God” as your right knee touches the floor.
4. Don’t talk in church unless absolutely necessary. Talk only to Jesus—it is Him you have come to visit. Don’t talk as you leave either. Some people may still be praying.
5. Listen to the sermon. It is a message from God which could bear much fruit for you.
6. Don’t start to leave church until the priest has left the church. Stay to thank God for the Graces you received from Him in the Mass.
Finally, St John Bosco reminded us that every day we take a step closer to Heaven, that every act should be for the greater glory of God and that every morning we should renew our resolve to work for the Salvation of souls. May God bless you this year and always. Happy 2023!