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December 10, 2023

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This weekend we find ourselves in between two celebrations of Our Lady. On Friday we celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States. On this day, we recognize that God existed before time and the mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection (as well as the gifts received from this act) are outside of time. God gave Mary the gift of being conceived (her parents were Saints Joachim and Anne) without original sin (the sin of Adam and Eve). This allowed Mary, the New Eve, to have complete freedom, not affected by the effects of original sin, to choose to say yes or no to the call to be the Mother of the Redeemer. Her yes gave us the great gift of Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer.

On Tuesday, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Mary, under this title, is patroness of the Americas, children in the womb (she appeared in Advent and so appeared as a pregnant woman), as well as our Diocese of Orange. Mary appeared December 9-12, 1531, to St. Juan Diego who was on his way to get a priest to anoint his uncle Bernardino who was dying. Mary told Juan to go to the bishop to ask that a church be built so that people may have access to her Son in Holy Communion and the sacraments. Bernardino was miraculously healed, the roses (that would not be blooming in the cold mountains) that were collected into Juan’s tilma miraculously turned into Our Lady’s image that is intact (and at body temperature) in Mexico City. Let us ask Mary, under these titles, to pray for us, that we will resist sin and draw closer to her Son.

In Christ,

Bishop Tim Freyer

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