Monday Message, December 18, 2023

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The personal consecration is almost upon us. If you need more books, please contact Blythe directly. She can have books sent directly to your parish. Don’t forget to check out this page for all the details and to remind your families that this is coming. The Institute bought many books, which have all been taken. The books are $2 each, but Blythe has been amazing at getting donors to cover costs.

Deanery meetings with Bishop Caggiano pick up again in the new year. The full list is here. No RSVP is required.

We have rescheduled our day with the bishop and the new directory. Please hold March 13, 2024. We will gather at the Catholic Center.

After the new year, formation for Readers and EMHCs will change slightly. You can see this memo for details and this graphic for more details.

All diocesan offices will close on Thursday, December 21st at noon. We will reopen on January 2, 2024. May God bless each of you this Christmas season.


“Who am I?” The question of identity touches the most profound depths of our personhood. The pursuit of personal needs and goals can have a suffocating effect. As we prepare in Advent for the Second Coming of the Lord, we are reminded in the liturgy that we must meet the Lord as a community, not as a collection of isolated individuals.

The prophet we call Third Isaiah cared for the hurting community in Jerusalem around 500 B.C. As God’s specially anointed spokesperson, he identifies with the brokenhearted. As a sign of hope he describes the joy of a renewed marriage between Yahweh and Jerusalem. The drab clothing of the past will be replaced with a robe of salvation and a mantle of justice. Yahweh will bring forth justice and praise in the presence of the Gentiles.

In the responsorial, Luke presents Mary’s response to Elizabeth who has recognized Jesus in Mary’s womb. Mary sings of her God and God’s community. She finds the basis of her joy not within herself but within God. Placing herself within the framework of Israel’s history, Mary unequivocally replies to the question: “Who am I? I am yours.”

The two opening verses of Sunday’s gospel describe John as witness to the light and Jesus himself as the light. The Baptist seeks his own identity in relation to the Lord. John explains that he is not one of the traditional figures of the end of the world (the Messiah, Elijah, or the prophet). He is, however, the herald spoken of in Isaiah 40:3. John’s baptism of water envisions the coming one, the Messiah.

Identity begins with family, then we look to community. We must support positive programs for the good of all our neighbors. Allegiance to Church and our brothers and sisters in faith is essential. In all these and similar situations we are encouraged to respond: “Who am I? I am yours.”

Have a blessed week.