Dear Devotee of Saint Philomena,
During this Advent Season we are invited to look with Hope to the future coming of the Lord in glory, but we cannot forget that the Lord himself said that the time will come with great Suddenness and it will be a time of Separation and of Judgement, and so we will do well to remember that we can be Hopeful — only if we are Faithful.
It is fitting that in the midst of the Advent Season we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, the faithful daughter of the Most High. The Gospel for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception presents the mystery of the Annunciation of which Pope Benedict XVI said, When the Angel's proclamation was addressed to her; she accepted it, and when she responded from the depths of her heart: "Here I am... let it be done to me according to your word", the eternal Word began to exist as a human being in time.
The Angel does not call her by her earthly name, Mary, but by her divine name, as she has always been seen and characterized by God: "Full of grace” . . . and the grace is none other than the love of God, so we may translate this title: "beloved" of God.”
Readily accepting her vocation, the first thing that Mary does is to visit her cousin Elizabeth in order to be of service to her. It is an initiative of genuine charity; it was humble and courageous, motivated by faith in God's Word and the prompting of the Holy Spirit. For those who love forget about themselves and place themselves at the service of their neighbor. This is the true image and model of the Church! It is the movement of the Church awaiting her Savior.
During these holy days we are encouraged to lift up our gaze and to focus on the things of heaven so that our sight rightly falls on the need of others. At this time of year our thoughts turn also, in gratitude, to those who have helped us in the Universal Archconfraternity to fulfill the mission of promoting our patroness, St. Philomena, who intercedes so powerfully, guiding us as a model of purity and of faith in our Divine Savior.
Reverend Jason V. Kulczynski
National Director of the Universal Archconfraternity of Saint Philomena for the United States