Cathedral-Basilica celebrates the Sweet Name of Mary

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By Anne Marie Rodriguez
Umatuna Si Yu’os

The feast day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated on a rainy Saturday afternoon on September 9, 2017 at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica.

The main celebrant of the festal Mass was Delegate General of the Coadjutor Archbishop, Father Jeffrey San Nicolas, who was assisted by Deacon Agustin “Gus” Cepeda. Concelebrating the Mass were Cathedral Rector Father Paul Gofigan, Vice Rector Father Michael Jucutan, and Father Tom McGrath.

Reflecting on the gospel and drawing from personal experiences, Father Jeff asked the congregation, “Don’t we all need people in our life … to know that in this world, we are not alone?”

Father Jeff also reflected on St. Augustine’s words, “I think that … what St. Augustine is saying is true, ‘Lord, you have created me with a void that only you can fill.’

“But there’s probably a part two to that: Lord, you have created me so that only another human being can fulfill.

“We are made for each other—to be in communion with each other.”

Father Jeff remarked as he recounted playing hide-and-seek with his godson, that oftentimes, “we live in this world and then we cover our eyes thinking that we are hidden” and “thinking that we can live in this world in an anonymous sort of fashion.”

However, in God’s eyes, Father Jeff continued, “we are beautifully known. We are fully known.

“God sees us through and through and he says to us, ‘You are my child. I love you. In my Church, you have a place.”

Father Jeff went on to say, “It sounds like such a simple thing, to be accepted, but I am convinced that this is something that people need in our lives.

“To know that there is a place in this world where we are simply accepted for who we are. Without judgment, without criticism.

“We can live our life in a very anonymous fashion and pretend that we don’t need each other, but I pray that this gospel today and on this beautiful feast of our Blessed Mother, we are reminded as a Church for our calling to live openly and honestly with one another…”

As he concluded his homily, Father Jeff mentioned the holiness of our Blessed Mother, “the holiness of Mary comes from her being full of grace.”

She had, “no sin,” “no shortcomings,” and is “a perfect human example of what it means to be a Christian, what it means to be a follower of Christ.”

Father Jeff said, “From generation to generation, she has pulled together our Church as the beautiful model of Christianity whom we are called to be…

“It’s something about our Blessed Mother that we look to her, that we are drawn to forget our differences and recognize that we are of one faith.

“Our Blessed Mother truly is the mother to us, calling us together, as children of God.”

The Delegate General, as he finished his homily, recalled the visit of the International Centennial Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which had visited our island just recently, “It is good … to put into practice this gospel by her calling us to unity, calling us to be one Church.”

The festal Mass concluded with the veneration of the statue of the child Mary. The customary procession was postponed due to inclement weather.

Updated: September 18, 2017