It's been another busy week here in the postulancy of the Daughters of St. Paul! The biggest thing that happened this week was the Baby Jesus Birthday Party that took place this past Saturday, December 8. The Baby Jesus Birthday Party is an opportunity for children of all ages to come and celebrate Jesus' birth. They can dress up as Joseph, Mary, shepherds, or angels and have their picture taken with Baby Jesus. There's face-painting, coloring, clowns, music, and birthday cake. This year we estimate that we had over two hundred kids who came to celebrate with us.
We all played a different part in the day: Alina took pictures of the children with Baby Jesus; Sr. Carmen and Julia, among other things, played guitar and sang Advent and Christmas songs with them; and I helped to dress them in their costumes. We also had many wonderful volunteers who came to help us. It was a beautiful way to share with the kids the real reason for Christmas, as well as to expose them to the life of Sisters. We are grateful to everyone who helped with the party, and especially to our dear Baby Jesus and His Blessed Mother who kept the day going for us! (And we hope you enjoy the pictures above!)
The feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe was this past Wednesday, and we celebrated in two ways. On Sunday we went to a Mass at one of the Hispanic parishes here. They had a beautiful bilingual Mass with dancers and a man dressed as Juan Diego. After the Mass there a "fiesta" including lunch (tamales!), dancing, and a pinata!
Then on Wednesday, some of us went to St. Cecilia's, another Hispanic parish, to participate in the "mananitas" to Our Lady. The mananitas are a tradition, especially prominent in Mexico and Latin America, where the people honor Our Lady by serenading her. At the mananitas we attended, there was an altar with a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe beautifully decorated with roses that the people brought for her. They sang touching songs to her and prayed the rosary. It was a new experience for me, and a very beautiful one.
Also on Wednesday, we had a lecture night here at the bookcenter. Fr. Lockwood from nearby Assumption parish came to speak about Catholic apologetics. It was very interesting: he really delved into the history of apologetics in the Church, and what it means to be a Catholic apologist.
Tonight is our Faith and Film Night, and our last bookcenter event for 2007! Pretty soon you'll be hearing about our plans for 2008!
We continue to celebrate the Advent season in a spirit of waiting and anticipation of the coming of Jesus. I'm currently reading a book called Mary, Human and Holy by Antonio Bello, and I was struck by the chapter in which the author described Mary as a "woman in waiting." He says, "'To wait' is the flip side of the verb 'to love.' In Mary's vocabulary, to wait always meant to love.... Accepting is sometimes a sign of resignation, but waiting is always a sign of hope" (p. 25-27). Let us remain united with Mary and with one another as we wait during this holy season.
Mary, Queen of the Apostles, pray for us! See you next week -- may God bless you!