1. Coming soon, on December 8, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day of obligation. The Virgin Mary under this title is the patroness of the United States. The feast celebrates that from Mary’s conception in the womb of St. Ann, she was free from Original Sin. Because the feast is so significant to the United States, the obligation to attend Mass on this day remains though it falls on a Saturday.
2. The Annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection is Dec. 8-9 in parishes nationwide. The blog posts on the USCCB site today will feature reflections of John Fialka, former Wall Street Journal reporter and currenteditor of ClimateWire, an internet newsletter on climate change, and FatherJames Martin, SJ, contributing editor of America and author, Dec. 6.
3. Discussions about poverty in the abstract are fine, but poverty becomes real when you look at the numbers. In its latest annual report, Catholic Charities notes that it provided food services to 7,146,490 people in one year. The same year it also provided for other basic needs for 1,942,199 people, including emergency financial assistance (not rent, mortgage,etc.), clothing assistance, utilities assistance and assistance with purchase of prescriptions.
4. With the pope joining Twitter some papal proclamations will be a mere 140 characters long. Kudos to Pope Benedict XVI for joining the online community. You can send him aquestion at #askpontifex
5. God loves you.