Happy New Year! When I taught at Xavier Elementary School, I stood in the hallways the Monday after the last Sunday of Ordinary Time all decked out with my New Year’s Eve hat and noisemaker, shouting Happy New Year! The students always got a kick out of it! Their initial reactions of amusement and confusion changed as it dawned on them that yes, in fact, the first day of Advent is the beginning of the Catholic Church’s New Year, not January 1.
Pope Francis has dedicated this church year as “The Year of Consecrated Life” in order to recognize the service provided to the world by those who live a consecrated life including Catholic sisters, nuns, priests, and brothers. The theme for the year is “Wake Up the World!” As a religious sister, I think this is a fitting theme for all Christians. As Christians we are called to start waking up to Jesus’ presence in each other and our world in preparation for His birth at Christmas.
I have already seen many examples in this past month as the USM community wakes up to the needs of others locally and internationally: listening to Alma Habib’s talk about Syrian Refugees and donating winter clothing items, serving at the Kansas City, Kansas food kitchen and our Leavenworth Community Meal, and packaging food for Ebola crisis centers in Liberia at our Feed the Need event. As we continue to wake up to Christ’s presence, others will be called to do the same.
Reflection by S. Rejane Cytacki, Assistant Campus Minister