Catholics in the United States were dispensed this year from the obligation to celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, by attending Mass on January 1. But what better way to start the new year than with Mass?
Ann and I went to the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati, where Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr presided at Mass for World Peace Day at 11 a.m. (mercifully late for the day after New Year's Eve). The popes have been declaring World Peace Day on January 1 since 1968.
This year, Pope Benedict set the theme as "Religious Freedom: Path to Peace." Archbishop Schnurr, in his homily, noted that the Church upholds the right of religious freedom for all, not just for Catholics.
But the archbishop also called our attention to an often-overlooked promise by Jesus in the Last Supper Discourse, John 14:27: "My peace I live with you, my peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you." In other words, all real peace comes through Jesus, whom we continue to celebrate in this Christmas season as Prince of Peace.
I wish you God's peace and all good in this Year of Our Lord 2011. Or as our Franciscan friends say in the native language of St. Francis, pace e bene.