Happy New Year! We started this New Year 2023 by celebrating Mary, the Holy Mother of God. And it is fitting because Mary is the Mother of the Redeemer and the redeemed as well.

Through her unconditional yes, God who is invisible became visible. That is our task this new year, to make God visible by putting him above all else in our lives and by becoming partners of God in transforming our world, creating new heavens and new earth. Like our Patroness, St. Agnes, at a young age she understood already that her life was not about herself but about God, to serve the plans and purpose of God. And God’s plan and purpose is our well being, our wholeness, our salvation. Jesus said that your joy may be complete and that you have fullness of life. On January 21st, we will celebrate the feast day of our Patroness and it is important that we imitate her by following her great love of Jesus and spreading her heroic life story. St. Agnes, also called Saint Agnes of Rome, virgin and patron saint of girls, is one of the most celebrated Roman martyrs. According to tradition, Agnes was a beautiful girl, about 12 or 13 years old, who refused marriage, stating that she could have no spouse but Jesus Christ.

Her suitors revealed her Christianity, which was condemned as a cult, and in punishment she was exposed in a brothel. Awed by her purity and presence, all but one of the Roman youths left her untouched; in his attempt to violate her, the sole attacker was miraculously struck blind,
whereupon Agnes healed him with prayer. Later, after refusing to renounce her faith, she was murdered during the persecution of the Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian and was buried beside the Via Nomentana. As we celebrate the New Year, let us imitate the virtue and courage of St. Agnes by making God visible in our lives through our faith, compassion, mercy and love.

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