| By Bishop Steven J. Raica

‘With Our Lady to Guide and Accompany Us …’

Bishop Raica Celebrates Rorate Mass

On Dec. 10, Bishop Raice celebrated a Rorate Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul. The Mass marked the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. The complete text of his homily follows herein.

My sisters and brothers, at this early hour, on a Saturday morning in December, we awake early to pay humble tribute to our Blessed Mother on this her feast day today. Yes, today, we commemorate Our Lady of Loreto, during this Advent season. It is of special importance to me because almost 50 years ago, I served as organist and choirmaster at Our Lady of Loretto parish in Detroit. Today, you, too, are welcomed on this special Advent journey that awakens the longings and yearnings of our hearts to be with Jesus and Mary, our mother, for all eternity.

Three feast days of our Lady line up on the 8th, 10th, and 12th. The Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Loreto, and Our Lady of Guadalupe. They serve as a further reminder that underneath the coming of Christ, Our Lady is always nearby undergirding the foundation of this evocative season. We cannot contemplate Christ’s coming without Mary. Mary’s mission is not complete, without a very special relationship to Christ. We would not even know about her without Christ.

Today our Rorate Mass echoes once again the Entrance Antiphon, we prayed as we began: “Drop down dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain down the Just One; let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior.”

Certainly, this was true of the earth at the time. It waited for the right set of circumstances to welcome and bring forth a Savior. At the same time, our Lady was being prepared for this noble task to welcome into her womb, her very self, the gift of God, the Savior of the World, Jesus our Lord.  

We come in darkness carrying our light to light the way. During this Mass, light that illuminates our cathedral through the many candles here and in our our congregation begins to taunt the darkness and push it away to reveal through revelation the closeness of God to us. We need not be afraid of the dark because the Light of Christ has truly come to us. Anyone who receives our Lord, Who is Christ our Light, is pushing away the darkness, the fear, and the night allowing the Light of Christ to shine ever more brightly in our world today.

My dear sisters and brothers, we are on an amazing journey. It is not always an easy journey. There are detours, distractions, and discomforts that we will have to face along the path of our discipleship. We are reminded again that light has overcome the darkness and the night. Christ has overcome the world. We need not be afraid for Emmanuel is with us. 

With the freedom given to us as a gift, may we open our hearts, our minds, our lives to Christ our Light. With our Lady to guide and accompany us on this amazing journey of faith, may she lead us to all that is in store for us through our faithful response to God’s invitation to acknowledge the One He sent and to follow Him wherever He might lead.

During this short Advent season – four brief weeks – we are filled with joyful hope and expectation that the heavens will rain down the just One and the Savior will blossom on the earth. Afterall, as we search for God, God is searching also for us. It is God’s dream that we would recognize Him when and wherever He is and follow Him to our ultimate destiny – union with Him forever. May God bless you all!