Laudetur Jesus Christus!
Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Praised be Jesus Christ!
The Patronal Feast Day of a parish is an important event in the life of a parish. The Annunciation, March 25, is the Patronal Feast Day of Old St. Mary’s because Our Lady, under the title of the Annunciation, is the patron and protector of our parish. Not only our parish in the sense of the building, but the protector of our small little territory that makes up a part of Over-the-Rhine, and also all of the homes of those who call Old St. Mary’s their parish who come from afar.
The Annunciation, the event in time in which the Son of God became man, is one of the central teachings of the Faith. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that the entirety of the Faith can be summarized in what we believe about the Trinity and the Incarnation. Incarnation is a word that comes from the Latin word caro, meaning flesh. For us, Incarnation means to become flesh. It is the mystery in which the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, became man.
He became man not for the sake of becoming man, but because God loved humanity so much that he wanted to share all things with us. Christ desired to reveal God to us in a very real way, by God becoming man, so that we could have the opportunity to share life with God in Heaven. Christ desired to take what was ours so that He could give to us what was His. The Incarnation is the point in time and in humanity in which Heaven truly does meet earth. The Annunciation also shows us what God can do with the world, if we but say yes to Him as Mary did.
On March 25, 1841, 174 years ago, Old St. Mary’s took on the role of saying yes to God, so that God could use this Church to do great things. She has never wavered in her commitment to the Lord. God can continue to use this parish to do great things for Over-the-Rhine, an area in desperate need of the Incarnate Lord, and all of Cincinnati if we each remain open to the prompting of the Lord upon our hearts. We each need to be reminded of the generosity that we are called to. A generosity of heart that Mary exhibited in her simple yes to God. A generosity of heart that those who came before us in these pews exhibited in the building up of this parish. Do we have the same generosity of heart to always say yes to God for the good of our parish? Do we follow after the example of the patronal event of our parish in our willingness to say yes to God? God can and will use this parish for greatness, but only if we are each willing to say yes to Him.