By ALLISON NICHOLS
During a special Mass in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 12, worshipers brought candles and flowers to leave at an image of the Blessed Mother and presented them in prayer.
The 5 a.m. liturgy, filled with color and joyous songs, was hosted by St. Rita Church on Preston Highway in Okolona. It began with mañanitas, a Mexican tradition of singing to celebrate special occasions.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrated the Mass, which coincided with the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday.
During his homily, which was provided in both Spanish and English, he reminded the congregation to rejoice now rather than waiting until there are no more problems.
“We need to remain right now in the present and enjoy God’s presence in our lives right now,” he said.
Archbishop Kurtz also discussed the three things one needs to do to be a good Catholic.
The first thing is to worship God, he said, noting that means putting God at the center of our lives instead of ourselves.
He said the second thing is to “announce the name of Jesus” by spreading the good news of Jesus Christ.
The third thing, he concluded, is “to want to serve others.”
Following his homily, Archbishop Kurtz offered the blessing of the Child in the Womb to the expectant mothers in attendance. He encouraged them to rejoice the same way Mary rejoiced with the good news to Elizabeth.