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Young Adults Welcome the New Year

By Denis Grasska

SAN DIEGO — As an alternative to the party scene, many young adult Catholics from the diocese chose to ring in the New Year with prayer and fellowship.

They gathered on Dec. 31 at Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Little Italy for Eucharistic adoration at 9 p.m., followed by Mass at 10 p.m. A New Year’s Eve party was held from 11 p.m.-2 a.m. in the parish hall.

Some 100 young adults attended the Mass. About 70 were at the party.

Now in its seventh year, the alternative New Year’s celebration has become an annual tradition in the Diocese of San Diego. One of the organizers of its inaugural year, Alex De Paulis, was ordained to the priesthood last June and presided over this year’s Mass.

His concelebrants included Barnabite Fathers Joseph Tabigue and Louis Solcia, the pastor and associate pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary, respectively; Augustinian Father Mark Menegatti; and Father Pedro Rivera.

Because Dec. 31 is the vigil of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Father De Paulis used his homily to reflect on what the Church teaches us about the Blessed Mother and to encourage a deeper relationship with her.

He quoted St. Maximilian Kolbe, who instructed the faithful that they should never be afraid of loving Mary too much, because no one can love her more than Jesus did.

“Try to love her more than Jesus did,” Father De Paulis said. “I dare you!”

Father De Paulis also cautioned against the belief that Marian devotion somehow competes with the worship of God.

“Mary does not distract us from God or take away any glory or praise from God,” he explained. “She leads us straight to Jesus.”

He urged those attending the New Year’s celebration to recognize and emulate Mary’s “simple, absolute surrender to the will of God.” Like us, he said, she did not always understand what God was doing or where He was leading her, but she accepted His will.

He encouraged the young adults to ask Mary to be their mother, explaining that she is always there for them and willing to provide comfort, guidance and encouragement.

“Maybe this can be a good start for some of us in 2015, this deep conscious awareness of Mary’s presence with us at all times, asking her to be our mother ... and speaking to her in tender moments of our lives when [we] need a mother there,” he said. “Maybe our mothers can’t be physically there with us. Mary can.”

“What is it you need in your life, in your own heart, in these moments as we finish out 2014 and as we’re about to break upon 2015?” he asked as he drew his homily to a close. “What is it you need in your life ... to take that extra step to live more for Christ this 2015, to have a good — a new — start? Whatever it is, speak it to Mary and to Jesus.”

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