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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward a doctorate in liturgical theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“In spite of what it is currently called, the music of these songs is not modern: this musical style is not new, but has been played in the most profane places and surroundings (cabarets, music halls, often for more or less lascivious dances with foreign names). The people are led on to rock or swing. They all feel an urge to dance about. That sort of “body language” is certainly alien to our Western culture, unfavorable to contemplation and its origins are rather suspect. Most of the time our congregations, which already find it hard not to confuse the crochets and the quavers in a 6/8 bar, do not respect the rhythm; then one no longer feels like dancing, but with the rhythm gone to pieces, the habitual poorness of the melodic line becomes all the more noticeable.”
— Unnamed choirmaster (Northern France) circa 1986

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The Hope of Sinners
published 8 December 2012 by Fr. David Friel

OSES. KING DAVID. Mother Teresa. John Paul II. Martha Washington. Nero. Queen Victoria. Joe DiMaggio. Venus Williams. Paul McCartney. Father Friel.

What’s the link? What do all those folks have in common? Are they all Biblical characters? No. Do they all share the same birthday? No. Were they all left-handed? No. So what do they all have in common? They’re all sinners! Every last one of them is a sinner.

In fact, you could add almost any name to that list, and they’d fit right in. One notable exception is Jesus. He wasn’t a sinner. But, then again, He’s God. If that were it, though—if Jesus were the only exception—something would be missing. After all, Jesus isn’t even a human person. He’s a Divine Person, Who took to Himself a human nature. So, if He were the only man ever to live without sin, there would really be no reason for hope.

But God is very wise, and, in the fullness of time, He planned to do something extraordinary. He planned to create a human being who would be sinless. He planned to create a human person, as the Letter to the Ephesians puts it, “without blemish.” He planned the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

By the Immaculate Conception, we mean the singular privilege given to Mary whereby she was preserved from any stain of sin from the moment of her conception onward. At no point has she ever borne the guilt of sin, because God, foreseeing Jesus’ death on the Cross, applied the merits of His Sacrifice to Mary in advance. That’s why Mary has rightly been called “nature’s solitary boast.” She is the only human person ever to have been immaculately conceived.

Moses. King David. Mother Teresa. John Paul II. Martha Washington. Nero. Queen Victoria. Joe DiMaggio. Venus Williams. Paul McCartney. Father Friel. Yes, we’re all sinners. But there’s hope for each of us. Why? Because, if God could create Mary as the Immaculate Conception, He can re-create all of us so that we might be “without blemish” in heaven.

In the words of the Miraculous Medal Novena: “O Mary, conceived without sin: pray for us, who have recourse to Thee!”