"In the 8th century, Andrew of Crete was the first theologian to see a new creation in Mary's birth. This is how he reasoned: 'Today humanity, in all the radiance of her immaculate nobility, receives its ancient beauty. The shame of sin had darkened the splendor and attraction of human nature, but when the mother of the fair one par excellence is born, this nature regains in her person its ancient privileges and is fashioned according to a more perfect model truly worthy of God. ... The reform of our nature begins today and the aged world, subjected to a wholly divine transformation, receives the first fruits of the second creation' (Sermon I on the Birth of Mary)."
Pope John Paul II
May 15, 1996
Now, the personal...
Today is the 14th anniversary of the one and only episcopal ordination we've experienced in the Metuchen Diocese. On Sept. 8, 1997, Msgr. Vincent D. Breen was ordained and installed as the 3rd Bishop of Metuchen. I was a Deacon at the time, and my most vivid memory of the day was that I think I had some heat exhaustion. We were crammed into the sanctuary of St. Francis Cathedral, Bishops, Diocesan muckety-mucks, Servers, etc. Add to that a warm day and the heavy Holyrood dalmatics they had us vested in, and I could feel a headache and nausea sneaking up on me as the Mass went on. It wasn't until about 30 minutes into the reception at The Pines Manor that I began to come out of it (thanks to eating dinner rolls and sipping Diet Coke).
At the end of the evening (you know seminarians, we'll stay anywhere as long as there's free food), two of us who were going to be ordained Priests the following May introduced ourselves to the Bishop by saying we would be his first ordination class. His face lit up, he put his arms around the both of us, and said, "I'm very excited." I was just thankful I didn't throw up on him.