Waiting for the January thaw!......even though our days are getting longer as we proceed towards Spring I am still waiting for the January thaw, it should be here soon or maybe even this weekend.

This past week I received my official letter from Cardinal Sean indicating the ending of my assignment here as Administrator on March 1, 2018. He also said in the letter that I could take some time off (some place out of the cold ((my words)) after that date). The news of Fr. Erikson’s appointment continues to receive a positive response from all parishioners who have spoken with me and fellow priests in our area. He will be meeting with Pastoral Staff members on Monday and will have a tour of our facilities. I am sure all members of our Pastoral Staff will be most helpful, cooperative and open to new leadership, ideas and a shared vision for our future as a Catholic Community of Faith here in Winchester. May the Holy Spirit continue to grant all the gifts needed and bless not only Fr. Erikson in his new pastoral assignment but also our Pastoral Staff and parishioners as we continue to
contribute to the long history of Saint Mary’s Parish.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism at the 10 a.m. Mass. The five children: Ava, Miles, Olivia, Lucy and Miles and their parents, godparents and Christian witnesses were all blessed by God in many special ways with this sacrament. Baptism is the foundational sacrament in our lives as Christians. Often as adults we may always appreciate how significantBaptism is in our lives. Not only is original sin forgiven (actual sins for adults), we are incorporated into the Body of Christ and the Promise of ternal Life is shared with us. This sacrament of initiation begins our journey of faith which we try to live out through our entire lives as Christ has taught us by loving God and loving our neighbor. Some may set aside their Baptismal faith to pursue a purely secular life  without reference to who they are called to be. At times we see in our political, financial and educational institutions a hostile attitude towards persons of faith. At times we believe we can neatly separate our fundamental beliefs in the truths of the Gospels from the challenges of our times. Gospel values and truth ought to animate, guide and inform what we do in all aspects of our lives.  How we treat our neighbors, how we keep holy the Sabbath, how we care for the elderly/infirm/sick, how we care for the dying, how we
protect children, how we keep our promises, how we provide assistance to others, how we shelter the homeless and all the other complex social realities of life. For Catholics and other Baptized Christians, Matthew’s Gospel indicates that whatever we do for the least among us we do for him (Jesus Christ). Adult Baptism informs our decision making. I am not advocating for a theocracy but rather a more integrated adult life of faith as Baptized Catholics and Christians. May the Lord strengthen and bless all members and families of Saint Mary Parish.