This will be the last time I can use that greeting for almost a year. As we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, our Christmas season comes to a close. I hope this Christmas season brought you closer to the Lord in some way.
The Christmas season went well in the parish despite the continued COVID issues and difficult weather on Christmas Eve and Day. I want to thank everyone who got involved in making our worship space in both the upper and lower churches so well suited for praising and worshipping our Lord during this sacred Christmas season. I thought the Christmas lights and plants were both simple and elegant. It truly represented the spirit of our worship.
I want to recognize the wonderful effect of the choir’s return to worship during Christmas Masses. I wish to thank everyone involved in the wonderful music and the sacrifices made for rehearsal time. The music enhanced our worship and praise of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Thank you to the lectors, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers and ushers. I am always impressed how folks come forward especially while coping with the restrictions and issues of this COVID period.
Disciples in Action was an exciting development during this Christmas season. This newly formed outreach effort accomplished some awesome charitable works. Working groups formed to target very diverse needs in our area. This is the first step of a permanent effort to be attentive to the needs of those around us. Personally, you may have vital information about a need that is not being met. An example is the need some have, perhaps seniors, for assistance with utilizing the internet. There are many needs out there.
There is much to learn from these months and perhaps years of COVID impacts to our church. I pray we will emerge stronger and more devoted to the important aspects of our faith life that include worship and evangelization to those around us. I remain excited to continue the mission of the Year of the Eucharist. I encourage everyone to take some time and visit the small gallery display of Eucharistic Miracles. There is a small installation in the upper church and a larger display in the gathering room outside the lower church. The display changes every two or three months. I suspect many do not know about these extraordinary and miraculous moments that are true gifts for our faith.
The future should be a time of renewed excitement for our community and our mission. There will be many challenges ahead but I believe they will help us in our journey as His disciples in knowing His Way, His Truth, and His Life.
One immediate challenge for me is Fr. Augustin’s annual journey home to Cameroon. I highly support this trip for Fr. Augustin. I cannot imagine the challenge of being so far away from family and friends and the extraordinary travel involved to journey home. Fr. Augustin will begin his travel in mid-January and will be gone for at least six weeks. I must adjust the schedule to meet the parish needs as the only priest.
While Fr. Augustin is away there will be no daily Mass on Monday and Tuesday. I have spoken to my fellow priests at surrounding parishes and they welcome folks to celebrate Mass with them on Mondays and Tuesdays. Other changes to parish routines may become necessary. In general, I ask folks to be patient with me and the staff (which remains shorthanded due to financial constraints). I appreciate your understanding and patience.
Peace be with you all,