A Message from Fr. Hurley (January 8, 2023)

News January 4, 2023

Merry Christmas,

This may be the last time I can say that until next year. The Christmas season ends tomorrow when the church celebrates the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, but today is Epiphany Sunday, and in some countries this day has greater significance than Christmas Day!

While it remains the Christmas season, Epiphany means we are nearing the end of our time to contemplate the greatest gift of all, the Incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ. We must place this Epiphany within a proper perspective of our growth in this life with God.

It is important to distinguish our understanding of epiphany from modern usage of the word. Modern usage implies an individual insight into something. In our celebration of the Incarnation of God we celebrate THE Epiphany. This is an objective fact pronounced to the world. The Epiphany shown to the kings and shepherds is the event to change the world, it is the source of all joy, hope and salvation, God incarnate.

We are called to pronounce in our own way this same objective fact. God became one of us. God loves us so much that he came to be with us. Each time we come to Mass we are sent out to, “Go in peace glorifying the Lord by your lives.” This is our mission. We are sent to do for others what Jesus did for us. He gives Himself to us, we give ourselves away. We give ourselves to others. As the Mass is the Church’s continuation of the Incarnation, our missionary lives, giving ourselves away, is the continuation of the Epiphany.

Speaking of the Mass, the Christmas Eve and Day Masses were really, really great. All the Masses were filled and the 4 p.m. Mass, both upstairs and downstairs, was mobbed. Despite the fact that many of the folks are not always with us, I am grateful for the opportunity to welcome everyone back into God’s presence. These are opportunities for us to give ourselves to others by welcoming them, engaging them, and perhaps inviting them back. This is evangelization and our way of living out the Epiphany we celebrate. If you saw someone you know at Christmas Mass but do not usually see them at church, go out of your way to invite them back!

The church, up and down, inside and out, looked great for Christmas. Thanks to everyone who helped make it look great and to those who maintained it. Of course, the music was awesome. We have a great choir, thank you to Jane O’Keefe and company.

The Saint Joseph Guild has been busy making the gathering room more inviting and comfortable for all. Thus far, the ceiling and walls have been refinished. I wish to thank our paint contractor for donating the materials. It already looks great and there is more to come, namely, real tables, flooring and more. As we are painting we may jump ahead and complete desperately needed painting in the Saint Mary Chapel.

I hope everyone is adjusting to the new Mass schedule. As far as I am concerned, this is a starting point. There may be adjustments to be made once we get a full range of experience with the new schedule. Thank you for your patience.

In all, Christmas went very well here at Saint Mary parish. Advent and Christmas were busy, but in a prayerful, holy way. God is so good to us!

Merry Christmas,
Fr. Hurley