Dear Parish Family:
I know it sounds cliché for me to tell you that "time is just flying by!" but that is exactly my experience. Since I have been involved in my full time studies here at Sacred Heart Seminary, it seems like all available time in the day is accounted for. My routine of study, prayer, meals, classes, sleep (never quite enough!) seems to always have me looking to my next deadline and working to meet it. I look up and it is already the next day . . . week . . . month!
I do have all of you on my mind. I pray every day, usually more than once, for you my parish family . . . "watch over them Lord and guide and protect them with your Holy Spirit." And I think of the many events that are going on at home and wish I could be part of them. I am so grateful to Father Jack, Father Joseph, Regina Edersheim and Geoff Stricklin for all of their extra effort and work while I am away. It is truly a generous and collaborative effort for the Kingdom.
I am especially thinking of the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving and our parishes feast. The "build-up" to the annual dinner, gathering enough turkeys, and watching the spirit of the parish come alive with an openness to generosity and gratitude is a sight to behold! The annual dinner began nearly thirty years ago with the inspiration and guidance of Sy and Rita Rafalko which continues to this day to unite people of the parish, people of other churches in our area, and members of our community to cooperate in giving thanks for God's blessings. This is a great tradition that speaks so well of all of you who participate and support it in any way.
I am also thinking of the Annual Forty Hours Devotion that will mark the beginning of the new liturgical year and the season of Advent. This has become a special time of prayer and re-commitment of our parish to the gift of Christ present in the Eucharist. The more I study, learn and discuss in my program here, the unanimous consensus is that the heart of the New Evangelization is conversion to Christ. Not an abstract idea of religious feelings or practices, or a program or book to read, but an encounter with the living Christ. In the celebration of Mass, in quiet hours of Eucharistic Adoration, He is present! Come Let us Adore Him and start today to give our lives to Him.
I am thinking of how time will quickly speed up right after Thanksgiving, as our minds get taken over with preparations for Christmas in the ways our world wants us to. We all get caught in that cycle to some degree. Let us start now to consider how we will intend to be counter cultural- how we will truly allow the celebration of Christmas to be a religious, supernatural event that pulls us out of the ordinary to recognize the extraordinary things that God has done and is doing for each of us.
I am grateful for this opportunity to grow in my knowledge of the faith, to see my priorities through the lens of God's call for me and to see how God has brought us together in this time. We have much to do, but it is really only one thing; Seek first the Kingdom of God!
Please remember in your prayers all the special intentions for renewal in our land, especially as we observe next week-end's Feast of Jesus Christ the King. All time, every land and nation belongs to Him. Let us work for religious liberty, for protection of all life, for the sanctity of marriage, for decent and just wages for all who labor and all who are in need of work, for protection in times of adversity, and recovery from the ravages of the storm. Let hope reign for God's tomorrow.
I look forward to seeing all of you face to face very soon.
May His Kingdom Come!