Dear Parish Family:
There may be too much to say in this brief column this week with Thanksgiving right around the corner along with the start of Advent next Sunday. First of all, I have been happy to share this bulletin space with our other clergy and staff, who are working hard for the Kingdom of God. We are blessed to have all of them! They want to share with all of you what is going on from their view of parish life and I think they have been doing that well these past weeks. This makes our parish life so much richer; having all the gifts and talents of so many people all working to advance the mission of Jesus right here in Flemington.
Next Sunday we will celebrate the uniting glue of everything we do at St. Magdalen's: We will gather around our Eucharistic Lord and give Him honor, praise and worship. Every activity in our parish is to come to a halt in order to provide some intentional time of reflection, prayer, praise and worship of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. The more I live my life as a priest and as a man who has decided to follow Christ with my life, the more I realize how important sincere, sustained and open prayer before the Lord really is. Unless I am having a regular conversation with Christ and being united with Him in Holy Communion and going to regular confession, I find my energy waning for all the right things. I too, get distracted by so many demands on my time, deadlines, expectations and over commitments. When I bring my heart to Him, I find the real reason for my life.
This is what we hope to do during 40 hours of Devotion to the Eucharist. Starting next Sunday afternoon after the 1:30 Mass our Church will be a place of perpetual welcome and prayer for 40 hours. We will honor the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist through exposing Him in the monstrance on the altar. If you have never attended these days of prayer, or are unsure or unfamiliar with this type of devotion and worship, please come. Now is the perfect time to surrender more of your heart to Him. You will learn by being present and there will be prayer guides to help. Christ left us His very presence in the Sacrament of the Altar. Spending time with Him may seem unproductive, but it is really fuel for our soul to engage our lives more realistically with an eye to what is ultimate, to shift to what truly matters.
Each evening we will celebrate Evening Prayer or Vespers together at 7:00. This year I am happy to welcome Father Jarrod Lies as our preacher for these days. He is a pastor in the Diocese of Wichita Kansas and also the Director of Religious Education for his diocese. He is a gifted speaker. He loves the Lord and the priesthood and will have much to share with us. Please make every effort to set time aside to join for these times of communal prayer and preaching.
As we head into the season of Advent, we long with the whole Church for Christ to come again. We need Him to come into so many parts of our heart that is not yet converted. We all need a fresh start, we need hope, we need light, we need peace, we need Him.
Peace and Prayers in Mary's Advent Heart,