Epiphany—a Revelation, a Manifestation: people diligently search for love, acceptance, meaning, success, and fulfillment. Left to our own seeking, we almost always come up short. We need guidance, others’ wisdom, perseverance. But we also need the Light that is Christ, a Light that leads us beyond ourselves to seek diligently for the things that are of God. Vespers (official prayer of the Church) will be said at 4:00 p.m.; Epiphany Party at 5:00 p.m.—bring a dish from your family of origin!
What Does Your Baptism Mean To You? Because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, the feast of the baptism of Jesus is celebrated on Monday, January 9th. Why is John baptizing; why is Jesus baptized? They were Baptized to show solidarity with our humanity; to give an example to us; to officially begin His public ministry? Regardless, Baptism gives us a share in the life of Jesus, makes us adopted children of God, and sends us into the world to proclaim God’s name. This baptism is a powerful sign that we belong to God; however, it must be received and lived to make a difference.
Mary & Joseph, and Jesus—Refugees in a Foreign Land: the truth is that our country is made up of immigrants from many lands; the United States is a “melting pot” of nations! Our moral tradition calls on all people of faith and goodwill to stand up in defense of life and human dignity; it’s a fundamental calling for us as Catholics. Welcoming the immigrant and migration more broadly has a central place in the development of the Judeo Christian tradition. Stories in both the Old (Jewish Scriptures) and the New Testament (Christian Scriptures) highlight the fact that in providing hospitality to the stranger, we might also be unwittingly entertaining angels (Hebrews 13:2; Genesis 18:1–15). January 8–15 is National Migration Week.
Parish Retreat:reserve the last weekend of March for a parish retreat. This less than 48 hour experience could change your life! It certainly will deepen your faith and deepen your sense of community. Beginning on Friday evening about 5:30 p.m., and ending on Sunday afternoon about 4:30 p.m., this Koinonia (Greek word for “community”) retreat is based on the Paschal Mystery, the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Taylor and Kaitlyn West are the Co-Lay Directors, and Carl Lewis is the Assistant Lay Director. Could it be that this Lent, March 24–26, is the perfect time for a faith lift? Think about it. Talk about it. Pray about it.
New Parish in Todd County: about 16 months ago, one of the two small parishes in Todd County burned these two parishes are merging into one new parish, named St. Francis of Assisi. It will cost $1.3 million. If anyone would like to contribute toward this new parish, please drop a check “marked” into the collection basket, or send to the parish office. A “matching” funds check for $50,000 could morph into $100,000! This would go a long way for the Catholics of Todd County! Be as generous as you can!
Cathedral Ministry Conference: every other year, rectors from across the United States and beyond, gather to discuss, listen, and learn about the unique role and ministry of the Cathedral. In 2015 people from 78 Cathedrals, 38 states, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, came together to strengthen, improve and appreciate Cathedral ministries nationwide. Pray for me as I participate in this biennial conference in Santa Fe, NM, on January 9–13, 2017.
Gratitude: as we officially end our liturgical season of Christmas, I want to thank you for your many acts of kindness and thoughtfulness in the form of Christmas cards, gifts, goodies, gift cards, and prayers. Whether to the pastoral team as a whole, or personal, I am grateful for you. Thank you for your participation in our parish! Now that the Christmas season is over, I will leave you with a poem by Howard Thurman which challenges us in 2017:
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace Among people,
To make music in the heart.