December 24, 2017

I.  The Mystery of the Incarnation: God sending His only begotten Son to us as a baby, born of Mary; God taking on our humanity so that we can share His divinity. Jesus born 2000+ years ago in Bethlehem, Jesus will come in glory at the end of time, Jesus with us now as Emmanuel, and God with us always. Christmas Mass Schedule at St. Stephen Cathedral is as follows: Sunday, December 24th, 4:00PM and 11:00PM (the choir will be singing some lovely hymns and choral pieces before Mass) and Monday, December 25th, 8:00AM and 10:00AM. (There will also be a 7:00PM Mass Christmas Eve at Blessed Sacrament Chapel at 7th & Sycamore Sts. on Sunday, the 24th). This is the best gift of all!

II.  Welcome College Students and Visitors! On behalf of our St. Stephen Cathedral faith community, I welcome everyone home, whether geographically or spiritually, for this significant Feast of the Incarnation, God becoming one of us through Jesus. It’s always good to celebrate Eucharist with you at our Cathedral! EVERYONE is welcome!

III. Is It Time To Re-Connect? There are many reasons, I find, why people have left or wandered away from the Catholic Church: some have been hurt, some are disillusioned, some lack information or formation, some simply have grown slothful (spiritually lazy), some are searchers, etc. Whatever the reason, it might be time for you to re-connect with the Catholic Church. If this is good timing for you to join us, do not hesitate to contact Fr. Jamie Dennis (Assistant Pastor), Donna Murphy (Director of Faith Formation), or myself. We would consider it a privilege to sit and listen.  You are also invited to an informal gathering on Thursday, January 4th at 6:00PM in our Media Center (come to the back door of the office; enter from the parking lot behind our church building). Bring a friend! Think about it. Talk about it. Pray about it.

IV.  Open House at the Cathedral Rectory: while many folks will take down their Christmas tree and decorations on December 26, we are just getting started!  Fr. Jamie and I invite you to an Open House at our rectory on Saturday, December 30th from 6:30-8:30PM. We will serve heavy hors d’oeurves and assorted beverages. Drop by 614 Locust Street to celebrate our blessings of friendship and faith!

V.  Wedding Bells Are Ringing!  Congratulations to those newly engaged this Christmas season. It’s an exciting time for you!  If you choose to be married within the Sacrament of Marriage, the best response is to call the parish office immediately after you are engaged to ask for an appointment with a priest.  Even though our official Diocesan policy states a six month preparation period, that is the minimum, and it is much better to contact the Church sooner, so that you are not rushed in preparing for this most important commitment in your life. You may also the following website helpful:  Congratulations!

VI.  Cathedral “Keeping Safe & Secure” Porch Campaign: we still have visitors who tell us how much they appreciate the beauty of our renewed and restored church building. I thank you for your wonderful generosity in paying off that debt. Our next step is to replace our sandstone porch, which is demanding our attention. Our “Porch” Committee has been working hard to make this happen, and our Capital Campaign Committee will roll out our plan in January!  On behalf of our Cathedral faith community, I am grateful to parishioners who have continued to contribute toward this endeavor. Your generosity inspires and humbles me!  No gift is too large or small!

VII.  Arts at the Cathedral: the original purpose of a cathedral was to draw people to God through the sacred Liturgy  and Sacred Art.  “Beauty is truth, and Truth is beauty” as we are reminded by John Keats in his poem “Ode To A Grecian Urn.” Art is created with imagination and skill, and art that is noble lifts the heart and mind to God, especially music. We have created an Arts at the Cathedral Fund  to sponsor concerts. The next event in our series is March 4th, 4:00PM, with the Owensboro Symphony Chamber Orchestra. If you are interested, you can contribute on our webpage through WeShare, or contact the parish office, 270/683-6525 and speak with James Wells.

VIII.  “LOVE makes our friends a little dearer.” “JOY makes our hearts a little lighter. FAITH makes our paths a little clearer. HOPE makes our lives a little brighter. PEACE brings us all a little nearer.”  The mystery of Christmas/Incarnation invites us to open our senses to the Word made flesh—Jesus. Let this Christmas not only be a time for family and friends but also a time for the Lord to be born more deeply into our hearts and lives. What a difference it makes to see and experience everything through the lens of faith. Invite a friend! On behalf of the Parish Pastoral Team and Council, and Fr. Jamie Dennis, I wish you a Christmas season that sinks deeply into your soul!