Peace on Earth!
I. Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God is celebrated on January 1st. One of the most outstanding characteristics of Mary is her willingness to know and do God’s will. She reflected and meditated on events that happened. In our busy lives today, we often overlook reflection, meditation, prayer. Our Mass schedule at St. Stephen is 7:00am and 12:00noon. Though not obligatory, why not keep this festival of Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church?
II. “Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace” is the theme chosen for the Church’s 51st celebration of World Day of Peace! January 1, 2018. “In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.” Only for a dire reason would one choose to leave his/her homeland. People also migrate because they “desire a better life, and not infrequently trying to leave behind the ‘hopelessness’ of an unpromising future” (Benedict XVI, 2013 World Day of Migrants and Refugees). What is my attitude toward immigrants and refugees?
III. Are You Aware of the Stain Glass Window of Francis Xavier Cabrini in our Cathedral? This year marks the one hundredth anniversary of her death. On November 13, 2018, we will remember this remarkable woman, who devoted her life to the service of immigrants in the United States. She taught us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our sisters and brothers into our communities and hearts. Can we dedicate 2018 to becoming more welcoming to those who are in our area because their own homelands are war-torn and dying? Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini, pray for us!
IV. Epiphany Vespers & International Potluck: Everyone is invited to our fifth annual Epiphany Vespers at 4:00pm on Sunday, January 7th, in church, followed by a potluck in the Vaughan Community Center at 5:00pm. Please bring a dish from your country of origin! The parish will provide drinks, unless you would like to bring your own bottle of wine! The Magi—the soothsayers, seekers, searchers, wise men, kings—will journey into our midst with a traditional king cake! If you would like to assist in this fun parish gathering, contact Lupe Ellis (270. 240. 2153), who is coordinating our Epiphany potluck.
V. Influential Convert to Catholicism: born into a wealthy Episcopalian family, Elizabeth Ann Seton lost her husband at an early age, leaving her with five small children. An Italian Catholic family greatly influenced her interest in the Catholic Church, a commitment which was not well received by her husband’s family. Aware of the need for immigrants to be educated, she founded a girls’ school in Baltimore, which gave rise to the Catholic Parish school system in the USA. She was canonized a saint by Pope Paul VI in 1975. The Church celebrates her feast day on Wednesday, January 4th. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us!
VI. Welcome Back: If you would like to reconnect or deepen your relationship with the Catholic Church, there will be an informal gathering on Thursday, January 4 at 6:00pm in our Media Center (use the back door to our office building). Come with your questions, hurts, concerns to share with us. God works in peoples’ lives at different times and ways –when we are ready! Bring someone with you!