January 7, 2018

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and the princes are home,
With 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 brothers,

To make music in the heart.

(Howard Thurman)

I.  Epiphany Vespers & International Potluck:  everyone is invited to our 5th Annual Epiphany Celebration on Sunday, January 7, at 4:00pm for Vespers (Evening Prayer) lead by our music ministry, followed by a potluck at 5:00pm. We ask you to bring a dish from your country of origin! The parish will provide the drinks (unless you would like to bring your own bottle of wine)! We will be visited by three Kings with a traditional King Cake! If you would like to assist in this fun gathering, contact Lupe Ellis, 270/240-2153.

II.  Our Christian Tattoo!  Our Christian identity is indelibly imprinted, like a tattoo, upon our hearts at Baptism. Not only is all sin (original and all other) washed away, it is the divine life of Jesus (grace) given to us, but we are welcomed into a Christian community of faith. Being part of a community has its give-and-take just like being part of any family. Why was Jesus baptized?

III. College Students and Faith! On as you return to your respective colleges/universities, I encourage you to connect with the Catholic campus ministry there (formerly known as Newman Centers). Why not get involved in a scripture study or a campus out reach!?  You will never regret investing in your faith. It’s always good to celebrate Eucharist with you at our Cathedral! You are always welcome!

IV.  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 more deeply 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 4 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.

V.  Cathedral “Keeping Safe & Secure” Porch Campaign: I can’t tell you how many visitors over the Christmas season told me how beautiful our Cathedral is! Our next step is to replace our sandstone porch.  Our “Porch” Committee has been working hard developing plans, and our Capital Campaign Committee will roll out our financial strategy soon. On behalf of our Cathedral faith community, I am grateful to parishioners who have continued to contribute toward “Keeping Safe & Secure” endeavor. Your generosity inspires and humbles me!  No gift is too large or small!

VI.  “We Never Become Poor by Sharing What We Have.” What a joy to experience all the Giving Tree tags taken so quickly and the gifts given to someone less fortunate. Inspiring as well are parishioners who, aware of their abundant blessings, chose to share those blessings with the needy in various ways.  Your generosity never ceases. From our early collections for disaster relief up through the Giving Tree—you continued to share what you have. As your pastor, I am grateful for your faithfulness to Sunday Eucharist, your involvement in liturgical ministries and committees, your growing sense of hospitality, and your unselfish outreach—all of which are expressions of your solid commitment of faith. Together we can build a strong community of faith!

VII. Wedding Bells Are Ringing!  Congratulations to those who became engaged this time of year. 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. So that you are not rushed in preparing for this most important commitment in your life, contact your parish at least 9-12 months ahead of the your intended wedding date. You may also the following website helpful: www.marriagepreparation.com.  Congratulations!

VIII. Arts at the Cathedral: the original purpose of a cathedral was to draw people to God through the sacred Liturgy (Sacraments, Prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, etc.), 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, created with imagination and skill, lifts the heart and mind to God. Our Marketing/Communication Committee has created an Arts at the Cathedral Fund to sponsor concerts (e.g. the Owensboro Chamber Symphony, Kentucky Wesleyan Singers and Chorale, Owensboro Community Technical College, etc.) and the like. If you are interested, you can contribute on our webpage, https://ststephen.wpengine.com, through WeShare, or contact the parish office, 270/683-6525 to speak with James Wells.