January 26, 2020 – Sunday of the Word of God (Third Sunday in Ordinary Time)

I.  Christian Unity: January 18-25, 2020 is the annual observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, whose theme chosen for 2020 is “They Showed Us Unusual Kindness” (Acts 28:2). Throughout 2020, join Christians everywhere in praying “that they may all be one” joining our prayer with that of the Lord Jesus Christ. For more information go to: www.geii.org. There will be a prayer service at 7:00pm on Sunday, January 26, 2020, here at the Cathedral, to pray for unity. A meal will be served at 5:30pm in the Community Center. Everyone is invited and bring a friend! Please RSVP for the meal to [email protected].

II.  Catholic Schools Week (January 26—February 1): our theme this year is again “Learn. Serve. Lead. SUCCEED.” Catholic Schools are a gift to our nation: based on the average public school per pupil cost of $11,841, Catholic schools provide $21 million in savings each year for our nation. In our Catholic Schools, students benefit all year long from the religious guidance, prayers, and support their parishes provide. The importance of service to others and to one’s parish is emphasized. Thanks to our Catholic School parishioners who are involved in serving as a liturgical minister at Mass. Our parish provides approximately $2,700 annually per student to assist parents who make the choice to send their child to our Catholic Schools. We do ask our families to be involved in the parish, to return a Stewardship form each year with areas of participation, to contribute monetarily on a regular basis through WeShare (this has been grandfathered in), and to be good PR people for our Catholic School system. Thank you for choosing our Catholic Schools!

III. Our Music Ministry: Recently Matthew Constant, longtime choir member and cantor, extended an invitation the entire parish to consider joining our music ministry at Saint Stephen! Music is an integral part of any Catholic Liturgy. There is a lot of flexibility in our music ministries. Lent is coming up, perhaps you would just like to challenge yourself and ‘try it on’ for a season. Furthermore, we are all called to share our gifts with the larger community. If you have felt this call to be part of our Music Ministry or know someone who has, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Director of Music, James Wells (270-852-8422, or [email protected]).

IV.  Baby Bottles for Birthright:  Last weekend, baby bottles were handed out after Masses to be returned this weekend to support our local Birthright (located on 7th Street next to our Youth House). There are still some bottles at the church doors if you do not have one; please place your donation in the baby bottle and return it to the parish office on Monday or Tuesday (please don’t leave in the church). Birthright “A Friend is Waiting” (birthright.org) offers an alternative to women in crisis pregnancies. Pope Francis and the Bishops call us to pray for healing for all those who have facilitated or participated in an abortion. Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat is a wonderful place to begin the healing process. There are retreats several times a year. For more information visit HopeAfterAbortion-KY.com or call Wendy, 270/474-4707 or [email protected].

V.  Cathedral Pre-School Registration: our Pre-School is the best—it has a FIVE STARS rating from the Commonwealth of Kentucky under the capable direction of Pam Weafer and her competent team of teachers and helpers, who create a “loving and caring environment.” Registration begins February 3 for us, and then open to the public on February 10. Our goal is to “get the children ready for school…so that in kindergarten they will be ahead of the game, have a leg-up.”  For class choices and prices, or for more information about the programs offered, visit cathedralpreschool.com or call 270-926-1652.

VI.  The Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (next Sunday, 2/2/2020) takes place 40 days after Christmas and within it, we find almost a second Epiphany, or Revelation of God. A few weeks ago we pondered the identity of this child who was honored by the magi as the divine King revealed by a star. Today,  we greet Christ as Anna and Simeon greeted the infant Jesus in the temple, by claiming Him as our Savior, our Consolation, our Light, our Joy.  Sometimes this feast is referred to as “Candlemas,” due to the tradition of the faithful bringing candles to be blessed that will be used throughout the coming year.  Imagine the depth of symbolism for the people of yesteryear who brought their source of light in the darkness ( candles) to be blessed as a reminder of the Light that illuminates all darkness (cf John 8:12).

VII. Abortion and Education: our United States Supreme Court, in the infamous Roe verses Wade case, voted to legalize abortion on January 22, 1973. This day, “which will live in infamy,” must be a day in which we re-double our efforts and be relentless in educating and communicating reconciliation for women as well as men. Today we continue to be advocates for life by passionately praying and assertively educating. We believe that once the egg and sperm have united to form that zygote, that life is sacred and must be protected. In addition to fervent prayer, we back up our belief by being pro-active. Please pray for our lawmakers to enact new laws that protect the unborn. May we not simply be pro-birth, but pro-life—offering help and support in raising a child. Abortion is a multi-layered social challenge. What do we offer a mother of a child who reaches Day One of Life?