Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This is a moveable feast that most often falls on the Sunday between Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God (January 1st). It is a relatively new feast on our calendar. Following World War I, the chaos of daily life in Europe made its impact felt on the family structure. The feast of the Holy Family was created in 1921 to offer Christians an image of hope and holiness in family life, and to promote the welfare of children. In 1969 the feast was fixed to the Sunday between Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. It is a great way for us to continue our celebration of the wonderful feast of Christmas.
Our parish celebration of Christmas Day was certainly a grand one! Thank you to Sue Entwistle and our Liturgy Planning team who guided and planned our efforts. Dorothy Jaskey and our Art and Environment Committee members did a splendid job in transforming both the chapel and the church from Advent to Christmas in just a few hours on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Christmas Eve). Thank you to them for all of their work during these two seasons. Thank you to our Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Greeters, Ushers and Altar Servers for your dedicated service at our Christmas liturgies. A number of them attended one Mass with their families and then returned to a later Mass to serve in their particular ministry. Thank you to Karen Stefanic and our choir members, cantors and musicians. The Christmas Eve concert was very powerful. Many of them also did double duty so that our Christmas Masses would have appropriate leaders of music. Thank you to Dan Tobin and our parish facilities crew who kept the parking lot and sidewalks safe and clear of the Christmas eve snow. And thank you to you, our faithful parishioners, for your hospitality in welcoming the additional visitors and dealing with our limited parking resources at Christmas. We had three Christmas Eve vigil Masses at 4:00pm to begin our celebrations. I am grateful for your planning ahead and working with our limitations. We have entered the celebration of the season of Christmas very well.
On Monday, January 1st, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Normally this feast is a Holy Day of Obligation. In our country, though, the obligation is lifted whenever this feast falls on a Monday or a Saturday. Masses for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God will be celebrated on Sunday, December 31st at 5:00pm and 6:30pm (Spanish) and on January 1st at 8:30am, 10:00am and 11:30am (Spanish). Please note that our Parish Offices will be closed for the New Year’s holiday on Monday, New Year’s Day. We will reopen at 8:30am on Tuesday, January 2nd. Our parish Grade School resumes classes on Monday, January 8th.
Thank you to all who sent Christmas greetings and gifts to us at the Rectory. We deeply appreciate your good wishes and your generosity. We are blessed in being able to serve you at our parish.
We have another opportunity for quiet, individual prayer on this Friday, the First Friday of the month of January as the Eucharist is exposed for adoration beginning at 7:30am on Friday and until Benediction at 8:00am Saturday. Interruptions occur for the 12:05pm Mass and when there is a funeral, wedding or wedding rehearsal. But for the most part, there is a continuous opportunity for prayer in the presence of the Lord in our church on First Fridays. Someone once described this quiet prayer time as “face time with Jesus.” We are able to quietly bring him our joys and burdens, tell him what our concerns or fears are, and then spend some quiet time listening. This personal, quiet prayer can be an oasis away from all of the activity and busyness of our lives. Our next opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration is this Friday, January 5th beginning at 7:30am and ending at 8:00am Saturday. Come for 15, 30 or 60 minutes – as much as you are able. It will make a difference in your day!
It is hard to believe that another year will soon pass into history. Whatever the past year may have held for each of us, through it all, God continued to dwell among us, continued to bless us and continued to love us. As the calendar turns over tonight to the year 2018, let’s begin another new year in God’s faithful history of salvation. Know that I pray that God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy