A word from Pope Francis ~ “The style of the good God is not to produce a spectacle: God acts in humility.”
On this first weekend in 2022, we again celebrate back-to-back feast days on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, January 1st, the 8th day of Christmas, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. Our Bishops have extended the dispensation from attending Sunday and Holy Day Masses until it is safe for us to fully resume in person prayer. Masses for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God will be celebrated on Friday, 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 there will not be the regular Saturday evening Masses on New Year’s Day.
On Sunday, we continue our celebration of Christmas with the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. This feast is celebrated on the church calendar in our country on the Sunday following January 1st. The traditional date for this feast is the 12th day of Christmas, January 6th – this Thursday. The feast of the Magi or the Three Kings commemorates the Lord’s first manifestation to people outside of the Jewish people. The Magi were foreigners, Persians and astrologers. And as foreigners, they were not included in God’s original covenant with Abraham and the Jewish people. Their presence at Jesus’ birth hints at one aspect of his ultimate mission of bringing salvation to all peoples. Fortunately, that also includes us.
With the most recent outbreak of the omicron variant of the COVID virus, our parish celebration of Christmas Day was a bit different again this year. Fortunately, the 6-foot social distancing and reservations for Mass were gone, but face masks and hand sanitizers continue as hallmarks of our celebrations. In spite of all this, the pandemic did not stop Christmas from coming. We needed to celebrate “Emmanuel” – “God is with Us” – this year more than ever. We needed to be the “primary choir” joining with our “secondary choir” in singing the glories of this feast. Thank you to our Liturgy planning team who guided us through the different celebrations. Zaira Defino and our Art and Environment volunteers did a wonderful job in setting the tone for Advent and now Christmas. Thank you to our Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers who served us during our Christmas Masses. Thank you to Dr. Anne Sinclair and our “secondary choir,” cantors and musicians. It was a blessing to have our choir back with us this year. Thank you to our livestream techs who coordinated the livestream of a number of our Masses and made them accessible to those at home and those out of the area. Thank you to Dan Tobin and our parish facilities crew who kept the parking lot and sidewalks safe. And thank you to you, our faithful parishioners, for your understanding and patience in dealing with the restrictions the pandemic has placed upon us. Whether you joined us in person or online, we celebrated the Light breaking into our darkness and giving us hope. We have entered the celebration of the season of Christmas very well.
Thank you to all who sent Christmas greetings and gifts to us at the parish office. We deeply appreciate your good wishes and your generosity. We are blessed in being able to serve you at our parish.
We also celebrate today the first Sunday of the New Year, 2022. With all that happened in 2021, I suspect that most of us were very happy to see the old year end on Friday night and a new year dawn on Saturday. Hopefully, this new beginning gives us a fresh, new start with many new opportunities for personal and spiritual growth. So many of the recent “2021 Year in Pictures” segments in the newspapers and periodicals featured images of natural disasters, human suffering and pain. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced the loss of special relationships through the quarantines, social unrest and violence in our cities. These images call us back to the basics, to the things that really matter. Family and faith are at the head of that list of things that really matter. Also high on the list are the relationships that sustain us and give us life. As we believe that God shows his love for us through the people he places in our lives, it is important that we do what we need to do to protect those gifts. Family gatherings throughout the warmer months reminded us of how connected we really are and the importance of maintaining those relationships.
Finally, I want to thank all of you, the members of our St. Isidore parish family for your continued support of our many, many parish ministries and activities. We have tried as much as possible to maintain our outreach ministries during this difficult time. I also want to thank you for your faithful financial support. Thank you to all who have gone out of their way to maintain their financial commitments to our parish. Without your continued support, we would not be here today. Together, we will make it through these dark times and continue to be a beacon of God’s presence in our community.
Now that we have said goodbye to 2021 and begun the New Year, 2022, we look to the future with hope. We pray that God continue to bless us with everything that we need, and more.