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December 11, 2016

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

JMJ

Now, about those (liturgical) New Year’s Resolutions. Last week I gave you a few obvious suggestions. Don’t be a pew potato; pray more; read your Bible; do more spiritual reading. But aside from that, look for new ways to be of service to your fellow man. Be more generous with your time, talent, and treasure. One thing I did not mention is something that I would like to elaborate on now. This year I would like to suggest that you go on a retreat. I do believe that in the past it was a tradition with many here at Holy Spirit. (We recently had a funeral for a saintly man who had been on over 30 retreats in his lifetime.) But with many practices, sadly, it too has fallen by the wayside.

Nevertheless I would like to try to drum up some support here. We have a retreat program in the little town of Dewitt, north of Lansing, at the St. Francis Retreat Center/Bethany House. Fr. Larry Delaney was the director there for many years until his recent death. Fr. David Rosenberg is the new director, and he has hit the ground running. He is a very enthusiastic and energetic (second career) priest, and he certainly wants me to extend the invitation to you to come up for a retreat. And so that will be my intention for this new  year. I do hope that each of you will give it some thought.

There are different types of retreats: Private or group settings, silent or directed, or a combination of the two. You can drive down to a Trappist monastery in Kentucky, or fly out to California and a Camaldolese hermitage high on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Or, you can take a day off and go for a walk in the woods at the Huron Meadows Metropark. I’ve done all three, and each has their value. The point is that each of us should take time off from the noise and busy-ness of life and enjoy some peace and quiet, some quality time, specifically with the Lord.

So again, I will be contacting Fr. Dave to see if we can set aside a time for a group of men and/or women. If you are looking for something a little more private, contact me. I might have a few ideas for you.

One of these days I’ll have to tell you about my home in Ann Arbor which became a retreat house run by some of the Servants of God’s Love (SGL) members after I sold it and entered the seminary.

~Fr. John

Addenda:

Last week’s Advent by Candlelight was a great success. Sister Sarah Burdick of the Servants of God’s Love was our featured speaker and she brought along the Madrigal Singers from Fr. Gabriel Richard High School (FGR). Many thanks to our Parish Council organizers and their elves who did a lot of hard work to make it happen. We also collected $900 for Emmanuel House which is a ministry of the SGL.

It sure would be nice to meet our goal for our Bishop Earl’s “Witness to Hope” Campaign. Remember we are a “pilot parish”, that is, the first wave of this campaign, so we would like to be a good example to those who follow. Besides, our “cut of the action” increases to a higher percentage for those funds collected above our goal. For those of you who did make a pledge during the “Witness to Hope” Campaign, please note that the Diocese will send you a regular payment request in the mail and your payments should go directly to the Diocese and not to the Parish.

This weekend rather than taking a special collection, we will be tithing for the Retirement Fund for Religious. Thank you for your generosity.

Tomorrow morning we will have a mass honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, and tomorrow evening we have our Communal Penance Service at 7:00pm. For those of you who have been away from the sacrament for an extended time, this is a great (low stress) opportunity for a fresh start and to reestablish your relationship with God.

And a reminder that this year’s New Evangelization focus is on the “lost sheep” of the Church. Many of them will be visiting with us at the Christmas liturgies. Make sure you welcome them with open arms. Put big smiles on your face and extend a handshake of peace. You may even want to slide down the pew and make room for them.

 

 

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