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January 8, 2017

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

JMJ

Well the Christmas Season is winding down. It sure went fast. We were well prepared, I think, through Advent, with opportunities for prayer, almsgiving, and personal reflection. Some of you went to confession, maybe for the first time in a long, long time. We enjoyed an Advent by Candlelight early on, and also watched Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. As usual, a lot of effort went into making our church beautiful, and a lot of rehearsal went into making the music inspiring for our liturgies.

The Christmas Masses went well but, as is frequently the case, the 4:00pm Vigil Mass was the most “memorable”. There was an overflow crowd, and I would bet that 90% of the people who came were people I did not recognize. The focus was on children and they were invited up front for me to interact with them on a more personal level. There were a few challenges and we had a few laughs, but we got through it and I think all, young and old alike, were edified in the end. I even led the congregation in a song that would not normally be associated with Christmas. Let the Sun Shine In (…and face it with a grin). Remember that one from the early 50s? The idea was that the word SUN could also be rendered as SON, as in Son of God, and that we should always let Jesus, as The Light of the World, shine …in our hearts.

At the end of the Vigil Mass we had a special presentation that really topped off the night, and in fact, might have been the most inspiring moment of the whole Christmas weekend. Tony Pequeño of our parish gave a testimony about a spiritual rebirth he enjoyed recently. Because of some hard experiences in life, he lost his faith and his belief in a good God. But through the Alpha Program that we hosted this past fall, he enjoyed a renewal of his faith and he wanted to share his gift with all of us.

Part of his/our intention was to extend an invitation to any of our visitors or guests who might benefit from taking the next Alpha which begins in late January.

That invitation, of course, is for everyone, including members of our own parish who could perhaps use a little refresher course, or a “booster shot”, in their faith. Alpha means “beginning” and it’s a basic course in our Christian beliefs as presented on video by Rev. Nicky Gumbel, an Anglican priest from England who was once an atheist. But, he seems to be anointed and his program is bearing much fruit worldwide. It has been adapted for Catholic audiences, so keep an eye out for more information to come.

~Fr. John

Addenda: 

Our St. Philomena Novena concludes on Tuesday, January 10th, with Mass at 7:00 pm. All are invited to stay afterward for birthday cake to celebrate this special feastday.

The photo to our right is of our patroness and now hangs in our hallway. It is a watercolor painted by one of our parishioners, Caroline Gabel.

Please consider dropping in for the Family Holy Hour at 3:00pm on the 4th Sunday. It’s been proposed by our American Bishops and it is led by Deacon Jerry. I think, I hope, we can expect to see more of him around here soon.

Also consider dropping in on our Tuesday evening Masses. We traditionally have Our Lady of Perpetual Hope devotions after Mass, but now on the 3rd week of the month we have a Mass of Reparation.

Our Movie Night next week will feature “Restless Heart”, the story about St. Augustine’s journey to faith and conversion. Looking forward to February, I’m requesting the old classic Song of Bernadette as our Saturday Movie Night offering. It’s the month we celebrate Our Lady of Lourdes.

Adoration hours needed. Long time adorers are retiring from doing their scheduled holy hours which they have been doing for years. We need some fresh blood. Can you commit to an hour with the Lord?

We not only made our goal for the Bishop’s Witness to Hope Campaign but we also matched the anonymous donor as well. Thank you to all who helped make that possible.

Again, thanks to all of you who assisted in any way with our Christmas Season Activities. It was a lot of work but it was all worth it.

Lastly, many thanks to all of you who gave gifts to me and/or our staff here at Holy Spirit Church and School.

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.  Fr. J

 

 

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