Holy Week has begun! Rich opportunities for spiritual growth! Gather with our Bishop and people from around the diocese at the Chrism Mass; support priests in renewing their vows. Celebrate the heart of our faith, the Triduum, Holy Thursday Evening through the Easter Vigil. Pray the psalms at morning prayer. The Seven Last Words Friday evening. Come to have Easter baskets blessed on Saturday morning after morning prayer. Deepen the connection between community and your home celebration of Easter. Blessings to you always, Fr. Bob
Don’t let Lent sneak up on you – its right around the corner! Let’s all have the best Lent ever! Little black books are a great starter. Graduate then to Resisting Happiness, the book we distributed this Christmas. Use it this Lent to establish some powerful new spiritual habits. Weekend Masses will call us to reflection and a closer walk with Christ. Watch for other opportunities, especially teens visiting from Apalachin to share a powerful experience of Living Stations. This Lent – see you in church! And in ministry! Peace Fr. Bob
Here in the U.S., our Catholic Church has celebrated National Migration Week for nearly half a century, calling us, as has Pope Francis, to bring our faith to the circumstances confronting migrants, immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. This year’s theme is, "Many Journeys, One Family." At St. Louis we believe we are one family, and we support brothers and sisters in their diverse journeys through the powerful ministry of Saints Place. We are there with them!
Merry Christmas! The days of Advent are at a close, and now we join with believers everywhere to celebrate the birth of our Savior. We gather to rejoice on the Feast of the Nativity. We celebrate the Holy Family. Our joy spills over through the Epiphany of the Lord. While the season can be stressful, it is my hope and prayer that this season will mark the beginning of a New Year of grace for you! The Christmas gift, Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly, distributed at our Christmas Masses, could be a great help to a year of grace.
Need that comfort? It comes through various gift-wrapped gifts. Open the Bible, and you may find it if you turn to the right page. But come to Mass, and we will help you unwrapping the gifts. Comfort will be offered when the lector proclaims the beautiful Bible readings of Advent. Spirit lifting music will offer inspiration and peace. Praying together in a warm, loving community, another gift. Christ’s presence in word and sacrament: simply out of this world. Come, be refreshed, and face the chaos of this world with new strength. We’ll be waiting for you!
Our 1st reading is a prophecy of Zechariah, who foresees a restoration for Israel. Reminiscent of the golden days of the kingdom, he foresees God’s plan to bring about a universal kingdom (from seas to sea) through a humble messiah, one not riding in on a warhorse, but riding on a colt, the foal of an ass, a beast of burden, reminiscent of the days when the king was a shepherd, a pastoral leader. The case can be made that Jesus was very aware of this prophecy, and of his role, when he rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday just as Zechariah describes.
Don’t let Easter be just one day on the calendar. Let it launch you into a season rich with spiritual growth! Scripture is clear: the 50 days of Easter are a joyful time to relate to the Risen Lord in new ways. Too long Lent has been seen as the special time to focus on our spiritual life. Lent is for planting the seed in the cold dark earth. Live the Eastertime. Watch your spiritual life burst forth, bud and blossom. Do with us at St. Louis!
Balance. It is not easy to find, but definitely worth the effort! This Lent,
why not make assessing the balance in our spiritual life, and ‘finding the
sweet spot’ a goal? Finding balance in our practice of prayer, in fasting and
the place of sacrifice in our life, and in our almsgiving and service? Our
Gospel on Ash Wednesday will highlight one side of the fulcrum.
Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy and holy New Year! Among opportunities we offer that promote joy, spiritual heath, and holiness, let me recommend two. After the holidays, come and be refreshed with Discovering Christ, a seven-week program that will revitalize your faith and draw you into a deeper relationship with Christ.
Its the cycle of life, the cycle of the church year as well. We will soon open the church year with Advent, a time of anticipation. Through the Christmas season we will celebrate the birth of Christ. We move into the beginning of his ministry with ordinary time. Lent prepares us for celebrating his last days in Jerusalem. During Easter we rejoice in resurrection and new life. We return to ordinary time, and as the church year closes, we think of the last things: the Communion of Saints, our deceased loved ones, our own mortality, and the end of time.