Grateful in New Year

Dear Friends,

With the celebration of the Baptism of our Lord, the Christmas season comes to an end this Sunday and Ordinary Time begins anew. Saint Mark records the Baptism this way, “On coming up out of the water he [Jesus] saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.””

Did Jesus need to be baptized, to repent of sins? Of course not, He is the Son of God who became Man. He goes to the Baptist, to show us the way we must go. Going into the Jordan, Jesus sanctifies and makes holy all the waters of Baptism. Jesus’ humble obedience to His Father’s Will brings forth the epiphany / the revelation described by Saint Mark. The Holy Spirit descends, and the Father speaks. Here God manifests Himself ~ Three Persons in One, true God.

I pray that not despite of but because of the uniqueness of our Christmas celebrations this year, you, all of us, entered even more deeply into the mystery of the Word made Flesh, God-with-us, Emmanuel. Our Christmas Masses were truly beautiful, reverent, and uplifting. My profound gratitude to our Director of Sacred Music, Elizabeth Calabro and the cantors and organists, to our facilities personnel, our parish office staff, our countless volunteers, decorators, sacristans, our altar servers, lectors, extraordinary Eucharistic ministers, Ambassadors, our priests and deacons, everyone who helped to make this Christmas special. We hope that you enjoyed the handmade Christmas ornament and tree blessing prayer, that were either delivered or mailed to your homes for Christmas 2020.

May I also take this opportunity on behalf of us priests, our deacons and parish staff to offer profound heartfelt gratitude for the generous outpouring of cards, gifts, Christmas treats and expressions of support from so many in our parish family. You have touched us deeply.

In this new year, we pray for great progress in overcoming the threats of the coronavirus. I realize that many are without work or have lost work hours. Many are still unable to attend Church in person. This has been a long process.

We do not speak often about our Sunday collection. In my time here, our parish family has been remarkably generous year over year. But I must report that our current Sunday collections are being adversely affected as was our Christmas collection. I make this request that anyone who is working and not able to attend Church personally, to send your donations to the parish office or to become an “E-giver” and give electronically. You can find a link for that on our webpage. In this new year, I also invite all of us to take a look and to see if we are able to increase our charitable giving, our giving back to God for all His blessings to us.

Your financial sacrifices, both large and small, to our parish is the keystone to our ability to fulfill Jesus’ mission now and into the future. We have some large capital expenses in the wings to maintain and keep our campus safe and beautiful and we are looking for new ways to remain connected as passionate disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you reading this and for prayerfully considering!

God bless you, God love you,

Monsignor McCulken

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