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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

Dear Parishioners,


The end is near!  Not likely the end of the world, rather the end of the Liturgical Year. I hope the title of this letter didn’t alarm you, but simply drew your attention. 

For those of you who may not know, our liturgical year always ends with the Solemnity of Christ the King and begins with Advent. The Solemnity of Christ the King is an appropriate way to remind us of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It caps off our liturgical year with a recognition that God is in control and he has power and dominion over all creation. As such, it is rightful that we give him our praise, worship, and obedience. Knowing that each of us will someday come to our earthly end in this life, we can turn to the One who has power to save us from eternal death and give us eternal life.

Each Advent begins one of the three Sunday Lectionary cycles. There are three Lectionary Sunday cycles, A, B, and C, which are built around the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke respectively. This is a marvelous addition to the Liturgy as a result of the Second Vatican Council whereby we can hear more of the Scriptures proclaimed at Mass than ever before. “Formerly, Catholics heard 1% of the Old Testament and 17% of the New Testament. Now they hear 14% of the Old Testament and 71% of the New Testament” (At the Supper of the Lamb: A Pastoral and Theological Commentary on the Mass. Paul Tuner. LTP. 2011. p. 26.).  This year, we will be in Sunday Cycle C. So, that means we will hear much from the Gospel of Luke during this liturgical cycle.

May the coming end of this liturgical year and beginning of a new one assist you in your walk with Jesus knowing that he will come again with power and might to bring his faithful to himself. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor

Gratitude & Thanksgiving

Gratitude & Thanksgiving

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we heard from Proverbs the value of a loving wife. The Psalm reminds us of how blessed we are with our children. Thessalonians reminds us that we are children of the light, not darkness. In the Gospel of Matthew, we heard that the one who stewards well the talents they have been given will enter into our Master’s joy.  In all these things, what is our response?  

It could be one of worry for all the times we have fallen short of God’s standard.  Maybe it is one of regret for the times we have taken our spouse for granted and are guilty of not being as loving as we should be. It could be one of fear, for we may realize that, too often, we have been anything but sober and alert. It could be of sadness for we may have squandered parts of our lives with the talents our Lord has given us. These concerns are worthy of consideration.  They are all worthy of reflection as an action of examining our consciences in light of the Scriptures. There may even be true reasons for concern about our state of relationship with God and our neighbor. I think we should all take these challenges seriously.  But, I would also like to remind us that this is half of the story.

The other half of the story revolves not around how we have failed, but what God has done for us, how our Lord is always there waiting to restore us back to him. I would like to propose that given all our challenges in our lives, we have plenty of reasons for joy and gratitude not despite our failures and sufferings, but through them. God sent his Son who suffered death for us and rose so that our sufferings would not have the final say. Through Jesus’ Paschal Mystery, our Lord can bring grace and restoration when we join our suffering and dying to his, because the other half of the story, the reason Jesus came, was to save us. 

In just a few short days, we as a nation will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. I would like to invite you all to Mass on that day (8 AM).  Between now and then, ponder on where you have fallen short, repent and as our Lord to forgive you, and then give thanks for his goodness. On the Mass of Thanksgiving Day, as is my little custom, I turn the homily time towards an opportunity for all present to express, publicly, what they are grateful for.  We must not keep our praise and thanksgiving to ourself.  We must express our gratitude for all that God has given us.  So, between now and then, consider all that God has gifted you with.  Come to that Mass, lay down your burdens, offer your sacrifice, and exchange it for gratitude. We are a Eucharistic people the word, “eucharist,” meaning “thanksgiving.”

May we all give praise and thanksgiving all the days of our lives.

Blessings,

Fr. William Holtinger
Pastor 

Thanksgiving & Advent


Thanksgiving
Give thanks! Being thankful is a key essence of what it means to be a Catholic Christian. This coming Thursday, our country will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. As such, we will have a special Mass of thanksgiving where I will be asking you to share what you are thankful for. Also at that Mass, I will invite everyone to come forward at the Preparation of the Gifts to donate nonperishable food items and money for our local St. Vincent de Paul. Such a gesture is a wonderful way to show God our thanks and express our desire to help those in need.


Advent
Now is also a time to discern what you will be doing for Advent. How will you prepare yourself for Christmas? Many of us put up lights on our homes. Some decorate the interior of our rooms. We put up manger scenes and even the Christmas tree. But, why do we do these things? We do them to show on the outside what we hope for on the inside. We hope that Christ will be born-again in our hearts. We hope that the darkness that can sometimes pervade our hearts and minds will be removed by the light of Christ. The Church has given us Advent in order to simply look at these things and prepare to celebrate the most amazing event in history, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.


Reconciliation
Finally, a way to give thanks and prepare our hearts is via the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We will be hosting the communal reconciliation services at St. Patrick of the Forest on Monday, Dec. 16th at 7 PM and then again at St. Anne’s on Tuesday, Dec. 17th at 7 PM. I expect many priests to come to our Advent service, so there will be many options for all. Please mark your calendars now. Prepare for Christmas by preparing for Advent, the advent of Jesus Christ in your heart.


Blessings,


Fr. William Holtzinger
Pastor