My Dear Parishioners,

In this past Advent Season, we took on the challenge to Focus, Prepare and Practice what was necessary to put our backs to the noise of the world so we could properly prepare for the coming of our Salvation: “Jesus Christ” our Lord! This sacred time drew us nearer to the Divine Love of God while waiting for the word made flesh! As a parish family, we imitated the Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph and John the Baptist and brought focus to have our hearts follow. The “Keep Christ in Christmas” and “Wise Men Still Seek Him” signs in 700 yards in countless neighborhoods reflected what we were encountering in our hearts.

A slogan without a product is a dead campaign. I want you to know that I could feel the love of the coming of Christ pouring forth from you and growing week to week as you prepared and practiced for this great feast. From the many of you that I caught stopping in the church to make a visit during the day, evening and night to the hundreds who approached the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the penance services and the numerous families who brought their statue of the infant child to Mass for a blessing. The true meaning of Christmas was not lost amidst the noise and rush!

All along while I waited for the celebration of the Christmas Liturgies I read and prayed my Christmas cards that I received from you. My meditation was deep and real in the spirit of the journey to Bethlehem and my prayers were sincere and heartfelt for the senders of the cards. How beautiful the words spoke of the Birth of the Savior and how often they reflected blessings for me as your pastor! This filled me with “joy” and affirmed the fact that I am truly “Blessed” to be a priest and your pastor.

Today we celebrate this great Feast of our Salvation and we do so with that interior focus of Our Lady and Mother allowing our hearts to “Magnify the Lord” while our preparation and practice of the Advent mission will allow us to enter here as shepherds and leave as Kings. Humbled by the invitation to share in His birth and to leave honored to share in His Love.

I want to thank you for always taking seriously the missions that I put forth for you each and every Sunday during the year. I mostly appreciate your desire to complete your missions faithfully during Advent and into the celebration of Christmas. The Mass affords the priest to speak powerfully by proclaiming the Gospel, preaching the Good News, and annunciating the words of consecration. This power and grace comes from priesthood and is a blessing and privilege to act out in your presence. The greatest affirmation of the Mass for the priest is that these words and actions are not lost on his people. You receive them with Faith and you go forth and live them in love. I thank you for this and it is the greatest among the many gifts I have received this Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you!

Father John