THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU, to the kind folks—both young and not-so-young--who stayed after 10:30 am. Mass last Sunday to help take down the Christmas decorations from church—both inside and outside. In addition to taking them down, they had to be carried to the church basement for storage. I was impressed by the care with which folks carried the window treatments and other items downstairs. We even had two gracious women who stayed a bit longer and vacuumed the whole church.
The Christmas season officially ended on Monday, Jan. 9, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. On Tuesday we began Ordinary Time, which means “numbered” time; so this Sunday we begin the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. This graced season, while not as solemnly celebrated as Christmas, continues until Ash Wednesday on March 1. We then have the 40 days of Lent, the Sacred Triduum, and the 50 days of Easter. On June 25, we resume Ordinary Time—it’s the Fifteenth Sunday. Ordinary Time continues until next Advent which begins on Dec. 3. So now, you have the whole year laid out before you. Of course, within each of these seasons, there is a rise and flow of memorials, feasts and even solemnities.
While the Christmas season has ended, the poinsettias continue to bloom and so help add color to our worship space. Thanks again, to all, who donated the flowers! If any are still blooming when Lent begins, Bro. Vince will remove them, because of the new focus of the Church year. I trust you can tell from many of my bulletin letters that I really relish the liturgy of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church” notes: “Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church.” (1079) The Catechism goes on to quote the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of Vatican II: “. . . every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body with is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree.” (par. 7)
Of course, decorations are only one contributing part of bringing to life the liturgical action of the Church. Music is another essential element. That, too, should reflect the change of the liturgical seasons. Marty Cunningham does that, hands down! And then there’s the preaching, and proclaiming and, a key ingredient, the participation of God’s people—that’s all of us. Thank you, Lord, for the priceless gifts of your holy Church!
Congratulations to our Deacon John Gerke who received an appointment from the Archbishop to serve on the archdiocese’s Social Action Committee. You do us proud, Deacon John! And we are honored that the St. Michael Fraternity of Secular Franciscans is going to be making St. Clement home for its fraternity meetings. And this weekend a group of about 20 teens and their leaders from Good Shepherd Parish will be making a retreat in the Tau House. Fr. Jim and I, along with their Associate Pastor, will be celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation with them this Saturday evening.
The new year is already, in profound ways, a year of grace for our parish. I pray that you experience God’s grace-filled presence in all that you undertake this week!
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