Our family never exchanged gifts on “Little Christmas” but that was the custom of some families I knew. Epiphany would also mark the end of the Christmas season for us. It was the day the Christmas decorations were taken down and put away until next year. I love Christmas decorations! So it is with more than a little sadness to see them stored away for another year. They are such beautiful reminders and visible signs to us of the birth of our Savior, Jesus, the Light of the World.
I must say I was very happy when the liturgical year was changed and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord also began to be celebrated on Sunday. It gave a new end to the Christmas season as it was seen as one of the three Epiphanies of the Lord that had been celebrated in the early church, the other two being the visit of the Magi and the wedding feast at Cana. Now I have a reason to leave my Christmas decorations up a little longer! They sure do help dispel the darkness of winter.
With the introduction by Pope John Paul II of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary, the events of the Baptism of the Lord and the Miracle of the water being changed into wine at Cana have been given greater emphasis by the church as manifestations of the identity of Jesus. The other Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary are the Proclamation of the Kingdom of God, the Transfiguration and the Institution of the Eucharist.
This Weekend we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany and we recall how the Magi came and presented to the new born king gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. May this feast remind us that we too are called to present a gift to Jesus; the greatest gift that we can possibly give, the gift of ourselves. As we end the Christmas season next Sunday with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, may we remember that God has given us the gift of the Holy Spirit in our baptism to help us to be manifestations of Jesus’ love and presence to all those we meet.
I would like to thank all of you for your support of the parish throughout the year both financially and through the gift of yourself in service. Your generosity allows us to continue to spread the Goods News of God’s saving love. We will be mailing out contribution statements by the end of the year to those who used church envelopes this past year.
On the diocesan level we are in the midst of the annual appeal to support diocesan ministries. Each parishioner has been asked to support the diocesan ministries through the Catholic Ministry Appeal. As of 12/22/15,123 of our parishioner families have given or pledged $27,360, or 92.02% of our parish goal. On the weekend of January 23/24 we will have an in-pew solicitation for the Catholic Ministries Appeal in hopes of reaching our goal. Pledge cards will be available in the pews to allow you to make a pledge to the CMA. I extend a special thanks to all those who have given or made pledges to our annual appeal. Your gift helps make possible the many ministries of outreach and parish support that are funded by the CMA. If you have not made a pledge or gift yet to this year’s appeal I ask you to do so. To make it easier to give your support to the Catholic Ministries Appeal you can make your pledge today and give your gift in installment payments through June of 2016. You can also give on-line, at www.dor.org.
As we journey together through this New Year may we remember that to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. May the manifestation of His love continue through us, His followers, as we answer the call of the Holy Spirit to bear His Light to the world.
God’s blessings and peace,