Pastor’s Desk – January 2023
Photo from Encyclopedia Britannica – britannica.com/biography/Benedict-XVI
A Message from Father Peter
– January 29th: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Pope Benedict XVI who recently passed away in Rome could hardly be called “everyman’s Pope;” he spoke quietly and without fanfare but always accurately and sincerely. Benedict was not only a theologian, but we could call him a “theologian’s Theologian!” During Vatican Council II, he served as a Peritus (expert advisor) to the German Bishops. Some experts gained fame by giving press interviews; Father Joseph Ratzinger (Later Pope Benedict) worked more privately. After the Council he taught in German universities and was appointed Archbishop of Munich. Pope John Paul II, looking for just the right bishop to advise him on theological matters, appointed him Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and made him a Cardinal. Most agree that he handled that task diligently and with discretion.
Pope Benedict surprised the whole world when he resigned the papacy 8 years ago, the first pope to do so in over 600 years. Some thought he was sick; others speculated that the burdens of the office wore him out. Pope Benedict XVI left us an example of love and devotion that was genuinely inspiring. His writings are his greatest legacy and still very worthwhile reading! Holy cards with his image and a prayer are available free of charge in the church vestibule. Please remember him in your prayers! (Ask me sometime how Pope Benedict nearly locked me up for the night!)
A Message from Father Peter
– January 22nd: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
In lieu of a pastor’s desk, I have re-printed for Fr. Francois his “Thank You note to the Parish” for its very heartfelt celebration of his 50th Birthday. I can only add my personal thanks to Fr. Francois for his response to many requests of mine through the years. His presence has been a Blessing!
To Father Peter, Our Deacons, Staff, Friends and all Saint Francis Parishioners,
I would like to thank all you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers, love, best wishes and many surprising and unexpected cards and gifts that I received for my 50th birthday. I truly feel that I belong to a community that cares. You made my heart smile and rejoice. May God bless you all for your thoughtfulness. Have a Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year 2023. Blessings!
– Fr. Francois
– January 15th: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
How important can 12 days really be? As it turns out they can be quite necessary and important! Yes, I’m talking about the so-called 12 days of Christmas without the partridge! Celebrating God’s plans for us is a necessary and vital part of our faith journey and experience. The Mystery of the Incarnation, the word of God taking on human nature and then born in time in Bethlehem of Judea is just so central to our very identity as Christians that we must not only remember but celebrate God’s plan and His carrying it out.
We have to push back quite a bit on the world and its ability to marginalize Jesus’ place in Christmas. It’s not a sin to say, “Happy Holidays” in certain contexts, but how much more of a witness to faith is “Merry Christmas”? Many of our social and political problems today are ultimately traceable to a loss in our culture of a place for Jesus. You and I can begin to change that, one person at a time. Of course, we begin with ourselves. Take a little time to read the Gospel stories around Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Find out how important these 12 days can be! On Epiphany we remember the wisemen who symbolize by their journey all nations coming to Jesus!
– January 8th: The Epiphany of the Lord
There is a lot more to Christmas than meets the eye! While the commercial world is going “full blast” on the Christmas “stuff” from Halloween (October 31) onwards, we are just discovering Advent!
While stores wrap things up before the eve is done, we look forward to the 12 days of Christmas! Moreover, it takes at least 8 days – an octave – to really celebrate so glorious an occasion as Christmas; in addition some wonderful feasts fill the calendar at this time – The Solemnity of Mary, Holy Family Sunday, St. Stephen First Martyr, St John the Evangelist, The Holy Innocents, and others. Christmas still belongs to those who yearn for Jesus’ coming and who, when he comes, take time for him in adoration and thanksgiving!
At that first Christmas the babe did not arrive at a convenient time – Why should we today expect he would follow a commercial calendar?! The feast of the Baptism of the Lord this weekend marks the end of the season of Christmas, and plants us firmly back in Ordinary Time!
– January 1st: New Year’s Day, Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Magi by contrast humbly continued their journey and found their goal. Again, as Pope Francis said, “Desire leads us to adoration and adoration renews our desire.” Even a simple exhortation to “Keep Christ in Christmas” takes on a deeper meaning. We witness to the truth of God’s plans for every part of our lives even in the least expected moments. These too lead us to a deeper desire for God and his infinite desire for us. Enjoy all Twelve Days of Christmas!
A Special Thanks from our Young Adult “Coffee House” Program for your “awesome” support and generosity, especially in the special collection you took up for them.
Apostle of the Impossible Tour of the Relics of Saint Jude the Apostle: All are invited to visit and venerate the relics.
The Knights of Columbus Keep Christ in Christmas Poster Contest is underway!
We wish to send a heartfelt thank you to Joan Lobasso who has once again brought her time, talent, and treasure to St. Francis and has given our church this beautiful autumn display.