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Fr. Ron's Blog

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Dear friends,
The flip of a calendar doesn’t necessarily mark anything special, but it does afford the opportunity to stop and “take stock” of what’s going on. That change of calendars happened last Friday, and so it is a good time to take that stock.

Firstly, to recognize blessings and say thanks. The first reading of the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, New Year’s Day, begins “Say to them (the Israelites): ‘The Lord bless you and keep you.” We here at OLMC are so blessed in so many ways. One of those blessings is the people who are so good to us, sharing their time and talents.

Christmas is a tiring time for everyone, in your homes and offices, and ours as well. Putting together all the elements that make for a joyful celebration of God’s great gift to us in Jesus Christ is the work of a great number of people here in the parish and I begin this New Year by expressing my thanks and appreciation to all. This includes the maintenance staff, the office staff, our sacristans and desk workers, and the myriads of “stewards” who have given of their time and talent to help. Among them are the lectors, commentators, Eucharistic Ministers, the ushers, the ministers of hospitality and the altar servers. A big thank you is owed to the members of our Music Ministry, who helped frame the beauty of the season with the traditional sounds of Christmas, both at the concert and at the eleven celebrations of our Christmas liturgies. Peter, Connie, Debra, Josephine, the choirs (adult, children, bell), and Nic Scott, Erin, the instrumentalists and the Contemporary Choir all were wonderful and truly set the tone for the joy we felt. An equally big thank you to Peter, Fr. Robert and all those who helped decorate the church and auditorium, no small task for their sizes. If sound adds to the celebration, sight equally puts us in the mood to celebrate. And speaking of the auditorium, many thanks as well to Glen McCall and the members of our Youth Ministry. They set up the auditorium for the Christmas celebrations over there and served in the liturgical ministries, lectors and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, as well as ushers and ministers of hospitality, directing people from the overcrowded church to the (overcrowded) auditorium. Without their help, we would never have been able to offers simultaneous masses in both places.

On behalf of the priests, I want to say thank you to all who sent Christmas greetings, whether cards, or baked goods or libations, or in any way expressed good wishes to the priests and staff of the parish. These were most welcome and encouraging in a season that can be very tiring for all that needs to be done. I can only say there is an enormous amount of effort that needs to go into making the Christmas celebrations a significant part of the holiday experience and I am indebted to every single person who helps. I know I have left many out, but to all of you, my deepest gratitude.

That also goes for all who came to celebrate. I want you to know we don’t take that for granted. Whether you come regularly, or not so regularly, we are happy that you come. For those who don’t come regularly, we wish you would come more often. Your coming is not only an occasion for the Lord to touch your heart, for which we pray, but it is also an occasion to express your participation in the life of our Catholic community and your presence reminds us of that and challenges us to look for ways to deepen it throughout the year, and not just at Christmas. For those who do come regularly, thank you for that public expression of your faith and your participation in the life of the community at worship. For those of us who engage in ministry here at Mount Carmel it is a source of encouragement for us.

A brief word about today’s celebration, the Feast of the Epiphany, or of the Three Kings. Epiphany is a Greek word meaning manifestation. It celebrates the manifestation of God’s plan for salvation in His Son, Jesus, the Christ, to the gentile world, represented by the three kings or wise men. It is interesting to note that this event is recorded by Matthew, who writes his Gospel for a community of Jewish Christians, whose main theme is to show Jesus as the true and long- expected Jewish Messiah. But at the very beginning of his Gospel, Matthew already uses events (the arrival of the Kings) to show that Jesus is much more than that. He is Lord, not just for the Jewish people, but for the whole world.

Because the Church sees these kings, wise men, as travelers and seekers, it has, for many years, celebrated this week as National Migration Week. Perhaps today’s Feast and week might challenge you to read some of Pope Francis’ words on the care of immigrants. Those words might touch our hearts and tweak our consciences about how we look at, and relate to the great questions of immigration reform that are before our nation today, especially since some of the rhetoric of the present presidential campaign can be less than uplifting. We cannot applaud the Pope only when he speaks and does things which shake up the church bureaucracy. We should also applaud him when he preaches and teaches the Gospel truth of Jesus. That’s his job as well.

At the end of this month, the parish will offer to all our men a chance to re-connect with the Lord and to share faith with other men in a unique experience called Men’s Cornerstone Retreat, Jan. 29/30. The retreat begins on Friday evening around 7:00 and ends Saturday evening around 8:30 and since it is held in the Parish Center, there’s not much of a drive involved. I invite all the men of the parish, but especially the young men, family men, and men with children still in school, to consider making this retreat. Detailed registration information appears elsewhere in the bulletin but I ask you to set aside the dates right now. I guarantee (and I don’t make that statement lightly) it will make a difference in your life.

Finally, may I extend to all of you a sincere wish for blessings in this New Year. There are those for whom 2015 was a tough, challenging year and who are only too happy to see it pass and there are those who may feel blessed by the gifts they received in 2015. But now it is time to look forward to the opportunities that lie before us and so I repeat the prayer quoted at the start of my article, prayed on New Year’s Day, “The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace.”

God Bless,
Fr. Ron

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Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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Click Here for the Video in English and Spanish

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