Merry Christmas! How beautiful to hear this greeting on the lips of people everywhere. Though some feel they're not allowed to use this greeting and sheepishly say "Seasons Greetings," I feel we are more resolute than ever in giving each other the more ancient greeting "Merry Christmas." Christmas is "Christ's Mass" the Mass celebrated to commemorate his holy birth. Many other Catholics greet each other with these words: "Christ is Born" with the response: "Glorify Him!" We glorify him by imitating him in our daily lives. We glorify him by our fidelity to his Gospel and to his Church. I am grateful that you, the parishioners of Saint Mary's have not wavered in your faith. You have often been tried and tested with world events, scandals and mockery of your faith; and know that the true faith will endure. Your celebration of the sacred Liturgy continues to deepen the faith you celebrate as a family.
I am grateful for the many who perform ministries of service at church, at school, at the office, and of charity to others at Saint Mary's. I am grateful for the volunteers who share in the cleaning of the church with regularity. I am grateful for our maintenance staff which oversees the many aspects of safety and care for the needs of students, school staff and parishioners. Certainly, as your pastor and servant I am continually grateful for your generosity to your parish, to our renovation fund, to our Diocesan Bishop's Appeal, and for all the special times you've been asked to be generous. While our numbers are less than years past, expenses continue to rise; and you continually rise to meet the expenses without hearing week by week of our needs from the pulpit. You know the needs of the staff and buildings are real. It is more than heartening for me to continue to serve you as best I can and to offer the sacrifice of praise for you regularly and at special times in your lives when the healing ministry of Christ touches us.
Parish membership means so much more than just attending Mass. Your joyful presence gives the awareness that our Sunday gathering embraces young and old and that all really are welcome. Even after Mass many continue the joy before leaving by sharing conversation with others. This is true fellowship of believers! Let's continue now to deepen our relationship with the Lord, our parish family and the others in our neighborhood and families. And if ever we fail in our ministry let's be sure and ask for forgiveness. Love and forgiveness are the hallmark of the Christian person.
So to everyone, my prayer for you is that Christ, our newborn King shed the rays of his light, grace and holiness on us all that we can truly live in peace with one another and make this world a better place by our love. A Blessed and Merry Christmas to ALL.