The Parish » Weekly Letter from the Pastor

Letter From Bulletin on January 14, 2018

CLICK HERE
for information about
RENEW MY CHURCH IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT
on January 17, 2018 at 7 pm in Church

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Letter From Bulletin on January 7, 2018

The Epiphany / Baptism of the Lord - This weekend, we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, and on Monday, the Baptism of the Lord. The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord is a sign of divine power - that God wants to reveal himself to all people. We are invited to sing the Lord’s praises and learn from the three kings to come and worship the Lord.

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. We can think of Jesus’ baptism as his inauguration as the Messiah because it was then that his heavenly Father gave him the Holy Spirit so he could defeat the devil and begin establishing his reign of justice and peace.

The word “baptism” comes from a Greek word meaning “to immerse in water.” In the days of the early Church, Christians baptized by totally immersing the person from head to toe. In imitation of this practice, some modern churches have shallow pools for immersion baptisms, but most modern churches simply pour water over the person’s head. Water is a powerful symbol of life. It plays a very important role in our own development by first surrounding us in our mother’s womb and then refreshing and sustaining us after birth. People in biblical times built towns around a fresh water supply because without water they, their animals, and their crops could not survive. Water is a very appropriate vehicle through which we receive new spiritual life in Baptism.

People living in the dry, hot climate of Palestine were aware of water’s cleansing properties. Feet got dirty because most people either walked around barefoot or wore only leather sandals. Water to wash feet was usually the first thing a host offered a guest who arrived after a long journey. The water of Baptism also has cleansing properties, washing us clean of our sins and giving us a fresh spiritual start. It achieves something ordinary water never could.

Finally, water has a deep spiritual meaning. God used water to save Noah from the sinfulness of the people of his generation and, with water, God prevented the Egyptians from pursuing the Jewish people into the desert. It is appropriate that God uses the waters of baptism to save us from the power of the devil and to give us everlasting life with him (Jerome Sabatowich, Gospel Commentaries).

As we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, let us be mindful of our own Baptism, that through the waters of Baptism, we become members of Christ’s Church; the sons and daughters of God. After Monday, the Christmas season draws to a close for another year.

As we focus our attention on the gift of Baptism - something in which we all share - I would like to thank Julie McGuire who is in charge of Baptism, and Deacons Miguel Negron and Mike DeLarco who preside at most of the Baptisms on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. I also would like to thank Deacon Miguel, Pete and Tina Pontikis, and Josh and Michelle Jennings who play a significant role in all of the Baptisms in our parish providing the Baptismal preparation classes that families must attend to have their children baptized here. I am grateful for their ministry and for their willingness to share their faith with others. Thank you!!!

Bags Tournament - Please join us for an Adults–Only Bags Tournament next Sunday, January 14, 2018 in the gym. Tickets are available at the Pastoral Center. Registration starts at noon with teams chosen at 12:45 PM. The event is sponsored by the School Athletic Committee. Come and join in on the fun!!!

Renew My Church Meeting - Next Wednesday, January 17, 2018, parishioners from three parishes: St. Celestine, St. William, and St. Cyprian are invited to our church at 7 PM for an important meeting regarding Renew My Church for our grouping. This meeting is about the announcement of the decision of Cardinal Cupich based on the feedback of the three scenarios that the Grouping Team presented.

I would like to encourage everyone to please come to this important meeting to hear the Cardinal’s decision; and in the meantime, I would like to invite everyone to please pray to the Holy Spirit to come upon us and help us to accept whatever is God’s will for us to serve Him and His Church better.

In prayer,
Fr. Paul Cao