The Church’s New Year began with the first Sunday of Advent last weekend. Our celebration of Advent brings together the past, present and future in the triple coming of Christ. The First Advent (Coming of Christ) took place in time and history. It began in Nazareth as the Son of God became man in Mary’s womb and was born in Bethlehem. His life and teaching climaxed in his return to the Father in his passion, death, resurrection and ascension. Jesus became one of us and won the victory over sin and death and returned to the glory of the Father, becoming the way for us to belong to the Father now and forever! The Second Advent (Coming of the Lord) is continuous in and for the Church (us) in history. His first coming continues in the present for us for whom he comes in his word, sacraments and the community of believers. This is our time, the time of the Church in which we are called to identify with the victorious Risen Christ. One could call this time the “in between time,” the time of the Church, a time of becoming saints through the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus. The Lord continuously comes to every generation to redeem us and draw us into the love and life of the kingdom. The Third Advent (Coming of the Lord) is the final one. We profess in the Creed that “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.” All three comings are God’s action in us, his desire to rescue us from sin and death. All require a personal response. Each Church year means that we have another chance of becoming men and women of Christ.
This Sunday we hear that “the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” We ask the Lord to purify our hearts of anything that might hinder us from welcoming Christ more in our lives.
Blessings to St. Francis Xavier Parish in Junction City as they celebrate their feast day today. I always enjoy reading St. Francis Xavier’s letter to St. Ignatius while he was serving in India, etc. He details how exhausted he is from baptizing and teaching people who have never heard of the Gospel before. But then he writes how he wishes he could go back to Italy and tell people that he could use some help because the only reason more people aren’t coming to the faith is because there aren’t others helping. It’s a reminder that through our baptism, all of us are called to be a witness and disciple of Christ and to share the Gospel to others in some capacity.
On December 8, I will be celebrating Mass at 5:30 pm at Immaculate Conception Parish in Grinnell on their feast day. We thank God for the gift of our Blessed Mother who was born full of grace and free from sin. This is a Holy Day of Obligation. Thank you for attending Mass on this special solemnity.
December 8 also ends the year dedicated to St. Joseph. What a wonderful year it has been. Let us continue to ask for his intercession and protection throughout our lives!
I look forward to being with our Hispanic community in Salina as they celebrate Our Lady of Guadalupe. For those not familiar with the story, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego in 1531 in Mexico. At that time, the people there were sacrificing people to their gods. Missionary priests had little success in evangelizing the people. After Our Lady appeared, more than eight million people converted to the Catholic faith within ten years and the sacrifice of people stopped. Thank you, Blessed Mother! All are welcome to attend any part of the Feast Day Celebrations planned at Sacred Heart Cathedral on December 11 & 12. The schedule is as follows:
On December 1, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a historical moment for the Pro-life movement in the United States. While we may not know the outcome of their decision until sometime in 2022, no matter what, it will have a huge impact on the future of our country. We should intensify our prayer efforts now and in the coming months for the members of the Supreme Court and the opportunity to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the US. If current pro-abortion legislation is overturned future abortion laws would be left to individual states, many of which would certainly initiate and pass pro-life legislation in their states. If Dobbs is upheld, it will be a potentially fatal blow to the pro-life movement. This is the most important pro-life event in recent history! Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!
Regarding the Supereme Court Case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Orgainzation, so as not to cause any confusion, I should have more clearly stated that if the Mississippi state law prohibiting abortions after the fifteenth week of pregnancy except in cases of medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities is not upheld, it will be a potentially fatal blow to the pro-life movement.
So many people that I have talked with tell me how much they enjoy taking classes through the Pastoral Formation program. There are two classes being offered beginning in January; Introduction to the Old Testament, and Will the Holy Spirit show up? – a course on the Holy Father’s invitation to “synod”. I invite you to prayerfully consider registering for one of these courses. Learn more about the program and how to register by visiting www.dcdiocese.org/pastoral-ministry-formation.
A committee has been formed to help facilitate the Synod on Synodality. Please continue to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on this endeavor.
As many of you know, my mother died on November 18. Thank you for all your prayers and support for my family during this time. I have so many wonderful memories of my mom and feel extremely blessed to have had her for so long.
Nick Compagnone is retiring as principal of St. Mary’s Grade School at the end of the school year. Nick has faithfully served as the superintendent and principal for decades in our diocese. He will be inducted into the Kansas Association of Independent and Religious Schools (KAIRS) Hall of Fame in February 2022. We are very grateful for his presence in our diocese and all that he has accomplished for our Catholic Schools.
I look forward to seeing our seminarians and their families during the Christmas break. On December 18, we are having our winter Runnin’ Revs game at Sacred Heart High School in Salina beginning at 6 PM. Our priests and seminarians will play against local high school and middle school students! It will be fun evening! Pizza will be provided following the game. I hope to see you there!
Wow! Kudos to all those who supported our parishes and schools through iGiveCatholic. Approximately $850,000 was raised, which ranked us 5th among all dioceses who participated. Thank you so much for all your generosity and support of our parishes, schools and ministries in our diocese.
Yesterday, I took part in the Divine Mercy Radio Care-a-thon to help raise funds to support Catholic radio in our diocese. We are so blessed to have Catholic radio in much of our diocese. If you would like to financially support this important outreach, please make a pledge by calling Divine Mercy Radio at 785-621-4110, or donate online by visiting www.dvmercy.com/. Today is the last day of their Care-a-thon, so please call and make a pledge if you are able. Thank you!
Thank you to all who have generously donated to our publications drive. We hope you enjoy reading The Register and the faith magazine. If you are able to help, you can still support our Conversations Drive HERE.
I was in Beloit the other day. Many of you know that there was a fire in the Church several months ago. Someone found one of the steps leading to the choir loft that had been charred by the fire on one side. On the other side was this: Msgr. Heitz, Beloit Kansas. Msgr. Michael Heitz was the pastor at St. John’s in Beloit from 1898 – 1924 and was there when the Church was built as well as the convent and grade school. No pictures of him, but simply his signature on the bottom of a piece of wood. This also reminded me of how many people made huge sacrifices to build a beautiful Church.
The other day I celebrated Mass at St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City as they celebrated their 90th anniversary. After Mass, Dominican Sisters of Peace, Sr. Rosarita Weber and Sr. Janice Thome, who have a special love for the poor and sick, told the story of the hospital’s beginning. I enjoyed hearing how during the Dust Bowl in the 1930s when money was tight, the Sisters asked the families for chickens instead of money so they could feed their patients.
Many blessings to you and your family as you celebrate Christmas! May God bless you and keep you safe!
In Christ’s love,
“Rejoice and be glad that so great and good a Lord, on coming into the Virgin’s womb, willed to appear despised, needy, and poor in this world, so that men who were in dire poverty and suffering great need heavenly food might be made rich in him.” ~ St. Clare of Assisi
“And in the end…everything else will turn out to be unimportant and inessential except for this: Father, Child and Love .” ~ St. John Paul II
“We desire to be able to welcome Jesus at Christmas-time, not in a cold manger of our heart, but in a heart full of love and humility, in a heart so pure, so immaculate, so warm with love for one another .” ~ St. Teresa of Calcutta