Father Tom McMichael
Two weeks ago we celebrated Confirmations and First Communions here at St. Mary. Archbishop Peter Sartain was with us on Saturday, May 6, to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on 35 young people and adults from St. Mary, St. Anne, and other local parishes. It was a wonderful celebration and we thank all those who helped prepare these candidates to receive this important sacrament.
Sunday, May 7, we rejoiced to celebrate with the young people of our parish who received their First Communion. Again, thanks are due to all those--parents, catechists, mentors, family members--who helped prepare these children to receive the great gift of the Lord's Body and Blood. We pray that this gift will continue to sustain them throughout their lives as they follow the path of Christ.
Easter is a special time to celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation. We have been blessed with all three this Easter season. Please join me in praying for all those who have and will receive these Sacraments of Initiation this spring at St. Mary and St. Anne.
P.S. Have you made your 2017 Annual Catholic Appeal yet? If not, will you join me in supporting this annual campaign to support many, many important ministries around our Archdiocese? This is a "one stop" way to help feed the hungry, house the homeless, support retired priests and religious sisters, provide seminary formation of future priests, help families in need, share our Catholic faith and witness, and much more. Thank you for your support!
Grace and peace to you all! Last weekend the Archbishop shared with us his decision to make pastoral changes at St. Mary and St. Anne. This includes moving Fr. Armando and me to the Skagit Valley cluster of churches and appointing Fr. Peter Mactutis as the pastor of St. Mary beginning July 1. Fr. Peter is a friend and gifted priest who will serve you well--please welcome him as you welcomed me.
Change is seldom easy and I confess some sadness as I approach the conclusion of my time with you. The past few years have not been easy for our two communities, and yet again and again I have witnessed and been blessed by your generosity, kindness, and faithfulness. It has been a joy and a privilege to walk with you for almost 1 1/2 years now. Together, we have worked hard to restore trust and to re-focus our ministries in Marysville and Tulalip. I have come to appreciate more and more all the good folks who are part of our communities and am confident that both St. Mary and St. Anne are now on solid footing and ready to move forward following our Lord's call to serve God and our neighbor.
The next few weeks will be busy ones. Our St. Mary renovation projects begin tomorrow and my aim is to have them completed by the end of June. These projects will make a big difference in how St. Mary looks and functions. Thank you to all who have contributed time, talent, and treasure to this effort. Thanks, too, for your patience as we get these projects done. In Christ,
P.S. Happy Mother's Day to all mothers! All Masses today include both a May crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the blessing of all mothers who are present.
Today, the fourth Sunday of the Easter season, we celebrate two big events. First, Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. at a special vigil Mass, we welcome Archbishop Peter Sartain to St. Mary to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on young people and adults who have been preparing for this wonderful gift. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, "Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
- --it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, "Abba! Father!";
- --it unites us more firmly to Christ;
- --it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
- --it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
- --it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witness of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross." (1303)
That's a lot to celebrate! Thank you to all the parents, catechists, and others who have accompanied and helped these young people on their way to this great gift.
Second, we rejoice with all the young people and their families who will be receiving First Communion at our Sunday Masses at St. Mary. The Catechism, echoing Lumen Gentium from Vatican II, reminds us that the holy Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." (CCC 1324) We rejoice and pray for all who are receiving this great gift and thank all who have helped prepare these young people for this special day.
P.S. Next Sunday, the fifth Sunday of Easter and Mother's Day, we will begin all 3 Masses at St. Mary with a special May Crowning coordinated by our parish Legion of Mary chapter and our faith formation program. Children are invited to come to Mass 15 minutes early to be part of the procession and bring the Blessed Mother and patroness of our parish fresh flowers. We will have some flowers on hand but invite children participating (and others) to bring flowers from their gardens. May is, of course, the month of Mary.
Today we celebrate the third of the seven Sundays in the Easter season. The Scripture readings today remind us of the power of the blood of Jesus and of his presence with us in the "breaking of the bread." (Luke 24:35)
This morning at the 8:00 a.m. Mass at St. Mary we also recognize and bless volunteers who serve in our parish "Backpack Ministry" in cooperation with the Marysville Food Bank. Every week hundreds of children from local schools and their families receive these backpacks full of nutritious food so that they will not be hungry. Thank you all for your faithful ministry in serving some of our most vulnerable neighbors. At 10:00 a.m. we will welcome our sister Joyce Harvey-Heilman into full communion with us as she professes her faith and receives the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation.
Next weekend we celebrate Confirmations and First Communions here at St. Mary. Archbishop Peter Sartain will join us at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday to confer the sacrament of Confirmation on young people and adults from our parish and mission. On Sunday at St. Mary young people will be receiving their first Holy Communion. Please join us for these joyous Easter sacraments.
P.S. Thank you to all the individuals, families, and ministry groups that have made generous contributions to our restroom renovation and other facility improvement projects at St. Mary. The Filipino Hospitality group donated $3,523 from their wonderful Easter brunch to the effort. The Spanish language lectors sponsored an April food sale--they contributed $1,932 from this delicious fundraiser to the projects. Thank you all!
Happy Easter! Today, the Second Sunday of the Easter season and Divine Mercy Sunday, we continue to celebrate our Lord's Resurrection with a special emphasis on the divine attribute of mercy. God loves us, wants the best for us, and is always--even when we fall away and sin--ready to forgive and restore us.
Thank you to all who worked so hard to make this year's Holy Week and Easter Sunday festivities reverent and meaningful. Sacristans, musicians, lectors, cleaners, altar servers, ushers, decorators, cooks, and many, many others worked hard to help all of this come together in such a wonderful way. Special thanks go to those who prepared delicious Easter brunches at both St. Mary and St. Anne. The Good Friday Via Crucis at St. Mary was well attended and a powerful reminder of our Lord's suffering. Thank you all!
Finally, these past couple of weeks it has been my privilege to report the generous response we've had to our upcoming restroom and plumbing renovation and security system installation at St. Mary--now more than $37,138. Today I can share even more good news from the 2016 Annual Catholic Appeal campaign: both St. Mary and St. Anne have now surpassed our goals and will be receiving rebates that will be dedicated to facility improvements. As of April 12 the total rebate for St. Mary was $1,045 and for St. Anne $656. We'll pass on new totals if these rebates continue to grow. I'm grateful for your partnership in supporting our Catholic ministries and witness here in our parish, our mission, and our wider community.
Christ has risen! This simple profession of faith is at the center of our Christian faith and Easter celebration. When it seemed all hope was lost in the horror and seeming defeat of the crucifixion, God had a surprise in store: He raised Jesus from the dead and so won the ultimate victory over sin, death, and the devil. We truly have reason to celebrate!
Thank you for joining us at St. Mary and St. Anne for these holy and joyous feast days. We invite you to make our parish and mission your spiritual home as we continue to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus in the upcoming Easter season and all those "little Easters"--Sundays throughout the year--when we gather to celebrate Christ's living presence and promises in the Holy Eucharist.
May this Easter be a time of life, hope, and resurrection for us, our families, and our world.
In the Risen Christ,
P.S. A special "thank you" to all the individuals, families, and ministry groups here at St. Mary who have so generously contributed to our facility renovation fundraising campaign. We set an ambitious goal of $30,000 and have now received $37,195. Hallelujah! These gifts will be put to good use on much needed improvements to our church and social hall. Last Sunday our Spanish language lectors prepared and sold delicious food after Mass to support the project. Thank you to all who have contributed!
Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs
Today, Palm Sunday of the Passion, marks the beginning of Holy Week and our annual return to the most profound mysteries of our Catholic faith: the Holy Eucharist, the Holy Cross, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus and his victory over sin, death, and the devil. Our lives as Christians and our world ultimately only make sense in light of these realities.
As these forty days of the Lenten season draw to a close I invite you to join me in commemorating God's saving works in these upcoming liturgies.
May these holy days be a time of grace and renewal for each of us, our parish and mission, and for the whole Church.
Many of us saw the wonderful article in the March 18 edition of the Everett Herald profiling St. Mary member Dang Mai and the skillful job he did of restoring our stolen and damaged tabernacle. Dang, with the help of his wife Van, made the interior and exterior of the tabernacle look like new. Thank you both for this generous gift of time and talent to our parish.
You may or may not be aware that Dang also took on another big project. A few months ago the Virgin Pilgrim of Fatima group here at St. Mary purchased an antique bronze tabernacle so that we would have a worthy and secure tabernacle in our Adoration Chapel. The Virgin Pilgrim group then began, with the help of other St. Mary members, to polish and restore this beautiful old cast bronze tabernacle so that it could be put back to the sacred purpose for which it was made. This polishing was a big job that was going slowly. Thankfully, Dang Mai stepped forward to help with his professional metal working skills. Dang--again with Van's help--dismantled, cleaned, polished, and restored this striking antique tabernacle.
We will officially return this newly restored tabernacle to sacred use during Holy Week.. For the re-consecration and the weeks of Easter this antique tabernacle will be in the church and the sunburst tabernacle will be moved to the Adoration chapel. At the May liturgy committee and pastoral council meetings we will talk about where each of these beautiful tabernacles would be best placed after the Easter season.
A special thanks to Dang and Van Mai, the Pilgrim Virgin group, and all who work to make our parish and mission places where Christ's presence and our Catholic faith is reflected in the beauty of our churches.
These days I notice two things when I come to the glass doors of St. Mary Church. First, just outside the front doors on the right side, I see the engraved granite plaque that reminds us that our present church was built in 1968--our present facility has served us well for almost half a century. The church underwent a renovation a few years ago. We're now focusing on work that needs to be done on the social hall/office/classroom building. The current proposed restroom remodel, plumbing renovation, and security system installation are all part of this effort.
The second thing I notice as I approach the doors is big fundraising thermometer inside near the back pew recording our progress--inch by inch--toward our $30,000 goal. Thank you to all the individuals, families, and parish groups who have so generously contributed to this effort. With your help, our hope is to begin these projects in coming weeks.
We who are at St. Mary and St. Anne now are beneficiaries of the generosity of more than a century of faithful members and stewards. We, in turn, are privileged to pass on these gifts to future generations. Thank you for your part in guarding and passing on this sacred trust.
Stay tuned for proposed projects at St. Anne Mission.
It is no accident that the Catechism of the Catholic Church makes a point of listing some of the alternate names of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. In CCC 1423 we learn that this holy gift is also called the sacrament of:
Each of these names highlights a slightly different perspective on this wonderful and mysterious gift God gives to us as his people. The truth is, whatever we call it, this sacrament of healing can intimidate us.
I write to encourage you to return to this Sacrament during these weeks of Lent. Fr. Armando and I schedule Confessions on Saturday mornings at St. Mary and Saturday afternoons at St. Anne Mission and by appointment--details are on the bulletin cover. This Thursday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary, we will also be joined by a number of visiting priests for a Lenten Reconciliation liturgy with the opportunity for individual Confession. This is a great way to incorporate the grace of Confession into these forty days of our Lenten journey.
Hope to see you there.
Our Fat Tuesday celebration was a great success! Thank you to all who came and all who worked hard to make it happen: our middle and high school youth organized games and crafts, the Knights of Columbus cooked a great meal of gumbo, hamburgers, and hot dogs, members who baked cakes, organized bingo, set up the social hall and cleaned it up afterward. To conclude the evening we prayed together and burned the blessed palms from last Palm Sunday that were then used for ashes the next day on Ash Wednesday. It was a great way to transition to our Lenten observance and I hope the beginning of an annual tradition.
As of Ash Wednesday our focus changed from "party" to spiritual growth and renewal. Those three traditional themes of Lent: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving now take center stage and we are called to honestly and intentionally reflect on our relationship with Christ and one another. It's not too late to join fellow disciples at St. Mary and St. Anne for some of the many opportunities for spiritual growth this Lent:
Friday stations of the cross and soup suppers;
mid-week and Sunday Scripture and Symbolon studies;
Rosary and other prayer groups;
the Sacrament of Penance on Saturdays and at our Lenten Reconciliation liturgy on Thursday, March 23; and, of course, weekday and Sunday Mass.
You'll find information about all of these and more in today's bulletin.
Blessings in this holy season,
Today, the first Sunday of Lent, we hear in our readings of two temptations. The first, from Genesis, is the temptation of our first parents, Adam and Eve. The author of Genesis tells us that God formed Adam out of the dust of the earth, breathed the breath of life into him, made for him a wonderful partner, and then put them both in a rich and verdant garden. It didn't take long for things to go badly wrong. Soon, Adam and Eve chose to listen to the wily serpent and ate the forbidden fruit. Because of their disobedience they were banished from the garden and evil and death entered our world.
The second temptation turned out very differently. This time, from St. Matthew's Gospel, it is our Lord Jesus who is tested. Jesus had just been baptized by St. John in the River Jordan and afterwards fasted forty days and forty nights. The devil chose this moment of hunger to tempt him three times. Each time, the Lord refuted the tempter with God's Word, finally dismissing him with a simple: "Get away, Satan!" Jesus did what our Adam and Eve did not do, he resisted temptation and rejected the false promises of the devil. Here we glimpse already something of the victory that the Lord Jesus would win once for all on the Holy Cross.
Today after the 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. Masses and throughout this Lenten season, PA Michael Schmitz and I will be co-teaching a class on the Lenten Scripture readings. Please come over to the social hall, grab a cup of coffee or other refreshment, and join us for this 30 minute (or so) class focusing on the Gospel for that particular Sunday. This is a great opportunity to grow in our Catholic faith and delve deeper into the Easter mystery.
P.S. The Gospel for next week, the Second Sunday of Lent, is Matthew 17:1-9.
Today at our 8:00 a.m. Mass we have the privilege to welcome Bp. Eusebio Elizondo to St. Mary as the celebrant of a Mass of Reparation for the recent theft of our tabernacle and the desecration of the Blessed Sacrament. We are thankful that the Blessed Sacrament was recovered and the tabernacle--though damaged--was returned. At the same time we recognize the gravity of this evil act and formally pray for repentance for those who did this and healing for our community. We are thankful that Bishop Elizondo has come to lead us in these prayers. St. Mary member Dang Mai has spent many hours restoring the damaged tabernacle and it now looks like new. Thank you, Dang, for your wonderful work!
The penitential emphasis will continue this Wednesday, March 1, as we begin our 2017 Lenten pilgrimage.
Please join us for one of four Ash Wednesday liturgies:
- 10:30 a.m. St. Mary Mass with Distribution of Ashes
- 12:15 p.m. St. Mary Liturgy of the Word with Distribution of Ashes
- 5:30 p.m. St. Anne Mass with Distribution of Ashes
- 7:00 p.m. St. Mary Mass with Distribution of Ashes (bilingual)
We also begin our Lenten Friday Stations of the Cross and soup suppers this week. Stations begin in the church at 5:30 p.m followed by soup in the social hall. Finally, on a non-penitential note, please join me and other members of St. Mary and St. Anne this Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 5:00 p.m. for a Fat Tuesday evening of family fun and games before the Lenten fast begins. This Mardi Gras party is sponsored and coordinated by our middle and high school youth along with other members of our parish.
Hope to see you there!
Today in the Gospel reading we hear more challenging words from the Lord Jesus. This is the fourth of five Sunday readings from the Sermon on the Mount, and Jesus is again reminding us that we as his disciples are called to live lives that reflect his values--his priorities--his Kingdom. When we do, as we heard two weeks ago in the Gospel, we are the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world."
The way of Christ is not always easy. Today the Lord Jesus reminds us that at times it includes "turning the other cheek" to those who strike us, going the extra mile, loving and praying for our enemies, Following Jesus is not for wimps!
The final verse of today's Gospel is, for me, the most striking of all: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt. 5:48). The Lord sets the bar high! For us on our own, we must say impossibly high. We may be tempted to despair of ever meeting such a standard. Our Lord has an answer for that--the grace that enlivens, liberates, transforms is the key. We come as sinners to the Lord who gives us this grace through the Sacraments, prayer, Scriptures, and all sorts of extraordinary ways.
May God's grace sustain us and transform us as we continue our journeys as disciples of the Lord Jesus.
Two weeks ago, in the bulletin for Sunday, Jan. 29, I shared with you the sad and disturbing news of the theft of our tabernacle and Blessed Sacrament. I was able to add an update in that same bulletin to announce the good news that the tabernacle and the Blessed Sacrament had been recovered. As reported then, the Blessed Sacrament has been reverently and properly disposed of in the way prescribed by canon law and Catholic tradition. The badly damaged tabernacle and sacred vessels that were inside of it are being held by the Marysville Police as evidence. We expect to hear soon from the Archbishop about a Mass or other liturgy of Reparation as required in any case of desecration such as this.
In an approximately three week period St. Mary was victim to six break-ins of both the church and office/social hall/classroom buildings. The most serious was the theft of the tabernacle and Blessed Sacrament. Also stolen was money from the candle offering boxes, microphones, a television, speakers, and more. Some damage was done by breaking windows to enter and other damage was simply vandalism. In some of these cases we can identify the entry point, in others it appears the perpetrators either gained access during a public event and hid or gained access in some other way. I assure you that we are taking all of this seriously and are working with the Marysville Police Department and the Archdiocese to secure our facility and prevent any more incidents such as these. Doors have been re-keyed, the entry code to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel has been changed, increased police patrols have been requested, all night security lights are being installed, facility use guidelines are being revised, and security system options considered.
Thank you for your patience and help as we move through this difficult time. I especially want to thank Luis Robles for stepping forward to install the new outdoor security flood lights and our Knights of Columbus for sponsoring last Sunday's delicious breakfast as a fundraiser for the repair or replacement of the damaged tabernacle.
Our Lord was clear that we, as his people, would face challenges and persecution in this world. My prayer is that these break-ins and thefts will draw us closer to one another and to our Lord Jesus, and that they will strengthen our resolve to live out his call to be "salt of the earth" and "light of the world."
A Cardinal's Reflection
God made each of us in his own image and likeness. He desires to be united with us forever in a loving relationship. God loves us, treats us with respect, and asks us to do the same with others. Every person is sacred and must be treated with the dignity they deserve. No one should ever be treated callously or carelessly -- everyone should be cherished and protected!
From each tiny child waiting to be born, to individuals nearing death, all are precious and deserve our care and protection. Women and men suffering after abortion, individuals tempted to end their lives, couples longing to conceive a child, people pushed to the margins of society by a "throwaway culture," expectant mothers facing challenging pregnancies, and every other person-each "has a place in God's heart from all eternity" (Amoris Laetitia, 168).
Let's ask God to make us channels of his loving mercy: Lord, help us to receive your mercy and turn to you each moment. And please guide us in extending your mercy to others today. Now is the time for mercy.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities
Almost always in my bulletin article I am privileged to share with you good news about events and projects here at St. Mary and St. Anne. I'm sorry to say that this week is an exception. This past Monday morning we opened St. Mary Church and discovered something sad and disturbing: the tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament inside had been stolen during the night. The tabernacle is, as I wrote just a couple of weeks ago in my bulletin article, the "secure and worthy place" where the precious gift of Christ's body is reserved outside Mass. Though the beautiful brass tabernacle at St. Mary was heavy, locked, and bolted down, thieves managed to pry it away from its base and steal it. Neither the method of entry nor the motive is known at this time. Both the Archdiocese and the Marysville Police Department have been notified.
As we learn more we will share it with you. Our hope is that the tabernacle and Blessed Sacrament are safely recovered and returned. This desecration--whether intentional or not--is a very serious matter. We will be working hard to ensure that this does not happen again. This includes re-keying the church locks and other security measures. Your patience and understanding is appreciated as we make the necessary changes to our facility and practices.
Please join me in praying for the safe return of the tabernacle and the Blessed Sacrament, as well as for the thieves and all those traumatized by this theft.
Update: Today, Tuesday morning, facilities manager John Hodgins discovered the damaged tabernacle and its contents on church grounds. We will be evaluating the damage to the tabernacle and the sacred vessels in coming days. The Body of Christ was carefully gathered and reverently disposed of as prescribed by canon law and Catholic practice. Thank you for your prayers and support. Fr. Tom
In St. John's Gospel, chapter 17 we hear one of the most profound passages in the Holy Scriptures. The Lord Jesus' pub-lic ministry is coming to a close, he will soon be betrayed, arrested, and crucified. Before this happens he prays to the Father for himself, his disciples, and those who will come to believe through them, the Church (that's us!). In vs. 22 he prays that we--his followers-- "may be one" as he, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one. We as followers of Christ have often failed to live this vocation of unity in the Christian family.
Each January, Christians around the world observe the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This year the week began last Wednesday, Jan. 18 and concludes this coming Wednesday, Jan. 25. This is a time to pray for, reflect on, and re-commit ourselves to reconciliation and unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The proper prayer in the Mass For the Unity of Christians expresses it well:
We humbly ask you, Lord, lover of the human family,
to pour out more fully upon us the grace of your Spirit,
and grant that, walking worthily in the vocation
to which you have called us,
we may bear witness to the truth before others
and seek with confidence
the unity of all believers in the bond of peace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen
[Roman Missal, 17. For the Unity of Christians]
May we and all of our brothers and sisters live and bear witness to this holy and grace-filled unity in our lives and com-munities.
The Holy Eucharist is at the very center of our Catholic faith. This precious gift of our Lord's own Body and Blood sustains us and brings grace, forgiveness, and peace. As the Fathers of Vatican II taught, it is "the source and summit of the Christian life" (LG 11). It is only fitting that outside Mass this precious gift be housed in a secure and worthy place. In our Catholic tradition the Sacred Body of Christ is reserved in a tabernacle.
I am pleased to share with you the news that the Pilgrim Virgin of Fatima group at St. Mary has purchased a beautiful antique bronze tabernacle for our parish. This tabernacle will allow us to replace the small wooden tabernacle currently in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel with a more appropriate and secure dwelling place for our Lord. It was purchased from a dealer in Minnesota who specializes in ecclesiastical furnishings from Catholic churches that have been closed or combined. It is a special joy to reclaim this extraordinary tabernacle for sacred use.
In coming weeks the Pilgrim Virgin group and other members of our parish will be polishing, refurbishing, and preparing this work of art to again be the dwelling place of our Lord Jesus. Thank you all for this wonderful gift to our parish community.
Remember the old saying: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade;" maybe not a biblical truth, but good words to live by none-the-less.
Just before Christmas we learned that Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home was no longer willing to sponsor our St. Mary-St. Anne calendar. With the end of the year at hand we didn't have time to find a new sponsor, but we also knew that many parishioners appreciate these Catholic calendars. We went ahead and ordered 500 bilingual calendars with the theme: "Pope Francis, the Pilgrim Pope." These wonderful full color calendars include Catholic feast days and other important dates in the church year.
Here's the lemonade part: the sale of these calendars for a very modest $3 donation (though more will gratefully accepted!) will benefit middle school and high school youth from our parish and mission who will be attending upcoming youth conventions and retreats. Calendars are available after weekend Masses and throughout the week at the St. Mary office.
Thank you for your support of youth ministry at St. Mary and St. Anne.
Happy New Year! Today we celebrate the first day of the Year of Our Lord 2017 and the Solemnity of Mary, The Holy Mother of God. Both of these celebrations remind us that God continues to shower us and our world with wonderful earthly and spiritual gifts.
We celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary and her holy vocation as Mother of God--our Lord Jesus Christ. We rejoice that she continues her holy vocation as our spiritual mother and the mother of all who follow her Son. The blessed Virgin Mary's faithfulness witness, prayers, and friendship are gifts to us.
We also celebrate the gift of time. Today we are aware that our earthly pilgrimages--short or long--are through time as well as space. How are we using these days and years we've been given? Do we allow them to pass with little thought, in a flurry of "things to do" or distracted in front of our televisions and computer screens? Or better and more faithfully, do we receive each day, each moment, as a gift from God to be lived in grateful and joyful service to God and our neighbor? The Christmas Gospel reminds us that God is good, that he loves us, that he is at work in us and in our world.
On a personal note: today marks one year since I began as your parish priest. I am thankful to Archbishop Sartain for sending me to serve St. Mary and St. Anne and to you all for your prayers, patience, and faithful support. The past year has not always been easy for our two wonderful communities, and yet I am reminded daily that God is faithful and at work among us and through us to bring hope, light, peace, and joy to our world. Thank you for your warm welcome to Karin and me. It's a privilege to be here!