During Advent, the Church focuses on two specific themes: Penance and hope. Penance is a required part of the spiritual life. We must be people of reconciliation and humility. I wonder, however, if we as Catholics get too preoccupied by our sense of guilt and forget the hope that God can give us when we live in faith. In this blog, I'd like to share a few concrete reasons that we have for hope.
First Annual Auction
This past weekend, our parish held our very first silent and oral auction. Simply put, it was a huge success! I was stunned at the generosity of the volunteers, the doners, as well as those who came and bid for the items up for auction. From the moment the wheels were put into motion for planning to the very last moment of cleanup after the event, everyone had a lot of fun. Sometimes fundraising can be drudgery, but everyone had the best of attitudes and were focused on the goal to help our parish ministries. One item in particular was the purchasing of needed tables and chairs for our facilities. The process of raising the money was very inspiring. The auction company, Markus and Markus, were professional and were great at encouraging bidders and, once again, made it fun.
Archdiocese Bankruptcy Coming to An End
Another reason to celebrate is the news that the Archdiocese has agreed to settle 150 sex abuse claims that have come against the Archdiocese. This news was first given via news conference by U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan on the date of this entry. This means that the dark cloud that has been hanging over the heads of the victims and non-victims alike can now begin to clear away. As the Archdiocese comes out of bankruptcy, a plan will become effective in which tort claims will be settled and the archdiocese will restructure itself.
Confidence in Christ's Second Coming
The recent events of the auction and bankruptcy proceedings are certainly reasons for hope. But, more than these, our deepest hope is in the confidence we have in the second coming of Christ. The Church testifies to Christ's coming and recorded this testimony in the Scriptures (cf. John 14:3 and Mark 13:32-37) and the Nicene Creed. Sometimes the fact that it hasn't happened yet can lull us into drowsiness or become slack in our zeal and confidence. But, it is a reality and we should stay awake for that day and hour. It isn't something to dread, but rather have hope for, because the gift of salvation is given for those who are faithful and ready. So, let us rejoice in the things of earth, but always keep our focus on heaven.
Blessings in Christ,
Fr. William Holtzinger