We’ve entered the last week of the Advent season, and for many, the quest for the perfect gift, perfect house, perfect party, etc. may not have happened. Our expectations, while good, have let us down in some way. But, don’t let that bring down the fact that Christmas is about Jesus, the perfect Son of God who be- came one like us so that we could be like him. Through his incarnation, he showed us what love truly is. Whether or not our plans go as we expected, God’s unchanging love for us will always be perfect. Thank you Jesus! I’ve heard and witnessed many situations as of late that have reminded me of how powerful God’s love can be incarnated in each of us. Recently, our two mission churches have exemplified this giving love.
First, on December 6th, Our Lady of the River held a party for their 40th anniversary as a faith community. Their church community began in simple fashion and has grown to now reside in their own church building. I’m sure there are many wonderful experiences of God’s love that they have shared along the way. Their anniversary gathering was filled with food (pot-luck style), family, and friendship. It was a delight to see how they came together to make their celebration warm and friendly. Still being new and trying to get a sense of bearings, I was still welcomed as one of them. Thank you! They have much to be proud of, and their faith-filled gathering inspired me.
St. Patrick of the Forest recently experienced a different kind of communal coming together and incarnation of Christ in their
midst. This past week, as the cold weather began to ease, parishioners found themselves involved in the emergency work of mopping up the church after a water line broke. The vestibule, sacristy, confessional, and half of the church were covered in inches of water. It was reported to me that between 200 and 300 gallons of water were removed by the army of parishioners with the wet/dry vacuums. Mass was held that Saturday in their hall, a move that will likely continue depending on the restoration work. Parishioners were exhausted by the emergency, taking turns throughout the night to secure the church while the doors were left open to speed up drying. Yet, the sense of oneness and community quickly became apparent as they quickly mobilized together to solve the problem. A professional restoration com- pany has since taken over the arduous task of completing the work. The parishioners of St. Patrick of the Forest have much for which to be thankful, and much for which to be proud.
These are just two examples of how wonderful God works in our communities. I pray that as Christmas Day comes ever nearer, you will find time to count your blessings. God’s love is constant and perfect. Let him love you as you love him.
Fr. William Holtzinger