December 13, 2008 – Reflections

Just before I starting typing my blog I checked on the weather forecast – WINTER STORM WATCH.  Let’s pray that we don’t get the ice that they are predicting and that the events of the coming week can go on as planned, especially the school’s Christmas program that the students and teachers have been working so hard to prepare for.

I’m sure you have already gotten your share of Christmas cards.  Some of your Christmas cards also may have had a letter telling what that person or family has been doing over the past year.  I had thought about doing that for mine, but then I realized that I had about a year’s worth of blogs that folks could look back on and see what was happening.  Glad I saved all of those!  On occasion I’ll go back and read through the old blogs just to kind of refresh my memory of what was happening during a certain time period.  During different points in my life I had vowed to myself that I would try to keep some type of journal.  Even if it wasn’t a daily journal, maybe something I would jot in once or twice a week just to have something I could look back on and remember different points in my life.  Unfortunately, I didn’t come through on this promise to myself, and at times I wish I had.  So at the risk of sounding selfish, I think my blog has been a way to keep that promise I had made to myself all of the years, and at the same time has been enjoyed by a few folks in the process.  A great deal for me!

Looking at the Christmas letters and past blogs got me to do some reflection about the past year.  It has certainly been a trying year for our country with the struggling economy and still in the midst of two wars.  And of course our state was put into even more turmoil this past week with the revelations about our governor.  I guess I shouldn’t really say “our” governor, because it is clearer than ever now that he is working for his own interests and not ours.  I could ramble on and on about what I think of this situation, but I’m sure your feelings are similar to mine, and I said when I began my blog that I would try to keep it in a positive tone, so as Forrest Gump would say, “that’s all I have to say about that.”

Personally, though, I must say that 2008 has a good year to this point.  No tornadoes or other tragedies to report.  My God continues to bless me abundantly, even though I probably do not deserve it.  I have said it before but I think it bears repeating – I wonder how people who do not accept God as part of their life find hope and strength?  What do they hang their hat on, so to speak?  Where do they find inspiration to live a productive life?  How tragic is it to go through life thinking that this is it – that there is nothing beyond our life here on earth?  When you see an event such as a child being born, or when you look at the bright full moon that we had last night, how can someone say that this is all just some random thing?  Anyway, I know that whatever happens the rest of this year, next year and beyond, that there will always be the one constant – the grace I am given from God.

As we begin to look forward to the new year, there are a couple of exciting events to make you aware of in our church.  As you may have seen on the homepage of the website, and as you will see in the bulletin this weekend, Fr. Gene will celebrate the 35th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on January 5, and we as a parish will be marking this occasion with a potluck dinner in his honor on Sunday, January 11 at 12:00PM.  This is just a small token of our appreciation for all that Fr. Gene does for our parish, and for the gift of his service to our diocese through the years.  I hope you can come, and I hope the weather cooperates for us!

Also, initial plans are in the works for a parish mission this coming year.  It appears right now that tentatively this will occur during the last week of September.  A priest from the Redemptorist community has been contacted about conducting the mission, and we will be doing more planning as we get into the new year.  It has been some time since we had a mission, and I hope you make it a part of your spiritual plan for the coming year.

Finally, I have to give a shout-out to the football team at Chester High School.  They have been selling raffle tickets in order to be able to go purchase toys for needy children in our community.  Their goal was to raise $1000, and they wound up raising $2500 dollars.  They are having their shopping spree at Wal-Mart today, and the toys they purchase will be wrapped by the cheerleaders and then will make a lot of kids’ Christmases a little brighter.  The football team includes several members of our parish.  Great Job Everyone!

Christmas thoughts next week.  Peace.

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