December 29, 2011 – And Another Year In The Books

Once again the holidays have forced me to alter my blogging schedule.  Because of a family gathering tomorrow evening, we’re posting a day early.  I hope first of all that you had a great Christmas celebration.  Mine went according to plan – Mass and then my World Series DVD’s to relive the excitement of the fall.  Good stuff.  Evidently, some other folks had some free time over the holidays.  There were 32 pages viewed on our website on Christmas Eve and 17 on Christmas Day.  Don’t you people have anything better to do? (Ha, ha).  Of course, this comment comes from someone who actually has a “blogging” schedule.

Anyway, now we have reached the end of the year – a time when many of us do a little reflection on what we have accomplished in the past year (short list for me) and what we need to improve on in the coming year (long list for me).  This is also the time when you see a lot of “top ten” lists about the past year.  A couple of these caught my eye this past week.  One list focused on things that came to an end in 2011.  The list included the Harry Potter series of books and movies, the Space Shuttle program, and the 2nd edition of the Roman Missal.  Here is the link to the full article and list:

The other list was compiled by the Religion Newswriters Association and it is the top ten religion stories of 2011.  The Catholic faith is mentioned several times in both a favorable and unfavorable light.  Again the new translation of the Roman Missal was mentioned, as well as the beatification of Pope John Paul II.  However, placed above these was the story of Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City being charged with failure to report the suspected abuse of a child.  This, along with the story locally of the diocese losing its appeal of a $5 million lawsuit in a sexual abuse case are both reminders that the church continues to wear a huge scar from these cases and that we must continue to be diligent in caring for those who have been abused and doing everything in our power to make sure that it does not happen again.  Here is the link to this article and list:

In my personal reflection on the year that has passed, I would have to consider it relatively successful.  It was a fairly uneventful year, which as I get older I have come to appreciate more and more.  But I certainly know that there are things I need to work on in the coming year, so even though I know that eventually at least some of them will go by the wayside, like millions of Americans I have my list of resolutions for the coming year.  My health was reasonably good the past year, but I know that I have dropped the ball somewhat on watching what I eat, etc., which my expanding waistline is reminding me of.  So in the next year I need to get back to a little more healthier regimen.

Also, even though I spend a lot of time on the computer, I have not really taken enough opportunities to just read books or other resources.  So this coming year I hope to do some more real reading than I have in the past, including the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults which will be part of the “Fanning the Flame” program in 2012. 

As always, our parish will be a busy place in 2012.  We will be continuing to work on the Parish Renewal and Restructuring process which we began this past year, including meeting with our neighboring parishes.  As mentioned, we will be participating in the “Fanning the Flame” faith enrichment program, as well as other activities which will be a part of the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Belleville.  We hope to continue needed work on our church building, in particular the renovation of the steeple.  We will be continuing to prepare our candidates for Confirmation for reception of the sacrament in April.  This is in addition to all of the other usual stuff – fundraisers, school activities, liturgies, funerals, more funerals, etc., etc.  But the busyness throughout the parish beats the alternative of having a moribund, dying community.

So how will you celebrate the coming of the New Year?  As with Christmas, I intend to have a quiet, relaxing New Year’s, which will probably include watching the ball drop in Times Square, unless I travel somewhere where they drop more unusual things at midnight.  These include a 35-foot orange in Miami, a sardine in Eastport, Maine, a possum in Brasstown, NC, a 100 pound stick of bologna in Lebanon, PA, a 600 pound electric “Moon Pie” in Mobile, AL, and an 80 pound decorated cheese wedge in Plymouth, WI.  On second thought, I think I’ll just stay in good old Southern Illinois.  Whatever you will be doing, I hope you stay safe and have an enjoyable beginning to 2012.  I also hope that the coming year brings you good health, happiness and prosperity.  God Bless all of us as we turn another page and put another chapter behind us.

To end my last blog of 2011, I simply want to say thank you.  Thank you for coming here to read my comments and allowing me to have a voice and an avenue to express my thoughts.  Thank you for visiting our church website and for your compliments on what we continue to include as a part of it.  Thank you to those who joined our group on our Facebook page this past year.  We are up to 55 members now, and we share good information and comments as well as prayers.  And above all thank you for your support of our parish this past year as we continue our mission of making available the sacraments and spreading the gospel message of Christ.  Have a great week as well as a great year ahead.  Here’s to a 2012 filled with – Peace.


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