Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gifts and Epiphany

One of the beautiful windows in our church is dedicated to the Epiphany of Our Lord: the manifestation to the Gentiles of Jesus the Son of God. Of course, you can make out the Three Kings bringing their gifts, as they recognize the newborn King. One of the clues to the identity of Jesus is the gifts He inspires people to offer Him.

Many gifts accumulated before the newborn Jesus last week, and I am privileged and pleased to be in a position to convey gratitude, not only my own but yours as well, to all who so faithfully brought them.

I would like to thank everyone who worked so hard to decorate the church to receive so great a guest. A faithful few came to polish and prepare, and Elaine Vining and her crew brought lights, trees, and flowers, plus a lot of their precious time on Christmas Eve, to prepare the way of the Lord. I love it when the little children come up just to see the infant Jesus in the Nativity scene!

Richard Fitzgerald, Camille Frezzo, and our choirs and musicians certainly offered Jesus beauty of the highest order, and helped us to share in that precious offering. They are laboring for God, not for us, but we are the beneficiaries in many ways as well.

We have others who put a lot of effort into the liturgies that bring Christ into our “stable;” our most excellent altar servers did a fine job, as usual, and sacristans handled the logistics seen and unseen. Don’t forget how important the ushers are to making important things happen, not the least of which is welcoming our many guests.

A small but fearless band, led by Holy Name men, were here to erect our outdoor crèche even before the snow from our recent blizzard was cleared. I don’t know if many of you know how often that scene of Christ’s birth draws attention and attendants from passers-by on the Boulevard!

Not that it is the same as laying gifts at the crib of Jesus, but many of you certainly put some nice ones in the rectory. We got cookies and fruit and other good things, for which we are all grateful. Many of you sent cards, and I particularly enjoy the family pictures! Yes, I’m one of those who love to read the newsletters, too. While I see a lot of you, it is rare I get such a comprehensive narrative. Best of all though are your prayers, which keep us up and running. Thank you.

I particularly want to thank everyone who donated flowers to decorate our altar, which stand there now as a witness to your prayers for your loved ones, living and dead. The dedications are listed in the Christmas bulletins; if you didn’t get one, we saved some for you. The beauty of those flowers is a grace note soaring above the chorus of prayers that each of you brings by your presence, filling our church with the glory to God.

Just as we all are grateful to the parishioners and priests who preceded us at Saint Bernadette and built this beautiful church, so I am grateful to you for continuing to beautify it further with your gifts, songs, prayers, and the very gift of your fidelity, which shows the world Who it is we greet here. May your faith continue to be an instrument of Christ’s manifestation to the world, His on-going Epiphany, and may He bless you abundantly for it.

Monsignor Smith

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