The last weekend of the year was for the Holy Family of the Lord, that is, the Living God who entrusted himself to a mother and a foster father and counted on them to care for Him and teach Him. All that the Lord allowed Himself to need, he trusted His family to provide.
The past weeks gave us time to rejoice in our families. Those on whom we depend for everything, and who depend for everything upon us, are at the center of our schedules in the days after Christmas and as the new year commences. This is what I think of when I think of “quality time.”
I want to ask you to join me in thanking our brothers and sisters here in the parish for all they did that you may or may not have noticed to bring so much beauty to our family Christmas. The amazing team who gave hours of their limited time on Christmas Eve morning to turn the church from somber Advent to dazzling Christmas; to the Holy Name men who assembled the outdoor crèche; and to the “arrangers” who arranged for things to be beautiful in the rectory as well as the church.
The choirs, musicians, and their director who provided splendid music, from the gathering of the rowdy throng for the kids Mass into the wee hours of the night, then again from dawn until past noon; the leaders of the Children’s Liturgy; the ushers; and all the Extraordinary Ministers who helped distribute Holy Communion, especially at the vast Vigil Mass Christmas Eve. I am particularly grateful to my altar servers, who are superb in their skill and service, and who make our Masses so good without drawing attention to themselves. That is a gift! All of this is true service.
Our sacristy team – first, second, and third shift, all of them mobilized – and staff worked like fiends, or at least elves, to handle all the logistics. Picture what youwould have to do if nine hundred people were coming to yourhouse for dinner! Then do it four more times. Also our crew of collection counters put in a very long day at the table. I hope that bodes well for the totals.
Also, while we are meditation on family, I get to thank myfamily for coming to visit me. Mom and Dad were here for forty-eight hours of frenzy and festivity, and made the rectory quite homey for both me and Father Magro. They’re pretty inconspicuous by nature, but thank you to all of you who greeted them warmly and treated them well. It makes it more likely that they will come back.
I also want to thank you for all the generosity you have shown me personally over the last few weeks. The gifts and goodies, the cards -- especially the ones with pictures, all of which are now on the Parishioner Tree; and double-especially the ones with newsletters (I really read and enjoy them all!) -- and for your encouraging words. I am grateful to have the opportunity to be your priest.
There is no better way to nurture your own family ties, to thank and earn the gratitude of those who give you most and count on you most, than to come together to the Holy Mass. In this great Family Feast, we receive the very life of our souls and our selves, and to receive Him together unites us in flesh and faith. The frequent family dinner table is second only to this feast in building up what makes family, family; that includes gratitude.
And so as you offer your thank-yous to everyone who gave to you in recent weeks, join me in giving thanks to everyone who made possible and beautiful and delightful what we the Church do that no other family can do, that is, the Holy Eucharist, wherein by feasting on Christ Himself, we give proper thanks to God.Monsignor Smith