4th Sunday of Advent

12-18-2022Letter from the PastorFr. Don Kline, V.F.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today is the 4th Sunday of Advent. Because so many of us will be traveling over Christmas, I want to take this opportunity, on behalf of our parish family, to wish all of you a Blessed and Merry Christmas!

Over the next few days, we will be wrapping up our Christmas preparations—decorating, buying and wrapping presents, sending cards, baking, and hopefully gathering with friends and family. Of course we need remember the most important preparation of all… spiritual ones.

One thing we could all do is pray for all the visitors coming to our parish. Each Christmas, our churches are filled with visitors who come to pray before the Manger, go to confession, and experience the beauty of the Catholic liturgy.

Some of these men and women are not Catholic; others do not practice the faith regularly. Some are estranged from the Church, angry at her teachings, hurt by her representatives; a larger number simply live their lives as if the Church had no place in their lives, no bearing on their lifestyles, careers, and choices--except at Christmas.

I am also deeply aware that some of these people are in our own families—our parents, our children, our siblings. I think its important for us to have some simple messages this Christmas to encourage our loved ones to make this Christmas a blessed experience—a turning point in the ways of faith.

Messages like:

  • You are welcome!
  • The door of your local Catholic church is open to you.
  • Whatever your circumstances, however much time has passed since your last visit to a church, there is a place for you.
  • If you are feeling afraid or apprehensive, there is no need to be. Christ is waiting for you!
  • The Church will not judge you. God is extending an invitation to you. You are part of His and our family.
  • God made you for Himself and for heaven.
  • The message of Jesus is about the unconditional love of God and his mercy, forgiveness and healing that only He can bring you.
  • The Sacraments can strengthen your relationship with Christ, with His Church and with others.
  • Growing in virtues and learning about Our Blessed Mother Mary and the Saints will help you to become holy and will enable you to experience God’s peace.
  • The Church is here to help you to grow in your relationship with Our Lord Jesus, Mother Mary, the Saints and one another.
  • The Church acknowledges that Catholics may have hurt some people in the past. We are ready to listen to you and your story, and we are very sorry for when and where the harm has been done. The Church is learning from her mistakes. She has changed and, if you've been away for a long time, come and see for yourself.

Let us pray that this Christmas season will be a time for spiritual renewal for the human family.