A White Christmas at Old Saint Joe's

Merry Christmas, everyone! My priory windows are frosted over with ice, and although I can hear the wind howling outside and ice hitting the windows, I cannot see out that well to see whether or not Old Saint Joe's is still snow covered. I hope on Christmas our church will look much like the image captured by Carolyn Barnard in one of her beautiful watercolors, truly my favorite image amidst her vast collection.

The 4:00PM Mass was a bit of a mob scene -- certainly 700+ strong in a church that seats 444. In fact, worshippers were seen departing from the church by 3:40PM, no more extra room in the inn this Christmas! 10:00PM was also completely full, though there were no worshippers in the atrium, oratory or hallways for the late night Mass.

A good spirit permeated the place; it was good to see so many people who returned to DePere to celebrate these sacred days with their family back here in our neck of the woods. And yes, there were also some gathered here whom I had not seen since last Easter. I had a pretty challenging message for them -- done out of a spirit of welcome -- with the reminder that we need them here more consistently, and yes, they need us as well! I hope the challenge was accepted with the pastoral and sincere spirit in which it was offered.

At both Masses last night I chose to use Eucharistic Prayer I which I use perhaps too sparingly. It seems so appropriate for such solemn Masses. The preface seems to express nicely what we celebrate these holy days -- and consistently for those who attempt to live a holy life. I hope this captures your Christmas Joy these holy days... ... ...

Today you fill our hearts with joy
as we recognize in Christ the revelation of your love.
No eye can see his glory as our God,
yet now he is seen as one like us.

Christ is your Son before all ages,
yet now he is born in time.
He has come to lift up all things to himself,
to restore unity to creation,
and to lead mankind from exile into your heavenly kingdom.

With all the angels of heaven
we sing our joyful hymn of praise:

HOLY, HOLY, HOLY... ... ...

Feel free to finish the ritual as you enjoy the blessing of the Incarnation.

Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

Father Jim ... your messages are always inspiring but last night your "P.S. homily" was AWESOME... I'm sure you noticed how quiet it got ... I thought, YES, they're REALLY listening now!!! You were Pumped... the Holy Spirit was alive and well within you.

If some didn't take it in the manner in which it was intended, perhaps they felt a little guilty? (Not that we all don't have lots of room for improvement.)

Your messages come to "comfort the disturbed" and "disturb the comfortable" but they always come with love.

Merry Christmas!


Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, Fr. Jim!

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