Today, I make my own these words from today’s second reading from St. Paul to the Philippians. Indeed, I thank God constantly for the generosity he inspires in your hearts, a generosity which I see unfolding day in and day out, but especially in “high seasons” of our Church life, like the present season of Advent. Allow me to name just some of the beautiful things that are happening in this season, none of which would be possible without the selfless giving of countless parishioners.
Last Saturday, we lit our Christmas lights in the tree on Joyce St. and on the church roof. I watched for days as the Knights of Columbus readied these lights which will enlighten our darkness until the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. They not only rejoice the hearts of St. Mary’s parishioners. They inspire a joyful hope in everyone who walks or drives up and down Joyce St. This is a wonderful thing.
Last Thursday, we ushered in Catholic Street Missionaries “One Year Challenge” in which three young adults will participate, with a festive supper and eucharist presided by Archbishop Miller. Much planning and work went into the holding of this event.
By the time you read these lines, we will have celebrated the annual mass of anointing, and served a very festive Seniors’ lunch to anywhere between 100 and 200 seniors. I can only guess at the volume of work that goes into this offering.
We will also have celebrated, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Living Rosary, focussed this year on our youth. This too, requires more planning than you can imagine.
We are in the season of penitential services. Thanks to the generosity of our Dominican brothers, Fr. David, Fr. Claude, Fr. Henri, who is visiting with us, and of the priests of neighbouring parishes, we are able to offer the sacrament of reconciliation to hundreds and hundreds of children, teenagers and adults in our parish in a timely manner.
On December 16th, our Migrant Ministry team will host a Christmas party for migrant workers. Again, a beautiful gesture, and lots of work.
Finally, an army of people will contribute to our series of nine Simbang Gabi masses and breakfasts, beginning December 16th. Consider that this mass takes place every day at 6:00 a.m., and is followed by a copious breakfast for anywhere between 100 and 200 people. This is a monumental task, but one which touches the hearts of hundreds of people.
It’s important to me that we all be aware of all the work and dedication that go into all the events that make our parish what it is, and that we acknowledge and thank the people who make all these things happen, largely unnoticed. God bless you all.
And to all, a life-giving Advent season, a season wherein the joyful hope that oozes out of today’s mass readings will take hold of us all.