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  • Writer's pictureFather George

From Father George's Desk 1/28/24

As we turn our calendars to the month of February this week, the Church prepares for one of its wonderful late-winter observancesOn Friday we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.  On this day—the 40th day since Christmas—we commemorate Mary and Joseph taking the infant Jesus up to the temple in Jerusalem 40 days after his birth, in accord with the Law of Moses, as recorded in Chapter 2 of Luke’s gospel.  Like the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord, the Presentation of the Lord is yet another epiphany or revelation.  In the gospel account of the Presentation, Luke   introduces us to Simeon, a man “righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of    Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.  It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.” As he enters the temple he takes the infant Jesus into his arms and blesses God: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” 

 

The English call this day Candlemas because Mass on this day begins with the blessing of candles to symbolize Christ as the Light of the World.  The appearance of the fat, furry rodent up in Punxsutawney on February 2 comes from an old piece of weather folklore; there’s a little English farmer’s rhyme that goes something like this:

 

 “If Candlemas be fair and bright, come winter and have another flight;

 If Candlemas bring clouds and rain, go, winter, and come not again.”

 

February 8 marks the 114th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America.  We will celebrate Boy Scout Sunday on February 11 at the 10:30AM Mass at Holy Family.  All Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturers, and Explorers and their leaders are invited and encouraged to attend this Mass in uniform.  Please be present by 10:20AM for line up and instructions.  Scouts and their leaders who may not be able to attend this Mass are still encouraged to wear their uniforms to whichever Mass they attend that weekend.

 

Just a gentle reminder about the strain the winter weather puts on the parish budget.  Every time it snows—even if it’s only a “nuisance snow”—parking lots need to be cleared and sidewalks need to be shoveled and salted.  And, of course, the furnaces and boilers get quite a workout.  The terrible weather conditions also have a negative impact on Mass attendance and our weekly offertory is often reflective of that.  So, I put forth this gentle reminder to please keep current with your offertory.  If you are not able to make it to Mass, hold on to your envelopes until you can or you can always mail them to the office. 

 

Finally, on Saturday the Church celebrates the Memorial of St. Ansgar.  He was born in Northern France in 801 and raised in a Benedictine monastery after the death of his mother when he was a young boy.  Ansgar became a noted teacher and preacher in Westphalia (the northwestern part of modern-day Germany) before being sent to Scandinavia as a missionary, at the request of the King of the Swedes.  In 831 he was appointed Archbishop of Hamburg by Pope Gregory IV.  Under Ansgar’s leadership, the Church continued to expand in Northern Europe, despite ongoing civil conflict and wars.  After the city of Hamburg was sacked by the Danes in 845, Ansgar continued his missionary work, establishing good relationship with the pagan king in Denmark, which led to Christianity being tolerated there.    Ansgar died in 865 and was buried in Bremen, Germany.  He is known as the “Apostle of the North” and is venerated as the patron saint of Denmark.

 

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