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  • Writer's pictureFather George

From Father George's Desk 1/7/24

Today’s Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord and tomorrow’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord  brings our brief-but-glorious celebration of the Christmas Season to a close.  In some cultures Epiphany is celebrated with even greater fanfare than Christmas Day as we celebrate the visit of the Magi to the Christ child manifesting the glory of God to the nations.  Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist is the turning point that marks the end of his early manifestations and the beginning of his public    ministry.  From here he will begin his work of proclaiming the Good News and gathering disciples to himself.  May our celebration of this Christmastide give us the grace to answer the call we have received in baptism to place our gifts—-not gold, frankincense, and myrrh but our time, talents, and treasure—in service of the Gospel:  to follow the Lord all the days of our lives and to continue the work he has commissioned his disciples to do: to proclaim the Good News and to build the Kingdom of God.


What is the Good News that Jesus begins proclaiming from his baptism? Pope Francis writes: “Faced with a vision of justice as the mere observance of the law that judges people simply by dividing them into two groups—the just and sinners—Jesus is bent on revealing the great gift of mercy that searches out sinners and offers them pardon and salvation.” [Misericordiae Vultus, #20]   As we go forth into this new year, may we who rejoice that we have been sought out and offered this extraordinary gift, share it with the world by our thoughts, words, and deeds.  As the Holy Father reminds us, mercy must always be placed at the   center of our lives as disciples.


Thanks to some ridiculously early bulletin publishing deadlines over the past several weeks, this is the first column I am actually writing since Christmas.  So, as the Christmas Season winds down this weekend, I finally have the  opportunity to send out a big “thank you” to everyone who helped make our celebration of Christmastide so joyous and wonderful.  Even though I was battling the tail-end of a cold, my first Christmas in Latrobe was, indeed, a joyful one.  I wish to thank everyone who showed me such great generosity for all of the beautiful cards, gifts, and goodies.  Your warm wishes, kind words, and generous spirit are very much appreciated.  Please be assured of my  continued prayers for all of you throughout this new year!  Thanks to the volunteers who turned out to decorate and prepare our churches for Christmas.  I have received many compliments on how nice everything looks; your labors are very much appreciated.  Thanks to the liturgical ministers for exercising your ministries over the Christmas season; we are grateful for sharing your time and talent with our parish family all year long.  A big thanks to those in music     ministry who added so much to the liturgies of this wonderful season; all of your preparation and practice was appreciated and enjoyed by all who gathered for worship.  Finally, thanks to all of you for your presence at the liturgies of Christmas Day and the Season.  I pray that the joy-filled spirit of prayer and praise present this Christmastide will continue to resound in our parish throughout this new year!


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