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  • Writer's pictureFather George

From Father George's Desk 11/26/23

Today’s Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe is the final Sunday of the year of grace 2023. As the liturgical year draws to a close, today’s liturgy points us toward the end of time itself and the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Though some might regard this time with fear and anxiety, the liturgies of the Church encourage us to look forward to this time with hope. In fact, we recall that part of our Christian tradition is to actually long for—to actively pray for—the end of the world as we know it and the return of Christ in glory [2007 Sourcebook for Sundays and Seasons, p. 247].  In today’s gospel reading, St. Matthew powerfully and dramatically presents a vision of that return Our judgment before the King will not based on the creeds one professes or how proficiently one recites prayers or has nice thoughts or good intentions. Those things are important but what the Christian life truly demands is action—carrying out works and deeds consistent with the creed we confess and the gospel we profess. To the extent that we truly take this gospel mandate to heart, we overcome the fear and anxiety of “the last things” and, instead, look forward in hope that we will one day hear those blessed words, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Next weekend we usher in the year of grace 2024 as we begin the holy season of Advent.  This is a season of    preparation...not only for decorating, buying gifts, and other such things, but it should be, first and foremost, a season of spiritual preparation to prepare for the coming of Christ.  One very important part of this seasonal preparation is the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Please watch for the complete schedule of Regional Penance Services for Advent, which begin on December 14 at St. James, New Alexandria.

Thanksgiving is a time for many families to celebrate homecomings so, as we conclude the long holiday weekend, on behalf of the whole parish family, I extend a warm welcome to any and all visitors who are joining us at Mass today, especially to all family and friends who have moved far afield and have come back to “home” to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones.  We are always enriched by your presence among us.  For those who are traveling in the days ahead, we pray for safe travels and we look forward to seeing you again.

As you may have heard by now, Bishop Kulick has announced that the option for receiving Holy Communion under both species will be restored in the Diocese of Greensburg effective the First Sunday of Lent, February 18, 2024.  The decision to re-institute communion under both species is at the discretion of the pastor.  I am very much in favor of moving forward with restoring the option for both species, however, it has been nearly four years since distribution of the Precious Blood was suspended as the covid-19 pandemic began to sweep around the world. So, over the coming weeks, I will be working with Father John and Deacon Mike to begin planning for the best way to move forward with this re-introduction, to provide for catechesis for the parishes—especially for our young parishioners who made their First Holy Communions during the pandemic restrictions and have never had an opportunity to receive the Precious Blood—and updated training for Eucharistic Ministers. 



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