My dear sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus,
With the new year comes transition(s) for many of us. Since last January, we at St. Elizabeth Seton have gone through many transitions: a new administrator and staff at the parish; a new principal and staff at our school; and the adjustment of all things new. And also, there have been numerous renewals in Liturgy and spirituality; communion in our community; and your commitment and conviction regarding your and our parish’s role in Christ Jesus’ ministry and mission to “proclaim the Gospel of God’s Kingdom.”
By “being alive in the Spirit,” we have remained joyfully faithful and steadfast to God’s promise that He remains with us no matter our circumstances. We are not merely “changing things or going through changes”; rather, we are being renewed: as re-creation begins on our physical grounds, so we are being renewed by God. That does take an openness and welcoming to God the Holy Spirit who gifts us with joy, patience, and understanding.
In the next several weeks, God is going to ask more of those gifts from us. Due to logistics and necessity, parking for Masses will be challenging. Portables for our school to conduct classes are needed, and the “prime parking spaces” (those closest to the gym) are where the electrical and water sources are located. The Parish Center will need to be closed for about a month, and this will require that we find other locations for our committees and ministries to gather. And also, there will be other sacrifices that we all must undergo.
I know that we will bear all these circumstances and inconveniences as best as we can by imitating Christ Jesus. And like Christ Jesus, we can do so because our sacrifices are for God’s glory and honor and the common good of our children and our community. We still have as our goal that the end of February will be our re-entry into the church. However, as all of us have experienced in our dealings with Irma, the extent of her damage only will be revealed as re-construction begins. And so, we continue to pray that there is no greater damage than already has been discovered, and that we soon will be back in our church, Parish Center, and our new Eucharistic Adoration chapel and meeting rooms.
Blessings and thanks to you for your prayers, encouragement, and support. Many of you have chosen to remain during this entire journey, and I cannot begin to express how meaningful that is to the parish and school staff and myself. We will transition through this with an ever increase of faith, hope, and love.
Peace and grace, Fr. Russell
On behalf of our children and their families, I want to thank all our “anonymous saints” who shared their talent, time and treasure to ensure that the Breakfast with St. Nicholas (Santa Clause) was a joyful event. We are blessed to have numerous parishioners who want no recognition, only the opportunity to spread the joy of Christ to/with others. Please know that all of you are greatly appreciated by all of us. -FR
Bible Study begins soon.
Bible study will begin again on January 24th and 25th. It will once again be offered on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-7:30 in the Faith Formation building or on Wednesday mornings from 8:30-9:30 in the Parish Center. We will be studying the Gospel of Mark for ten weeks. Mark’s Gospel is sometimes called “the Gospel of the Cross”. Rich in Scripture, theological in purpose, and brilliant in design, Mark’s Gospel invites its readers to become followers of Jesus’ transfiguring wisdom.?
Call the parish office (455-3900) to register for the session you want to attend. Books will be ordered for all who register.
During this Christmas season, especially on this Feast of the Magi, there truly is an epiphany before us- God’s own self-disclosure. As we are physically rebuilding, reconstructing, and restoring our “home,” we are witnesses to the Holy Spirit’s power of transfiguration and configuration among and within us. People, especially guests and visitors, have commented on our perseverance and joy during our time of repairs. Many have spoken of the greater intimacy in communion among us with our bilingual Masses; Liturgical celebrations are filled with reverence and gladness; and the Christ-like service, even among our guests, have encouraged and inspired more people to take ownership and stewardship in Liturgical ministries.
God’s self-disclosure consummately is found in Christ Jesus (the Word Incarnate), and God the Holy Spirit manifests (epiphany) this reality and truth by our discipleship. God’s revelation is not exclusively knowledge. Jesus is God’s Word: the same Word that creates, restores, and recreates. And when we are open to the Word Incarnate, our regeneration and transformation becomes something life-changing for/to others. Our lives witness and inspire others to commit themselves to and become Christ.
Our parish remains a home as we continue to remain a family. And our physical home (the church and other buildings) will continue to be restored because of us being alive in the Spirit- the Spirit that directs us to become Christ. Repairs are underway; the Friary’s restructuring is becoming a reality; and our school is beginning its renewal in late January.
Many blessings to all of you for your steadfastness of faith, hope, and love. Please continue to pray for all of us. Please continue to give whatever talent, time, and treasure you can for our parish’s role in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Many blessings are to be fulfilled in 2018; and so, let us go to Christ as our Lord and Light. Let us be joyful, for Jesus is the world’s joy. Peace. Fr. Russell