This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The Gospel passage relates the story of the twelve-year-old Jesus going up to the Temple in Jerusalem with his parents for the feast of Passover. When the festival days are over, while journeying home, Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus is not among any of the relatives. They go back to Jerusalem, and find him among the teachers. He is listening and asking questions. His parents are astonished, yet distressed that he has wandered off. Jesus says something they do not understand at the time: “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” The Gospel continues: “He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them…” Even as a young person, Jesus, the Son of God, was beginning to realize what his Father in heaven expected of him.
This year’s Christmas Masses were very joyful and spiritually enriching experiences with great attendance and participation, inspiring homilies, beautiful music, and an elegant environment adorned with trees, lights, flowers, wreaths, angels, lanterns, and nativity set. I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who helped out in any way to make our Christmas liturgies vibrant and festive celebrations. Thank you to our parish Worship Commission, our liturgical ministers, our musicians, our Art and Environment Committee, those who helped enhance the church space for the Christmas Season, and those who helped clean the church. I would like also to thank everyone who helped out in outreach ministries: Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to the sick and homebound, those who set up the Giving tree along with those who provided gifts and delivered gifts, those who baked cookies for the homebound and the food pantry, those who worked at the food pantry, those who went caroling to the health-care facilities, the parish staff, and those who worked behind the scenes, helping out in the church or the office.
Just a reminder: January 1, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, is a holy day of obligation. Mass at Saint John Paul II Parish is 10:00 AM on that day.
Special thanks to all for your Christmas cards, Masses, prayers, Christmas wishes, notes of affirmation and appreciation, goodies, treats, and gifts. I greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity. I feel very blessed by the parishioners of Saint John Paul II Parish. I hope all of you had a joyous Christmas!
Blessings on your Christmas Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ