Pastor’s Notes

I miss Christmas already!  Still, many thanks to all those who undecorated the Church last Sunday and prepared our worship space for this new season.   One of my favorite post holiday    quotes comes from the poem by Dr. Howard Thurman, “When the song of the angels is stilled…then the work of Christmas begins.” We celebrate this week Dr. Martin Luther King’s memorial and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Join us for Sunday Evening Vespers at 5PM in Dr. King’s honor. Ms. Andrea Hardin will be our speaker.

Our Basilica volunteers continue to care for the door of the parish office continues to ring with people in need.    In the Gospel, Jesus asks, “What do you seek?” This is often most important question in anyone’s life.  So much depends on our answer to it.   Andrew and his companion begin to respond by calling Jesus “ and asking another important  “Where do you abide?” a question no about address or geography.  He invites them to “Come and see.” And they do…immediately.  Only after they had spent three years in his company could Jesus answer their questions more fully.

The word, “liturgy” means “the work of the Assembly.”  As we begin “the work” of Ordinary Time, these readings invite us to take stock of what we most desire and how we are going after it.   The vocation to “come and see,” to remain with, to abide in Christ belongs to all of us, each in our own particular way.

St. Mary’s has been a Franciscan sponsored parish since the late 1800’s.  Religious sisters, friar brothers and priests paint a unique shape to local church within our Diocesan community.  Franciscans since the thirteenth century make the following of Jesus in fraternity, joyful prayer and “a simplicity of life” our first priority.   One of our friars says that we all enter heaven with only with a “letter of recommendation” from the poor.   Sister Sandra Schneider’s book, New Wineskins, noted that some Christians experience a call to make the religious dimension of their life uniquely important and central — so much so, that no other life commitment is possible for them.  “God seekers” is one of my favorite images for religious life …like the magi following the star in St. Matthew’s Christmas story.  We are not the only seekers in our locale.  We do it with our own Franciscan style, as many of you look for God in your own generous volunteerism and service.    Our Jesuit Pope Francis invites us to think more about all our calls within the missionary disciples of Christ.

Fr. Mychal Judge, the Franciscan chaplain to the New York Fire Department who gave his life at 9-11 stands out as we look at the work of this year.  It is like Samuel’s prayer in the first reading, “Lord, take me where you want me to go; Let me meet who you want me to meet; Tell me what you want me to say, and Keep me out of your way.”

A gentle week,
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM

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