First things first: Father Vesely & I welcome all of you here today, especially those who are visitors to our parish. We want you to know that we are always happy to have you join us in the praise of God. May the love from God and the love for God be the reason for your joy today.
Many people expressed to us the joy of reading a book that we gave away last year to everyone who joined us for Christmas Mass. They found it inspiring & thought provoking. We decided to do the same again this year so please be sure to receive a copy of the book entitled “Perfectly Yourself” written by the same author of the book “Resisting Happiness” which we gave last year. It is written by a Catholic family man named Matthew Kelly. I read the book myself during Advent and found it to be full of practical wisdom as it challenges us not to be perfect but perfectly ourselves. And there is a difference. I encourage you to underline or highlight passages you find especially interesting or helpful and to make notes in the margins. But also feel free to pass it on to someone else when you’re finished with it. I know you’ll find it full of insights.
In our rectory office we also have available a DVD (part of a whole series) in which Bishop Robert Barron shows us why Michelangelo has been one of the most influential people in Church history. Bishop Barron is a popular and interesting speaker who uses social media to help people better understand & appreciate the riches of Catholicism. Since we have limited copies, please stop by the office and ask for one if you have a DVD player at home. You can also find much of his great work online at wordonfire.org, YouTube, etc.
Of course it also brings us great joy when you express your kindness to us through cards and holiday treats. Between the graying hair and the expanding belly, I’m looking more & more like Santa every year. At least you help me to be jolly in the process.
I also received word from parishioner Jeanne Sabol that once again you have manifested your generosity in our annual Adopt a Child for Christmas program this year. We distributed over 500 gifts and collected a total of $2890! Plus the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association will contribute an additional $600 in matching funds. Jeanie suggested that we add at least 2 more charities to be the recipients of such generosity this year, such as The Malachi Center & the Backdoor Ministry of St. Malachi Parish. Both of these serve the homeless with meals every day and offer a shower program and after school care plus other services. Like last year, we also split the funds between Providence House, Womankind, St. Colman’s and our own St. Vincent de Paul Outreach organization. As Jeanne expressed, our parishioners are most generous & we hope that bringing joy to others will bring joy to you as well.