Fr. Vesely, Deacon Berigan and myself wish you all a very Happy & Blessed New Year. Appropriately, we begin the new year by celebrating the feast of Mary, the Mother of God. Mass for the Holy Day of Obligation will be at 4pm on Monday, December 31st and Mass on New Year’s Day at 11am. These are different times for our usual holy day Mass- es but given the circumstances of new year’s celebrations, I believe they will work better for most.
A week before Christmas we had a funeral Mass for Dolores Maras. She was a woman of faith who always carried the rosary and had a devotion to Mary. She had 5 children, 7 grandchildren & 2 great-grandchildren. Though confined to a wheelchair for several years, her family knows that in the glorified body God will give to us in the resurrec- tion, she will no longer be restricted in any way. We trust that she who had much faith will walk the halls of heaven.
A word of thanks for all the cards, cookies & other Christmas treats we received over the holidays. I guess people like to have a plump priest. No worries here.
It was on January 1st five years ago that I began as Pas- tor here at St. Leo’s. It’s unbelievable to me that that much time has passed already! But because of your support and faith, it has been a most joyful five years. So I will trust in your continuing support and prayers especially during the month of January. I learned a couple of weeks ago that I have prostate cancer. I have heard it said many times that prostrate cancer is very slow growing, but unfortunately I have the fast growing kind. But after a CT scan and a bone scan, it appears that mine has not yet metastasized. Because there is always the risk that it will spread however, the doctor has recommended that I have surgery as soon as possible to have it removed so that will likely be in January. I have a consultation with the surgeon on Friday of this week so I will learn more then. I don’t know how long the recovery period will be but it will be at least for a couple of weeks. Even in my Advent homilies, I have tried in my preaching to focus on the joy and peace we can experience even during challenging times, so now is the time for me to practice what I preach. I can tell you that already, God has given me the grace to receive support from many people and things have happened in such a timely way that I know it is more than coincidence. As St. John Paul II said, “In the designs of Providence, there are no mere coincidences”. I can see the hand of God behind all of this and I remain hopeful that I can let faith lead me. My biggest hope is that I can use this experience to become more understanding and compassion- ate to all those who are afflicted with illness of any kind. May the Divine Physician heal us all.