Happy New Year! I hope and pray that 2015 may be a year of blessings for all of you and for our parish. It is hard to believe that it’s already a new year. Where did 2014 go? I thank the Carparco Family of the Hill Funeral Home for once again sponsoring our parish calendars. These beautiful Catholic calendars were distributed last weekend at all Masses. We are grateful for them and hope you put them to good use in your homes. On the Epiphany of our Lord, according to an ancient practice of holy Church, the movable feast days are announced. The proclamation of the date of Easter and the other moveable feasts on Epiphany dates from a time when calendars were not readily available. It was necessary to make known the date of Easter in advance, since many celebrations of the liturgical year depend on its date. The number of Sundays that follow Epiphany, the date of Ash Wednesday, and the number of Sundays that follow Pentecost are all computed in relation to Easter. Although calendars now give the date of Easter and the other feasts in the liturgical year for many years in advance, the Epiphany proclamation still has value. It is a reminder of the centrality of the resurrection of the Lord in the liturgical year and the importance of the great mysteries of faith which are celebrated each year. It can be found in this week’s bulletin, so be sure to mark your calendars! The Rhode Island General Assembly begins its new legislative session on Tuesday, January 6th. Also on that day our new Governor and all the of the General Officers are to be sworn in and begin their duties. We wish them well and commend them all to Almighty God. We pray that they may truly serve our state with integrity and honesty and serve the common good of all citizens. We pray that they ensure the protection of the most vulnerable among us: the poor, the elderly, the refugee, the sick and the unborn. And may Saint Thomas More inspire them and intercede for them. As the General Assembly resumes its duties in January so also do I resume my duties as the Director of the RI Catholic Conference and chief lobbyist for the Church on Smith Hill. Once again the Church’s advocacy for the unborn, the immigrant, the poor and the most vulnerable among us continues on. Without a doubt there is much work to be done by our state leaders on the economy but also ensuring the sanctity of all human life and respecting the human dignity of all. I ask for your prayers for me and for the work I do with our elected officials.
This is the final week of the Christmas Season as it ends next Sunday on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. So take a good look around the Church at the beautiful decorations, plants and the crèche. After next Sunday they are to be put away until next Christmas! I received many positive comments about the new outdoor crèche in Mercy Park. It certainly is beautiful and I am grateful to Paul Anderson and Doug Green who designed and constructed the barn for the figures. The design and the lighting of the crèche invite you to stop, reflect and pray to the Holy Family. This beautiful nativity set was purchased at Tally’s just before Christmas and is available to be memorialized if anyone is interested please contact me.
We celebrate the great feast of the Epiphany this week. What the Church celebrates today is the manifestation of our Lord to the whole world. He is revealed to the Magi who have come from the East to adore Him. The Epiphany is an affirmation of universal salvation. Pope Francis reminds us: “The destiny of every person is symbolized in this journey of the Magi of the East: our life is a journey, illuminated by the lights which brighten our way, to find the fullness of truth and love which we Christians recognize in Jesus, the Light of the World. Like the Magi, every person has two great ‘books’ which provide the signs to guide this pilgrimage: the book of creation and the book of sacred Scripture. What is important is that we be attentive, alert, and listen to God who speaks to us, who always speaks to us.” Happy Epiphany! God Bless.