Dear Parishioners:Wow! Winter arrived with a vengeance this week! Snow on Monday and below zero wind chills on Tuesday! It’s hard to believe that it was just 70 degrees on Christmas Day and we had the air conditioning on in Church! Looks like our old friend winter is here for awhile so put away the shorts and get out the snow shovels!
This week a friend called me from sunny Florida to tell me he was on the beach. He took great delight in telling me it was 75, sunny and warm! I quoted the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov who once said, "People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy!” It was a good try! Can you really be as happy freezing in Rhode Island as you can be laying in the sun in Florida? Not so sure! Quite a few of our parishioners have flown south to sunny Florida for the winter, I don’t think they bought what Chekhov was saying! At least the days are getting a little longer in Rhode Island now!!
Sister Lourdes is returning from the Philippines next week after a month of meetings and conferences with her congregation at the Franciscan Apostolic Sisters Motherhouse. While she was away, Sister Emma was joined by the Franciscan Sisters who serve at the nearby Scalabrini Villa Home. So please be sure to welcome Sister Emma home when you see her next! We are happy to have her back and I know Sister Emma is too. The Sisters are truly a great addition to our parish family. They often express to me how happy they are here at OLM and how welcomed the parishioners have made them feel. They certainly are a joyful and faithful presence at OLM especially in their work at the parish school, the food pantry, teaching Religious Ed Class and visiting our parish shut-ins.
This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. It brings to an end the season of Christmas. On this feast the Church recalls Our Lord's second manifestation or epiphany which occurred on His baptism in the Jordan River. Jesus descended into the River to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget children of God. Many of the things which accompanied Christ's Baptism are symbolical of what happened at our own Baptism. At Christ's Baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him; at our Baptism the Trinity found its home in our soul. At His Baptism Christ was proclaimed the "Beloved Son" of the Father; at our Baptism we become the adopted sons and daughters of God. At Christ's Baptism the heavens were opened; at our Baptism heaven was opened to us. At His Baptism Jesus prayed; after our Baptism we must pray to avoid temptation and sin.
On Sunday on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we are to baptize six children into the Catholic Faith. It is a great day to celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism and a joyous day for these children, their families and our parish family of OLM.
Last year on the Feast, Pope Francis baptized several people. In his homily for the celebration , he stated: “Baptism integrates us into the body of the Church, into the holy People of God. And in this body, in this people journeying on, faith is passed down from generation to generation: it is the faith of the Church. This is really beautiful! It is a passing of the flame of faith from hand to hand: You, families, take the light of faith from Him in order to pass it on to your children. You receive this light in the Church, in the Body of Christ, in the People of God who are journeying through every time and in every place. Teach your children that one cannot be a Christian outside of the Church, one cannot follow Jesus Christ without the Church, for the Church is Mother, who makes us grow in the love of Jesus Christ.”
Let us all celebrate our own Baptism today. Let us also resolve to faithfully and joyfully live our Baptismal Promises! We congratulate our newly Baptized and welcome them into the Church, their Mother, and into our OLM Parish Family! Have a Happy and Joyful Feast of the Baptism of the Lord! Be well. Do Good. God Bless. Pray for the Pats, please!!!