Merry Christmas one last time! Today, with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, is the official end of the Christmas Season. After this weekend’s masses, all the Christmas Decorations will come down and we’ll have a few weeks of Ordinary Time up until Ash Wednesday. I want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped in any way this holiday season. Although things were still a bit more limited than normal, Christmas certainly felt a whole lot more normal than Easter. It’s good to start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
This week, we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Now, we all know that Baptism washes away original sin, but if that’s the only thing we think of, it seems strange for Jesus to be baptized. After all, John the Baptist said he wasn’t even worthy to untie his sandals and yet he baptizes our Lord. It’s sort of strange when we first see it, until we realize that Jesus’s Baptism is the very thing that makes our baptism possible. As God, when he is baptized, he makes all of the waters of the world holy, making our own baptism possible. When we are baptized, we’re reborn through our Lord, reformed into his image in a new way.
I think it’s especially meaningful this year, as we walk through the sprinkling rite, realizing that since March we haven’t had holy water in the fonts at the entrance of the Church. So this weekend, how much more it means when we’re sprinkled with that holy water.
Now, this being the new year, there are lots of exciting things coming up soon. Not all the details are put together yet, but it’s nice to at least have some idea of what’s coming. First of all, we just finished our first High School Religious Ed meeting this week. Our high school students are meeting online for this spring semester, we had most everyone present, and I know Sister and I are looking forward to what’s coming. We met with our Family Catechesis group already, and more information should be coming for our elementary grades this week. Please keep our religious education students and families in your prayers, it’s quite an adjustment for all of us.
As for Parish Council, we’re currently setting dates to have our first meeting. It should be sometime this month. I’m looking forward to getting things moving.
Every year in January, we celebrate the annual March for Life. With all the current COVID restrictions, things will be a little different this year. For myself, this will be the first time in many years that I didn’t go on a bus to DC for the trip. Instead, I’m looking for us to have a time of prayer for the unborn here in our Church. I hope to have some plans to share by next week.
At the end of the Month, beginning January 31st we’ll be celebrating Catholic Schools Week. This has been an especially challenging year for all of our young people between in-person and virtual school, and for our school as well. We had a number of new parishioners start at NCCS this year, and it’s been good to see them do well. Thank you to all those who have sacrificed to choose Catholic Education.
Finally, we’ve set a date for our spring dinner. I really want to thank everyone who helped us recover after our abruptly cancelled Turkey Dinner. This spring, we’re going to change things up a little bit. Since we had already ordered the Turkeys, we’re going to have our Turkey Dinner on Sunday March 21st in a take-out only format. We’ll then plan to hold our regular Halupki (pigs-in-a-blanket) dinner sometime later this summer. Let’s hope and pray that by summer, COVID will have calmed down enough that we’ll be able to have a real sit-down dinner when it’s time for pigs.
Another good thing that has been happening in our parish the last few weeks. I’ve just sat down with a few couples who are planning weddings this summer. Please keep them in your prayers that with all the restrictions we’ve been having, they might be able to have the wedding they’ve been hoping for.
Please know that all of you are always in my prayers,
PS: As a late addition, as the bulletin was nearly finished before Wednesday’s troubling events, I simply want to ask everyone to continue to pray for our nation, especially in our current days. We certainly need God’s grace in our own lives and we need His grace in our nation.
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.