My Dear Friends,
With today’s Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we conclude the Christmas season and what a blessed Christmas season we have had. Our priests were overjoyed, like the Magi when they saw the star, when they saw the amount of people that came to Mass during Christmas. I still remember Father Stephen’s exuberant joy when he saw the amount of people that attended his packed Christmas Day evening Mass. All throughout December, it was clear that we wanted to celebrate Christmas with great joy. When our school hosted the drive by pictures with Santa, we created a traffic jam for well over two hours in our neighborhood so that our children could celebrate. This festive joy should not end now that the Christmas season comes to an end, but that joy should be with us throughout the new year.
At every Mass on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we had visitors and parishioners who had not attended Mass since the pandemic started. There was a sense of excitement for them to be back inside our church. Many of them have continued coming to Mass in the ensuing weeks which are signs that slowly but surely our Mass attendance continues to increase in spite of the social distancing restrictions. People want to experience the Mass in person and receive Jesus in the most Holy Eucharist. People want to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation as well as we heard hundreds and hundreds of confessions during Advent. Our thirst for the living Christ has only deepened during the pandemic, and we come to our beautiful church to be fed with the graces that the sacraments give.
Today we focus particularly on the sacrament of Baptism and are reminded that though baptism we are all called to holiness of life. That joy that we experienced during Christmas, is the joy that Mary and Joseph felt when Christ was born, and it is the joy that new parents feel when they come to our church to baptize their children. There is a wonderful line in the Rite of Baptism when the priest or deacon addresses the parents that emphasized this call to holiness: “By water and the Holy Spirit [this child] is to receive the gift of new life from God, who is love. On your part, you must make it your constant care to bring him (her) up in the practice of the faith. See that the divine life which God gives him (her) is kept safe from the poison of sin, to grow always stronger in his (her) heart.” God shares with us his divine life through sacraments. May we continue to share that divine life and that divine joy with the world.
Finally, I want to thank all of you, my dear parishioners, for your overwhelming generosity in your Christmas offerings to the parish. We have had so many expenses related to COVID in the last year, and your unwavering generosity to Little Flower has been exemplary especially in online giving. This is a testament of your love for your parish, your home, and your love for the mission of the Church. May God bless your generosity abundantly.
God bless you all,