Soon we begin a new Church year with the start of Advent, so let’s take a moment to reflect upon what the Lord has brought us this year. It’s been a year of change for us at St. Peter’s and Casimir. Fr. Joseph has retired and gone back to India. We remember the twelve years of service he gave us and the sacrifice he gave being away from his family. He seems to have settled in and is enjoying time with his family and doing some ministry near him. He keeps all of us in his prayers. We miss him but wish him the best in retirement. We are blessed to have Fr. John as pastor now and he has embraced this new challenge with hope for our future and he brings years of experience in leadership and priestly ministry. We should all continue to pray for both of these fine priests.
We’ve lost members of our parishes as they have passed away, going to the Lord. November is a time to remember our holy dead and spend some time at the cemetery praying for the repose of their souls. You can receive a plenary indulgence for visiting a cemetery if you pray for the Holy Father, and receiving the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation during the month of November. I recently saw the movie After Death which tells stories of those who have had near death experiences, interviewing several people who experienced this as well as doctors and authors who have researched these situations. I highly recommend the movie! I came away from viewing this with a renewed sense of how wonderful the next life will be- supposing we are worthy of Heaven. We should prepare ourselves for our own judgment day and this month helps us remember that none of us will get out of this life alive. But we should view death as the next step, the final step, and prepare to meet the Lord.
Others in our parishes have been married, have brought children into the world, or entered into the Catholic Church. Congratulations to you! Let’s remember each of these people in our prayers and celebrate these wonderful events.
And in these final days of the Church year let’s plan for the year ahead. Let’s free up some time from our busy schedules to spend a few minutes each day in prayer, perhaps attend a weekday Mass, and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a more regular basis. Start with what is realistic for you and rekindle or strengthen your relationship with God. Remember God is always there for you, waiting for you to call upon Him. He will offer guidance in your life and will lead you to do His will- if you ask.
Blessings to you all as we complete this current Church year and plan for the new year.