Welcome to the new year, welcome to the new season of Advent. This is a time of preparation for the Incarnation, the birth of Christ. Since we do this each year it could possibly become routine. Our use of the Advent wreath helps us enter more deeply the Light that is coming into the world. This new season is one filled with hope. The darkness of the natural world can overcome and weigh upon us this time of year. So lighting each candle brings greater light creating a sense of expectation that can bring us out of our sense of routine.

There are some great things to look forward to in the coming days. On December 6th, the feast of St. Nicholas, is the admission Boards are in La Crosse. Besides all that goes on at St. Casimir and St. Peter parishes I also am a member of the Admissions Board for the Diocese of La Crosse. They meet a few times a year to review candidates for the seminary. Please pray for the candidates that will be meeting with the board along with vocations to the priesthood of the diocese from our parishes.

December 8th is a holy day of obligation. There will be a vigil Mass at St. Casimir at 5:15 pm December 7th. At St. Peter parish the Masses will be 8 am and 5:30 pm on the Holy Day of December 8th. Also at St. Peter parish that day is the Cookie Walk. I am sure it will have many wonderful treats that I shouldn’t really have. But do stop by and offer your support for the event.

Also needing support is our young people and their growing in the faith. That is the topic of Zachary Galante’s paper from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. (I offer the summary from the PNAC annual report 2022-23.) “One of the questions many parents wrestle with today is how to pass on the faith to their children. I focused on this question in my term paper. Recent research by Christian Smith and Amy Adamczyk studied this question from a sociological perspective. I studied their book, Handing Down the Faith, and put it in dialogue with the thoughts of St. John Henry Newman on belief and St. John Paul II on the family.

The argument is deceptively simple. Research shows that parents play the most important role in making the faith real and important in the lives of their children. The influence of the parent is tied in part to a healthy parenting style, but more to the parent’s own lived experience of the faith. Examples of this include the parents’ own commitment to attending weekly Sunday Mass, making prayer a part of daily life, and by speaking regularly and casually about topics of faith in relation to the ordinary realities of life. Through these practices, parents implicitly communicate to their children that faith in God is real, important, and worthy of making one’s own. We must invest in the evangelization and formation of parents to best help children come to know and love God.”

In essence, the above, is what the Second Vatican Council called for when it spoke of not compartmentalizing the faith. That we live it for an hour on Sunday and it does not impact or come into play the rest of the week. That is always a challenge for all of us to be a witness to the faith, yet with God’s grace, we can be joyful witnesses daily to all.