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From the Pastor 12/25/17

A blessed Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord, and a Very Merry Christmas to all!

I wish to express my grateful thanks for your generosity to the Christmas Collection, which we depend upon for the financial stability of our beloved parish. And a special thank you to all who have been generous in the Christmas flowers collection.

As we come to worship the new born King of Kings, Jesus Christ, we come in thanksgiving to God for his many blessings in our lives, especially the blessing of faith and family. In a very special way please remember those who are alone this Christmas and those who have lost loved ones since last Christmas. This Christmas please take some time to make a phone call or visit someone you know who is alone or mourning the loss of loved ones. Christmas is a joyful celebration, but for many it is also a challenge. Let us not forget them and let us pray for them.

Let us also remember one another and our parish this Christmas, we have so much to be grateful for, especially the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass and in Perpetual Adoration. We welcome so many new families worshiping here at Christmas for the first time, and family members coming home for reunions. As I remind the children of the school every time I celebrate Mass for them: St. Gertrude Parish and School is a School of Love. Love for God and love for one another. This Christmas let us pray that every day we will grow in our desire to become “Intentional Missionary Disciples of Jesus Christ,” telling others of the love that we have discovered in the Christ Child born for the salvation of the entire world.

Of course Christmas is not complete without taking the time to thank so many who have made our celebration so complete. First to the Dominican friars who have heard your confessions and prepared the Christmas liturgies and homilies; to our beloved Dominican sisters in our school, religious education program and youth ministry for preparing our children and young adults for Christmas; to our wonderful choir and cantors and to Mrs. Catherine Fishlock for beautiful music and song; to our ushers, lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, servers, and decorators. And to all of you who have come to celebrate with us. Together may we grow closer to our Divine Savior during the Christmas Season which begins the eve of Christmas and continues all the way to January 9, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Please remember that before Christmas we observe the Advent season, now we are in the Christmas Season. Now is the time to celebrate with Christmas parties and reunions. Let’s make sure we keep in mind this wonderful liturgical season of Christmas right up its end on January 9, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

This Christmas I have selected a sermon by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Africa, for you to take a few minutes of prayer and reflection:

“Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man.
Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you.
I tell you again: for your sake, God became man.

You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for his mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come.

Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.

He has become our justice, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written: Let him who glories glory in the Lord.

Truth, then, has arisen from the earth: Christ who said, I am the Truth, was born of a virgin. And justice looked down from heaven: because believing in this newborn child, man is justified not by himself but by God.

Truth has arisen from the earth: because the Word was made flesh. And justice looked down from heaven: because believing in this newborn child, man is justified not by himself but by God.

Truth has arisen from the earth: flesh from Mary. And justice looked down from heaven: for man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

Justified by faith, let us be at peace with God: for Truth has arisen from the earth. Through whom we have access to that grace in which we stand, and our boast is in our hope of God’s glory. He does not say: “of our glory,” but of God’s glory: for justice has not proceeded from us but has looked down from heaven. Therefore he who glories, let him glory, not in himself, but in the Lord.

For this reason, when our Lord was born of the Virgin, the message of the angelic voices was: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.

For how could there be peace on earth unless Truth has arisen from the earth, that is, unless Christ were born of our flesh? And he is our peace who made the two into one: That we might be men of good will, sweetly linked by the bond of unity.

Let us then rejoice in this grace, so that our glorying may bear witness to our good conscience by which we glory, not in ourselves, but in the Lord. That is why Scripture says: He is my glory, the one who lifts up my head. For what greater grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make his only Son become the son of man, so that a son of man might in his turn become son of God?

Ask if this were merited; ask for its reason, for its justification, and see whether you will find any other answer but sheer grace.”

God bless you, and a blessed week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor