Prayer

Dear Parishioners,

There was a high school teacher who asked each member of his class to interview three people about prayer. The students were to ask them five questions:

Do you pray?

Do you pray daily or only occasionally?

Why do you pray?

How do you pray?

Who taught you to pray?

Three surprises emerged from the student interviews. First, the students were surprised how willing people were to talk about prayer. Second, the students were surprised how many people pray daily. Third, the students were surprised how many of their close friends prayed. They had never discussed it before.

These student interviews enabled the students to learn more about each other’s faith. They allowed the students to share their faith with one another.

When we turn to the Lord in prayer, we grow in our relationship with Him. When we stay true to following the Lord’s teaching, we become Christ to one another.

Lord, teach each one of us that here on earth you have

no hands but ours to reach out to the needy.

You have no heart but ours to embrace the lonely.

You have no voice but ours to share the message of

why you lived, suffered and died for us.

Lord, teach us that here on earth

we are your hands,

we are your voice,

we are your heart.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Christmas

Dear Parishioners,

On December 25, we celebrated Christmas, the birth of our Savior. Since then, it has been the Christmas season, continuing the celebration of Jesus’s coming into the world.

The Christmas liturgies here at St. Joseph were beautiful. The Midnight Mass was well attended. So many parishioners took part as ministers in the liturgies. The music was lovely and the church couldn't have been decorated any more beautifully.

Today in the Catholic Church is the Epiphany. We celebrate the three Wise Men who were led to the newborn Jesus by following a star. When they arrived, the Wise Men presented Jesus with the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The Christmas season ends tomorrow when Jesus, now an adult, is baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Jesus would then begin his public ministry, teaching about the Kingdom of God.

The Christmas season is a beautiful time in the Church. It is a time when family and loved ones come together. As we continue to give time to God, family and loved ones, we will make Jesus visible not only at Christmas, but every day.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

A Holy (and Human) Family

Dear Parishioners,

I hope everyone enjoyed this past week as we celebrated Christmas. I am sure many of you were together with your families, exchanged presents and enjoyed special time together. I know after the masses Christmas Day I went to see my family. We exchanged presents and I enjoyed the time with them.

Today we celebrate the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph. When we think of them, about what they’ve done and who they are to us, it’s difficult to think of them as any ordinary family. Yet the Holy Family presented to us in today’s Gospel is a truly human family. What they experienced when they lived here on earth is very similar to what so many of us experience in our own lives.

When Mary gave birth to Jesus, a family was formed. Now Joseph already had to make a difficult decision when he learned that Mary was expecting a baby. Then, he and Mary were forced to travel to a strange town where Mary would give birth. Because they couldn’t find a room, Mary was forced to give birth in a stable, which is where she gave birth to Jesus and laid Him in a manger.

Today, in our families, we fulfill God’s plan as we go about our regular way of life. Throughout all the changes that have come about in modern living, the family has remained important. It is through regular family life that we can grow in holiness and in knowledge of God’s Will. It is by facing Life’s happiness and difficulties together as a family that we grow in understanding and in love.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

 

Excitement and Celebration

Dear Parishioners,

We are just about to celebrate Christmas. It’s time to take care of any last minute things we still have to do. This is an exciting time of year.

The greatest excitement is what we’re about to celebrate . . . the birth of our Savior! The true celebration of Christmas is Jesus’s coming into the world so we can be saved.

Today’s gospel tells us about the angel Gabriel coming to Mary and telling her she was chosen by God to give birth to our Savior. Mary’s “yes” brought Jesus into the world, who would gain for us the gift of eternal life.

So as we take care of everything we have to do before Christmas, let’s be sure we’re preparing for Jesus, the true celebration. And let’s always remember Mary’s “yes,” which brought Jesus into the world, who would gain for us the gift of eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Dear Parishioners,

It is the third Sunday of Advent, and we’re two weeks away from Christmas. The season of Advent looks two ways. It looks backward to the first coming of Jesus into the world. It also looks forward to Jesus’s second coming at the end of time.

You and I stand at the midpoint between these two great historical moments. Our job is not to just look backward to the one and forward to the other. Our job is to roll up our sleeves and complete the work Jesus gave us to do at His first coming.

What does this mean? It means building up the Kingdom of God in our world. It means filling our world with love rather than hate. It means filling our world with forgiveness rather than resentment. In short, it means building the kind of world Jesus himself would build if He were in our place.

This is the message of today’s readings. It is the message that Jesus is the promised Messiah. It is the message that Jesus will come again at the end of time. It is the message that Jesus will judge us when He comes on how well we built up His kingdom here on earth.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Advance Man

Dear Parishioners,

Back in ancient times when a king planned to visit a certain town, he sent an “advance man” ahead of him. Because few ancient roads were paved with gravel or stone, the advance man would have the people fill up mud holes and straighten out the paths. Another thing the advance man did was instruct the people in the proper protocol for receiving the king.

In the season of Advent, the Church is the advance man. It focuses our attention on Jesus. It tells us Jesus is coming and discusses how to prepare for Him.

In today’s gospel, John the Baptist was Jesus’s advance man. He saw that the roads were prepared and told the people to be kind to one another, just as Jesus teaches us.

As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’s coming, we, too, want to follow Jesus’s teaching of kindness to one another. Along with preparing to celebrate Jesus’s birth, we’re also preparing for Jesus’s second coming when we receive our final judgment.

So let’s see the church as Jesus’s advance man. In our kindness to one another, we’re following Jesus’s message of love. Then we will be preparing to celebrate Jesus’s birth at Christmas. We will also be preparing for His second coming at the end of time.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Advent

Dear Parishioners,

The season of Advent has begun. At this time of year, it is getting darker earlier and the temperature outside is colder. It is also the time of year when we enjoy coming home in the evening to the warmth of our home and to be with our family.

Advent is a season of preparation. We are preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior. On the first Sunday of Advent, the first candle on the Advent wreath is lit. Each Sunday in Advent, an additional candle will be lit symbolizing that we are closer to Jesus’s coming into the world.

It is important to remember that every day for us is a time of preparation. In the season of Advent, we prepare to celebrate when Jesus first came into the world. But every day we are preparing for when Jesus comes a second time and we face our final judgment.

During Advent, we may feel closer to one another as we buy gifts and plan for our Christmas celebration. We may also find ourselves being kinder to one another as we prepare for our special day. But the extra time we give to God and the extra goodness we show to one another is not only to happen during Advent. This is how Jesus asks us to live every day.

We truly show our love for God and others in Advent as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Let’s be sure to remember that every day is a time of preparation. So after we celebrate Christmas, nothing needs to change. Jesus will come again. Let’s prepare for His coming that day the same way we prepare to celebrate His first coming – through our love for God and one another.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

A King

Dear Parishioners,

When we think of a king, we think of someone of great power. A king is someone who dresses to represent royalty and is well respected. Today in the Catholic Church, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King.

Jesus is our king. He was very poor and had no material goods. He didn’t dress to represent royalty. Throughout His public ministry, Jesus was put down and ridiculed, not receiving any respect. Eventually He was put to death. So Jesus didn’t live up to our image of a king.

This is because Jesus’s kingship was not a kingship of power or royalty. Jesus’s was a kingship of humility. Jesus looked for nothing for Himself, just what He could do for His people, just what He could do for all of us. Today, as we celebrate the feast of Christ the King, we celebrate the humble Jesus, who gave His life so we could be saved.

Jesus tells us in today’s gospel that we express our love for God through our love for one another. As we follow Jesus’s example of love and humility, we prepare ourselves for the gift of eternal life. And we will receive that gift by following the teaching of Christ the King.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick