With Thanksgiving approaching, I think it is always a good practice to take the time to say “thanks” to God for the many gifts and blessings that we have in life.
First of all, I thank God for what He has done in my life. I thank Him for the gift of life itself, for health, for family, and for the gift of the ministerial priesthood. I also give special thanks for you, my parishioners, whom I have the privilege of serving in Holy Angels Parish.
For more than a decade, my family has joined me for dinner at whatever rectory where I have resided as pastor. This year will be no exception. I will cook the two turkeys and some of the sides while my family members will bring some of their specialty dishes. We usually have over twenty people around the dinner table. This year we will also celebrate my mom’s 85th birthday while the family is all together.
I think that there is no better way to give “thanks” to God than by joining together for the Eucharist—the most perfect offering, the most perfect prayer of thanksgiving to God. What a privilege to receive the precious Body and Blood of Jesus our Savior! We remember Him at every Mass when He took ordinary bread and wine and changed these elements into the inestimable gift of Himself for us! Please make it a priority to join our parish family each week around the altar to give thanks. Please join us for Mass on Thanksgiving Day (9 AM) as well!
The 1st Sunday of Advent begins on December 2nd and the new liturgical year commences. While the Christmas season does not actually begin until Christmas eve, we are unfortunately driven by the consumer mentality that starts selling Christmas items as early as late summer. By the time Christmas arrives, people are ready to take down decorations when the actual Christmas season is really just beginning. Incidentally, the Christmas season ends this year on January 13th with the Baptism of the Lord.
I am still looking for a few people from our parish to participate in the Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in South Jersey. According to the diocese, this event (March 25-28, 2019) “will bring together pastors and representatives from every parish in the diocese for an intensive four days that, it is hoped, will have profound effect — both spiritually and practically — on the future of the diocese.” Our bishop “has instructed every pastor to pick 10 delegates from his parish to attend. Ideally, the delegates will represent different heritages, backgrounds, ages and viewpoints — and include parishioners who have gifts and talents yet to be tapped.” If you feel inspired to step up and become more of a servant-leader (missionary disciple) within our parish, please contact me as soon as possible so that we can discern your potential and inform you of all the details of the event.
Finally, thanks to all who have made a commitment to our parish by your gift or pledge to our Catholic Strong campaign. Remember that 70% of all money collected stays right here in the parish so that we can accomplish what we need to do here, whether it be ministerial programs or a necessary repair or maintenance issue to one of our many buildings. Please be kind to our volunteers when they call!
On behalf of all our clergy and staff, have a happy, blessed Thanksgiving with your families!
Fr. Ed Namiotka