Thursday, December 24, 2020

A Christmas Message 2020

Dear Parishioners,

 "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.”  (Luke 2:  10-11)

I wish you and your families a happy and holy Christmas season.  Although the commercial celebration of Christmas started even before Thanksgiving, the Christmas season for the Church extends until January 10th with the Baptism of the Lord.  Don’t be in a hurry to take down the Christmas decorations too soon!

Even though it has been a most unusual year, there have also been so many blessings for which I thank God.  Most especially I thank God for the prayers, support, genuine love and concern of so many faithful parishioners.  May God bless you for your goodness!

I try to live by a philosophy (and truly believe) that God is ultimately in charge of every situation.  I pray constantly that His will be done.  I do not claim that I know each and every detail of His plan and what lies ahead.  But, in imitation of the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I attempt imperfectly to echo her profound trust and consent to the will of God:  “May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

I thank all who work so hard in the parish and continue to strengthen our Christian community.  Christianity is never a “spectator sport” in which we simply sit back, watch and cheer.  Rather, it involves active participation and a life-commitment:  daily prayer, attendance at Mass weekly, a sacramental life including regular confession of sins, Christian service, love (even of enemies), forgiveness, Christian charity, conversion, repentance, etc.

 As we adore the Christ Child in the manger at Christmas, may we be moved by the great love and humility that God showed to us in the birth of His Son!  God emptied Himself and became one of us.  Our faith also professes that He will come again.

 O come let us adore Him! 

 Be assured of my daily prayers and a remembrance in my Masses for all of you.  May I ask a small remembrance in your prayers and Masses as well? 

 On behalf of all our parish staff, have a blessed and peace-filled Christmas and a holy New Year!  I do not know what will be in store for us in 2021, but I trust that God knows what is truly best for us all.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A Different Kind of Spiritual Retreat This Year


Dear Parishioners,

By the time you read this, I will have completed my annual retreat.  Unfortunately, this year it was not made at a Trappist Monastery, as has been my frequent custom.  In fact, the monastery that I have visited for the past 40+ years—the Abbey of the Genesee in Piffard, NY—is not receiving visitors at this time due to Covid-19 restrictions.  Many of the Trappist Monks are elderly, some even infirm, and I can understand their caution in not accepting retreatants at this time.  Maybe next year?

This does not mean that I do not take my annual retreat seriously, despite the unusual circumstances.  I have told some that my first month in my new rectory was like being on a 30-day retreat already.  The rectory had no TV or internet for about a month after I first moved in.  Moreover, in my last assignment I lived with three or four other priests.  Suddenly, I was all alone.  I knew hardly anyone in this new assignment.  People were (and still are) wearing masks so I could not see their faces or observe their expressions.  Attendance at Mass was unprecedentedly low.  I, for a time, felt like St. Thomas More all alone in the Tower of London awaiting execution.  Thank God I was able to keep my head through it all!

Two of my priest-friends, who usually go on retreat with me, joined me this past week in my rectory.  We prayed together, watched some pre-recorded spiritual talks on video, offered Mass and enjoyed some camaraderie and fraternity.  Everyone knows how unusual 2020 has been, and making an annual spiritual retreat was not exempt.

As I related in an earlier bulletin message, I now have a small chapel in the rectory for prayer and reflection.   I am really never alone with Jesus here in the Blessed Sacrament.  No matter what part of the day it is—even on those nights where I may have some difficulty sleeping—I can make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament for some peace and solitude.

As Advent progresses, please remember to be counter-cultural and not be celebrating Christmas before it is time to do so.  Advent is for spiritual preparation to watch and wait for Jesus.  It has been a blessing for me to begin this new liturgical year with some time for prayer and reflection.

The Trappist monks, who begin their daily prayer with Vigils, get up when most of us are still sleeping (3:30 AM) and keep watch for the Lord Jesus in communal prayer.  It should be a consoling thought that there are contemplatives throughout the world like them who pray for us and the world.  Despite their mostly hidden lives, they are active in prayer and manual labor (ora et labora).  The monks at the Abbey of the Genesee have supported the monastery by baking bread (Monks’ Bread) and other baked goods. Maybe you would like to check them out online: ( or

Besides the opportunity to pray and worship with the monks, I will miss not being able to bring home a few loaves of Monks’ Bread this year! 

Oh well!  My stomach does not need the additional carbs anyway.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Some of the Monks' Bread products