Tuesday, December 19, 2023


Dear Parishioners,

Coming to the end of a calendar year and the beginning of a New Year makes me reflect on various past events and remembrances that I have.

I can recall reading George Orwell’s 1984 as a student and thinking about what would it be like when we actually reach that time period. Then there was the song 1999 by Prince. We were supposed to party it up like there’s no tomorrow. Then we faced the Y2K potential threat focusing on what will happen when the computers have to change to the next calendar year, 2000. In the end, it really didn’t live up to the hype.

I wasn’t born yet during major world events like World War I or II, or conflicts like Korea. The adults I knew sometimes talked about them and I read about these difficult times in the history books. I was a boy/teen during Viet Nam and remember some news stories from those tumultuous years (that included the sexual revolution, the drug culture, hippies and a regular questioning of all authority). I later witnessed the collapse of Communism in Europe and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. Later, the Gulf War was substantially more real to me as we could watch it on TV with reporters embedded with the troops. I actually was in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina when the Bosnian War (c. 1991-1992) broke out there. I had to get a number of teens and young adults who were part of a youth pilgrimage to safety in London at that time.  It was pretty scary! 

However, what I think substantially changed things for me/us in America happened in the year 2001—September 11, 2001 to be precise. I saw the 2nd plane hit the World Trade Center building on TV and later visited the ruins about a month or two afterwards. Things in America, I fear, will never quite be the same again.

What will 2024 hold? A U.S. presidential election is on the calendar. The Olympic Games are scheduled for Paris. There will be a Leap Year (February 29). What about the Catholic Church? In too many people's mind, we are currently in the midst of much confusion and uncertainty. What else will come?

As we approach the New Year, I customarily entrust and consecrate the parish wherever I am pastor to the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary to begin the New Year. I give this parish and all of its parishioners over to the loving care of the Mother of God. I invite you to join me at Mass for the New Year celebrating the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. I can think of no better way to start the New Year right.

Why not take the time to consecrate your families to the Blessed Virgin Mary’s maternal care as well?  Parents, you can (and should) pray for your children and families in your homes.

My prayers and Masses are continually offered for your spiritual well-being. Please remember me as well so that I have the graces necessary to live up to my responsibility as your pastor.

God’s blessings in the New Year!

Fr. Ed Namiotka

Monday, December 18, 2023

What Does Christmas Truly Mean?


Dear Parishioners,

Merry Christmas to all!


The angel said to them, “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. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Lk. 2:10-12)

The mystery of the Incarnation is foremost what Christmas is all about. God became a man for us. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Jn. 1:14) Timelessness entered into time. The almighty and all-powerful God became a helpless, vulnerable infant formed in the womb of a virgin. The creator of all life became subject to suffering and death. The infinite majesty of God became finite. God walked this very earth. He could be seen, felt and touched. Jesus is the face of God for us to see.

Christ’s humility should certainly be pondered as part of this mystery. Christ emptied himself (Phil. 11:5) and begins a hidden life in the womb of Mary. He has no royal palace and servants awaiting his birth but rather a stable. He was obedient to His parents and trusted in their care and protection as His life is threatened by Herod. He was forced to flee to a foreign land—Egypt. His life of sacrifice and humility will culminate in His suffering and death on a cross, like a common criminal.      

Secularists, atheists, agnostics, pseudo-intellectuals and various irreverent comedians may deny, doubt or make fun of that which Christians believe as a central mystery of our faith: God became a man. Yet, this is truly what Christmas signifies.

Unfortunately, Christmas is all too frequently experienced as a once-a-year, get-nicely-dressedgo-to-church experience. It becomes a time for the family to join together and share an extravagant meal. It is anticipated as a nostalgic, sentimental, feel-good holiday in which multiple gifts are exchanged. While these limited perceptions are not necessarily bad, let’s not miss one of the greatest acts of love ever given to humanity: For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son . . . (Jn. 3:16)

Christmas celebrates when Heaven touched Earth and the Love of God took human form. Christmas is when a baby—the Son of God and Son of Mary—is born for us in Bethlehem. Christmas is unmistakably and definitively about Christ—Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one, the messiah.

Christmas is a mystery that needs to be pondered regularly so that we can begin to examine all of its beauty—like a most magnificent gem. When you peer into the manger this Christmas, realize that before you is a glimpse of the love that God has for you by giving us His only-begotten Son.

On behalf of all of the priests that serve our parish, our sisters and staff, we wish you and your families a happy, holy Christmas and a blessed New Year! May the love of God which took human form in the person of Jesus be honored and revered in every human person that we meet.

After all, God became one of us.

Fr. Ed Namiotka


Gaudete Sunday

Dear Parishioners,
The liturgical season of Advent originated as a fast of forty days in preparation for Christmas. It was sometimes called Little Lent or St. Martin's Lent because it began on the feast of St. Martin of Tours (November 11). The third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday—from the Latin word “rejoice.” We rejoice because the Lord is near. Advent is halfway completed. Priests have the option of wearing a rose colored vestment and we light the rose candle of the advent wreath.
To me, the season of Advent is often treated like a neglected step-child. Society seems to overlook this minor penitential season and move right into Christmas. There is no fasting, sacrifice or spiritual preparation but Christmas parties, holiday shopping and increased celebration. Unfortunately, when the actual Christmas season begins with the Mass of Christmas Eve, many people will soon thereafter take down the decorations and the tree. Christmas seems to end all too abruptly within the actual Christmas season.
How often we are driven by the consumer mentality as the stores will begin preparing for Valentines Day and Presidents Day, immediately following those after-Christmas sales. Does everything have to be about buying and owning many things? I once read this thought-provoking saying on a t-shirt: He who dies with the most possessions still dies.
I believe in the importance of person and relationship over things and possessions. Christmas-time can have some wonderful effects when families come together and people socialize with both families and friends. People can be extraordinarily generous and kind as well.
But the essential meaning of Christmas should never be lost: God became a man. He revealed His life to us and spent time with us. He lived with us and died for us. Many messages distract from this one.  But the coming of Jesus Christ is truly the focal point of all human history. Why do even Christians sometimes miss or forget this truth?
What will it take to bring more people to realize the importance of Jesus Christ? Dynamic preaching?  Vibrant parishes? A plethora of activities? Better evangelization and outreach? A natural disaster?  War? An act of terrorism like 9-11? Sickness and death? God alone knows. 
I think that first and foremost there has to be more of a focus on prayer and conversion—a change of heart—within our parishes and families. The glamour of sin and the illusory happiness that it may temporarily bring has a choke hold on the world today. While many may not directly deny the existence of God, far too many live in such a way that His effect on our lives is negligible or non-existent.
Use the remaining time of Advent in the way it was intended. Prepare spiritually for the coming of Christ. Go to confession (the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation). Pray, fast, read Sacred Scripture, be charitable. Come visit Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
When Christmas actually arrives (Christmas eve), we will be much better off spiritually.
Come, Lord Jesus!
Fr. Ed Namiotka