Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
From the Pastor’s Desk
January 1, 2023
“And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.”
~ Luke 2:19
Happy New Year!
For some reason, this time of year, as we say goodbye to the previous twelve months and welcome a ‘New Year,’ our society tends to take the opportunity to reflect on the good and the bad of what has come to pass. We take a minute to consider those we lost, athletes, singers, actors, and perhaps folks closer to our hearts, family members, friends, or parishioners. Then, for most, we begin taking stock of what we hope a new year will bring and any life changes we would like to make, and inevitably another list is formed, one filled with resolutions.
Taking time for reflection in itself is never a wasted effort. Still, on these first days of 2023, when you consider what has passed and what’s ahead, I’d encourage you to make it less about you and more about God. Ask yourself, where in my life did the Lord reveal himself to me? At what times did I cooperate with God’s grace, and what fruits resulted from my cooperation? Lastly, we would be remiss not to look deeper at any persistent sinful behaviors we cultivated in 2022 and how our sinfulness affected our relationships with others and Jesus. With these examinations on our hearts, let’s ask God to bless the coming year and give us firm resolve over the next twelve months so they might be filled with spiritual growth. Ask God for the courage to take advantage of the Sacraments, especially Reconciliation, so we can turn away from sin and turn to the Lord. And when the first few months of 2023 pass, let’s not stop reflecting. During all four seasons in 2023, consider the guideposts God is placing in your path. Ask Him how these might lead you to stretch and grow in faith. Be sure to listen intently for the Lord’s small and clear voice in response, then take time to draft yet another list containing all the ways God guides your life!
As I look upon this past year, I am incredibly grateful for how the Lord worked all things for good, as 2022 was a year marked with continued revitalization and engagement for our parish. While I’ve received many compliments for how we enabled parishioners to stay connected through the pandemic, we are blessed to welcome many friends, family, and neighbors back to our beautiful OLPH campus for Mass, worship, and ministry with one another. From the faith formation of our youngest children and youth, as well as the ongoing formation in our greater parish community seen in RCIA, Women, Men’s and Marriage Ministries, pastoral outreach and care, and the many groups that form friendships around discipleship.
To continue that momentum and kick off a fantastic, faith-filled 2023, I would like to point out these upcoming opportunities, most happening at the beginning of January; consider yourself invited! ChristLife will start the next cohort of Discovering Christ; the Women’s Ministry is hosting ‘These Beautiful Wounds’ Visio Divina with Sacred Art & Scripture over six weeks. Our Men’s Ministry is launching a group to engage in Exodus 90. An excellent online marriage enrichment opportunity is available for couples by participating in the Marriage Course. In addition to responding yes to any of these offerings, please consider asking a family member, friend, or neighbor to join you.
Finally, I will teach four sessions on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. These can be enjoyed as an independent learning opportunity or complement Fr. Mike Schmidt’s Catechism in a Year which many parishioners are participating in, available on the Hallow app. If you would like to RSVP for these great opportunities, you can visit our homepage, OLPHParish.org, or contact our Parish office at (410) 747-4334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.