Dear St. Patrick’s Family,
We are already in the fourth Sunday of Advent, just a few days from the celebration of Christmas. Since this is the last month of the year, we look back and see that there were many events or moments which directly affected us. It could be that we arrived at the end of the year with anger, frustration, and sadness accumulated in our spiritual and emotional life. The joyful celebration of Christmas should be, dear family, the antidote to all of that which has gradually diminished our smile. This Holy Season is indeed an opportunity for us to forget and forgive the unfortunate and to move on with renewed spirits. It is time to enter into the mystery of Christ’s Nativity. And who else than the first people who experience Christmas to help us move into the mode of celebration and wonder. There was the holy couple, Elizabeth and Zechariah, parents of John the Baptist, who despite their old age never lost faith in God and at the end, were blessed with a baby. There was Mary and Joseph who were deeply surprised by the message of the Angel Gabriel, not being able to fully grasp the meaning of the message, and were humble enough to render their lives to God’s will. Yes, it is true that Advent and Christmas is a busy time for me as your priest; however, I very much enjoy this busy time. I enjoy it because the liturgy for this Season is so beautiful. The celebrations of our mother Mary, the Immaculate Conception and our Lady of Guadalupe are most joyful. I know this season can be busy and stressful for you too, thinking about those who will visit you, getting your Christmas shopping done, gathering the ingredients for the family meals and so on. Friends, let us prioritize what is essential to the Mystery of Christmas. It is about giving one’s time to one’s family, friends and to Jesus. It is about forgiveness and pardon. The best gift that you can give to St. Patrick’s is that you come and celebrate with us.
God bless the people of St. Patrick Parish.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.