The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Celebrating the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph this weekend, we give thanks that Jesus came to make us holy. He sanctified his family, and in fact, God’s grace was upon Mary and Joseph to make them receptive to his will in order to welcome Jesus. Jesus sanctifies not only his own earthly family but the whole of the Church as we welcome Jesus into our hearts and our lives. That happens in a most profound way when we celebrate the Mass and receive Jesus in the Eucharist. See in your reception of Holy Communion that the Lord is sanctifying you, making you holy.
As this year draws to a close, I want to share some news regarding both of our permanent deacons, Ed Sullivan and Don Awalt. Don has been spending the last several months focusing his ministry on care for the elderly and infirmed at Stella Maris. He felt called to serve in that particular work of mercy, and we shifted his other responsibilities to allow for Don to dedicate himself more fully at Stella Maris. At this point, he feels called to continue in that ministry, and he has requested an official transfer of his ministry assignment to Stella Maris. Don and Kathy remain parishioners here at St. Joseph, but his diaconal ministry will be focused at Stella Maris.
After many years serving on the parish staff, Deacon Ed Sullivan is retiring at the end of this year. In addition to his diaconal assignment here at Saint Joseph, Ed began serving on the staff as a Pastoral Associate after his retirement from Bethlehem Steel, coordinating our Marriage Preparation and Baptism Preparation programs, serving as the liaison to our Fellowship Committee, visiting parishioners in hospitals, leading prayer services at the local nursing facilities, and much more. Ed has been a vital part of the team here, and while he will continue to assist in diaconal ministry in the liturgy and in some continued service with hospital and nursing home visits, he is looking forward to handing over some of the more administrative and programming tasks that he has handled so effectively for many years. Fr. Carlos took over coordination of Baptism Preparation some time ago, and now Amy Buttarazzi, Director of Family and Children’s Ministry, will serve as coordinator of Marriage Preparation. We wish Deacon Ed well in this new phase of his ministry and his “second retirement.”
On Monday, January 1, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. As we usher in the new year and ask God’s blessings upon us in all we do in 2018, we call upon Mary as our patroness and ask her to watch over us as ‘Blessed Mother.’ Because it falls on Monday this year, it is not a holy day of obligation. Mass will be celebrated on Monday at 8:30 am (there will be no Vigil Mass).
God’s blessings to all in this new year of God’s grace!