My Dear Friends in Christ,

Dear People of God,

A Well Beloved Child

Does that describe you? Do you feel you are a well beloved child of God? Do you perhaps feel just the opposite? Or do you feel your are somewhere in-between beloved and bad? Have you improved during your life or have you been on a downward slippery slope? Or, somedays you just aren’t sure? These may be a difficult question for you; maybe they are questions that you just don’t want to tackle. Let’s look at all of this in a different way.

Have you been baptized? If so, were you an infant at the time or as an older child or adult? Do you know the date you were baptized? In what Church did the ceremony take place? Who were your sponsors or god parents? Do you still see them? Who was the officiating priest or deacon? During the baptism did you cry, scream, sleep, or look pleasantly pleased? Surely, there must be pictures of the blessed event? I was baptized on August 5, 1945 (less than two months after I was born) at St. Anastacia Church in Waukegan where my parents were married. Both of my godparent are now deceased—I officiated at their funerals (as I did for my parents).

Baptism makes us well-beloved children of God. That does not mean that we are perfect (or even close to it). At His Baptism, Jesus heard the voice of God saying, “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased.” We hear these words in today’s Gospel—Luke 3: 15-21. Is it easy or difficult for you to believe that you are God’s beloved child?

Why do you think this?

Today, I want you to picture some of the symbols of our baptism: water, light, oil, garment, god-parents, Minister. They are on display in the sanctuary for us to contemplate as we renew our baptismal promises as God’ chosen people. Rejoice that you are a well-beloved child of God; He is well-pleased with you. If, by chance, you have not been baptized, then let’s talk about that!

Also, Christmas isn’t over yet; the Christmas season officially ends this Sunday after all our Masses are concluded. And even after that, Christmas and its message and grace still abide in our hearts. That makes us well-behaved indeed! Welcome Café Next weekend we will enjoy our January Welcome Café. Our hosts will be our School Board of Specified Jurisdiction.

This will prepare us for Catholic Schools Week which begins on January 27.

Next Weekend

The topic of my Homily will include the annual parish financial report for the fiscal year (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018). It will focus on the present state of the parish and my vision for our parish community for the upcoming months. It will include the Archdiocesan evangelization initiative called Renew My Church and our role in it.

It’s Coming

The Penitential Season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6; that is less than two months away. Is there anything special or unique that you would like to happen during Lent this year?

For Your Information

The elevator/life in our Historic church has been shut down for repairs the past several weeks. The repair service we utilize has informed us that there is no way to just do repairs on it; it will need to be replaced. That is the only alternative. I will let you know what this will entail and a proposed cost. I will share with you before a decision is made concerning what we can do. I will seek your advice before any decisions will be made. FYI—the elevator was installed in 1999 after the fire in the Historic Church. In the meantime, when scheduling events there, please remember the elevator is not useable.

In Christ our Brother,
Fr. Merold