Dear People of Saint Anne,
On this Holy Family Sunday, between Christmas and New Year’s, we find ourselves in the middle of that season when: some of us can’t get enough of our family, some of us have had enough of our family and some of us pine for family members who have gone before us or live too far away to visit.
The Christmas season can bring out the best in families, and the not so best – as well. Christmas certainly draws families together but is also has a way of reminding us of the problems and challenges that divide us-be they estrangements, grudges or the unsettled arguments that divide us and keep us from being one in heart and mind.
On this Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, let us pray for families far and near.
Sirach, in our First Reading, offers a code of family behavior, good for every generation. He lists values like honor, respect, prayer, reverence, obedience, care, kindness and consideration of others.
Saint Paul lays out a similar home vision for family life. He calls us to put on – like a garment of virtues: heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness of those who offend us, gratitude and a willingness to let Christ rule our hearts.
On the eve of a new year, we might do well to ask ourselves if and how these virtues need to find a home in our hearts and in the story of our shared family life in the coming new year.
90th Anniversary of our Parish School: I call your attention to the 90th anniversary celebration of our Parish School on Saturday, April 14th. Saint Anne Parish School was the first Catholic elementary school in Lake County in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Please add the date to your calendar. Please check out page 18 in this week’s Clarion for details regarding the Mass of Thanksgiving and the celebration that will follow at Avante Banquet Hall in Fox River Grove. More information will follow in the coming weeks.
The Beloved Retreat: Have you ever wondered if there is more to life than meets the eye? You go to work, come home, aend to family life details, go to bed and begin the same routine all over again. Outwardly, you appear to be fulfilled and ready to begin the next day. In the midst of your daily schedule, you may wonder if God has a plan for your life or perhaps you are seeking a deeper relationship with Christ or a greater understanding as to the way your Catholic faith connects with your daily life. For 18 years, Saint Anne has offered the gift of the Kairos retreat to our high school teens to enable them to grow in the deeper themes of our Christian vision of faith and how Christ present in their everyday lives. Now, we are beginning a version of Kairos for adults.The Beloved Retreat is an adult moment for a renewal of one’s faith … an upper room experience for adults … an opportunity to hear a message of hope, an adult experience as to what it means to be a disciple … and to find a new sense of purpose and direction in the one and only life you have been given. Keep the weekend of Friday, March 2nd through March 4th open for this new adult renewal of faith, hope and love in your lives and hearts … more details in the coming weeks.
On a final note, Pope Francis, this last Wednesday, warned that there is a real danger in taking Christ out of Christmas. In the name of a false respect for non-Christians, which often hides to marginalize the faith, every reference to the birth of Christ is being eliminated from the holiday.
But in reality, the Pope said, this event is the one true Christmas … without Jesus, there is no Christmas … He is at the center, then everything around him, that is, the lights, the songs, the various local traditions and the local foods, all come together to create the atmosphere of a real festival … without the memory of Christ at its heart, the Christmas story loses its sting and true meaning …
I love this Pope …
Father Bernie Pietrzak