God Has a Plan For Each One Of Us...

Dear Parishioners,

Jeremiah's opening, in our first reading, is perhaps one of the most heart-warming lines in all of Scripture:  "The word of the LORD came to me, saying: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you" (Jer 1:4-5).

I don't know about you, but I find this very consoling.  Pray on that line.  God knows exactly who we are.  He formed us in our mother's womb.  He designed us and is with us always.

It's easy when we're discouraged about our failures to think we're alone.  If we do see God (and the temptation is just not to think about him at all--he's ignored us when we're in darkness, we think), we feel God sees us as a failure, a disappointment.

But it's not true. God is with us, knows what's going on, and has a plan for us. 

Jesus could have thought this too when he was rejected by his hometown and had his life threatened (see the Gospel).  But he didn't.  He rooted himself in the Father's perpetual love.  He continued on with his journey. 

So too must we persevere when we have a setback.  Jeremiah's line can be a source of encouragement. 

Today, February 3rd, is the Feast of Saint Blase.  Blase (sometimes spelled Blaise) was a bishop in Armenia and martyred about the year 316.  Story has it that while he was in prison awaiting execution, a boy began choking on a fishbone.  Blase miraculously removed the bone from the boy's throat, saving him.  Even though it is a Sunday and we will celebrate Mass for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we will still do the throat blessing at all the Sunday Masses.  If you're not familiar with this practice, we use candles that were blessed the day before during the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Two candles (not lit, of course) are placed around the throat and the following prayer is said: "Through the intercession of Saint Blase, Bishop and Martyr, may almighty God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." 

It's that time of year for the Archdiocese Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA).  Many of you have already received a letter from the Cardinal requesting your participation in this year's campaign.  The funds raised from this campaign go to support the ministries and programs of the Archdiocese.  Each parish is assessed a goal.  Every dollar we raise over that goal returns to the parish for its own use.  Last year, for the 2018 ACA, our goal was $53,018.  We raised $69,603!  That's $16,508 we made for the parish.  That's a tremendous effort and I want to thank you all for your generosity.  We put that money to good use--facility improvements, school scholarships, and capital projects.  This year, our goal is $54,775. Hopefully we can once again surpass our goal.  Thank you for your support.  More to follow in the coming weeks.

There is no school this Monday.  School board will meet Tuesday at 7pm.  Wednesday I will talk to the 4th grade CCD students about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and after that talk I'll head over to the gym for the parents & pastor versus 8th grade boys basketball game.  The parents/pastor team beat the 8th grade girls last fall.  We'll see if we can keep our streak alive.

Saturday, February 9th is the annual Mother's Club Big Night Out. Thank you to Clare Ebbitt and Melissa Cacucciolo, the leaders of the Mother's Club, and all else who helped organize the event. 

Have a good week and enjoy the Superbowl this Sunday.  The Bears loss is still an open wound for me.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. James

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