FTPD : Christmas Message from Father Jim Petrie| December 23, 2021

FROM THE PASTOR’S DESK: December 23, 2021

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

This quote is an appropriate reflection as we celebrate this great feast of the Birthday of Our Lord – Christmas.  During this holiday season, we remember that the Lord Jesus entered this world as a small child – a baby.  He became a vulnerable person to begin his mission on earth.  Jesus came to bring peace to the earth and to create a new society of love.  When we look on our earth we see that the presence of Jesus still needs to be brought to many people.  We pray for peace on earth.  We especially pray for those areas experiencing war and violence at this time.  We pray for peaceful solutions in the Middle East, the birthplace of Jesus and Mary.  We pray for the people of Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, North Korea, Palestine and Ukraine.  We ask that Jesus, the Prince of Peace bless these areas.  We also pray for the vulnerable of our society – the poor and the marginalized.  We pray for the elderly and unborn.  We pray for those who struggle to provide for their families while living in poverty.  We pray for those whose lives are scarred by abuse and violence, especially women and children.  We pray for those who suffer physically and mentally.  We pray for those individuals who are rejected by family and society.  Jesus’ birthday is a reminder that we have much to do in God’s Kingdom here on earth.

This season is also about reflecting on the blessings we have received.  As pastor of Saint Benedict Parish, I too, have many people that I am thankful for.  I thank Father Patrick Ohl, who has just come to the parish but is making his mark on the parish!  I wish to publicly thank my staff: Deacon Leonard Gallant and his wife Lorraine, Janis Asdrubolini, Alma Paje and Massimo Corrado.  All of these individuals give much more than is expected of them.  I thank them for their hard work in our parish community.  I want to thank the liturgical ministers: our lectors, Eucharistic ministers, ministers of hospitality (ushers), greeters, sanitizers, baptismal preparation team and sound/video technicians.  Their commitment to the parish is deeply appreciated.  I want to thank the musicians of our parish.  They have made our liturgies more special by their talents.  I want to thank the service organizations of our parish: the Legion of Mary for the wonderful outreach they provide to ensure that the sick and elderly are part of our parish community.  I want to thank the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic Women’s League for their social and financial support of our parish.   I also want to thank the administration and staffs of our school communities for their hard work in preparing our children for the sacraments of reconciliation, first Eucharist and Confirmation.  On the same note, I thank Mrs. Pilar Dimaculungan for her hard work in preparing our public school and home-schooled students for the sacraments as well.  Finally I want to thank the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul of our parish, who all year round provide assistance and compassion to individuals and families in our community.   This year has been a challenging one and the Saint Vincent de Paul Society rose to the challenge to ensure that no one fell through the cracks and be forgotten.  To anyone I may have forgotten, I apologize and I am truly grateful to EVERYONE who gives of their time, talent and treasure to our parish.  We truly are the Body of Christ in our community.

On February 20th, we marked the opening of the new church and on November 28th, we celebrated the blessing and dedication of the church.  Many are to be thanked for this achievement but I thank our parish building committee for their time, vision and dedication to this project in a special way.  They sacrificed many evenings from their families to put together this new church.  May our church always be a visible sign of the presence of God in our community.

Father Patrick and I would like to thank all of you for the cards, goodies and gifts that you have given to us for Christmas.  We are overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity.

It is my prayer, and of Father Patrick, that all of you and yours have a truly blessed Christmas and may the prayers of our Mother Mary, and the graces of the Christ-child come upon all of you.

Merry Christmas!

Father Jim Petrie