We are happy to announce a new addition to our Family Faith particiapnts! The Ahrens family, Session A, welcomed Monica Margaret Therese on Dec. 19. If you see them, be sure to stop and say hello!
Yesterday, January 8, was The Baptism of the Lord, the day we recall Jesus' own Baptism. It marked the last day of the Christmas season. Today, we officially return to Ordinary Time. The church is once again decked in green, and we are called to refocus ourselves on growth through our everyday lives.
But before we leave Christmas entirely, if anyone happened to be at St. Catherine's on December 18 you may have seen a strange sight. Outside the windows of the Faith Formation office, on the grass by the east parking lot, lay a strange, shapeless, smouldering bundle. Wrapped in a purple blanket, smoke was curling and wafting skyward, while more smoke poured out of the office windows. What's going on, you might ask?
Every day during the season of Advent, we have been faithfully lighting up our office Advent Wreath, just as we have for many years. You can guess what happened. A couple of the candles burned just a little too low and set fire to the plastic green wreath. Whoosh! It was burning in a few seconds. Thankfully, the fire was noticied very quickly. Quick as a flash, Jennifer Gamblin, our Liturgy and Adult Faith Assistant, jumped into action. She grabbed either end of the purple blanket lying under the wreath, pulled it on top of the flaming greenery, and threw the whole mess out the window. There it lay, smouldering and smoking outside, while we sat in stunned shock inside!
Coming into the office after the Advent Wreath fire had been put out, Sue, our business manager, just shook her head and said "Please don't burn down this building before I've finished the other one. I can only handle one building project at a time." Terri Moser added her thoughts, saying "It was the SPARK that IGNITED the ABLAZE!" Good one.
the New Year
This reflection on today's Gospel was written and painted by Linda Richardson, a mixed media artist who creates images to coordinate with poetry. It is part of her book of responses to the poetry in Waiting on the Word, by British poet Malcolm Guite. (https://malcolmguite.wordpress.com)
Rise! O, ever rise! Rise like a cloud of incense from the earth!
Great Hierarch! Tell thou, the silent sky and tell the stars and tell yon rising sun that Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God. (except from "Hymn Before Sunrise" by ST Coleridge)
Anyone who has ever had a “glance” of God wants to share the experience. It is like running home to show your family the beautiful butterfly you have captured in your cupped hands but when you get there it has escaped and all you have are impressions and words. In the gospel of John we hear Andrew’s response after he meets Jesus: “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.”
Words and images have power to point to an experience but they aren’t the experience itself. What we really want to do is bring people to experience what we have experienced, to bring them to Jesus like Andrew brought his brother, (to bring them to the Holy Mountain). In my little painting, the mountain sits above the words, the words point to the mountain. God’s promise is that if we seek, we will find. Talking about God is good but if we don’t also open ourselves to be transformed by the experience of God, (Rise, O ever rise..), we remain in doctrine and dogma which, although essential, only has the power to point.
This blog is written by the Faith Formation staff, as well as other parishioners invited to reflect on topics of interest to our parish. It is called "Parish Voices" to remind us that all of us here at St. Catherine's are called to "Praise, Bless and Preach."