As we gather to celebrate Christmas, another year has passed with many events, touching our lives and those of the people in our parish in different ways. No doubt this year has brought joys and sadness in different measure to each person all colouring our memories of 2014. Let us strive to open our hearts to others, especially conscious of those who have lost a loved one since last Christmas or the many overburdened by worries, sickness, and family problems or for many other reasons. The economic challenges facing our country continue to cause concern and worry for many as we enter 2015 in just one week’s time.
As a parish we have accomplished many things this year, the latest was the installation of our 5 stained glass windows on the west side of the building. Another 5, will be installed by Easter, God willing. Our Parish website has attempted to reach out to people who are active and not so active in the parish. In an attempt to reach out further, especially into the lives of our younger people we have embraced social media in the form of Twitter and hopefully in the New Year, we will embark on Facebook as well.
Christmas is an opportunity to thank so many parishioners who have given generously of their time, talents, and treasures in making this Parish the energetic, faith-filled community that it is at present. It is calculated that over 500 parishioners take an active part in some form of ministry, organisation or parish activity. This is what makes our parish vibrant. The work of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in the Parish deserves special mention, particularly at this time of year.
Maybe the Christmas message this year is a challenge for all of us to become more involved. It is not so much a question of giving more; it is a question of giving more of ourselves. But then, that’s what God was doing when he got involved with us and our world at Christmas. Christmas belongs to believers, to those who believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was born of the Virgin Mary to reconcile us to one another and to the Father. This is why he came. God will fill us with his peace if there is room in our lives for him.
Thank you for helping us along the journey. On behalf of all our staff here at St. Francis, Fr. George, Deacon Derek and myself, may you be blessed with peace and joy at Christmas and in the New Year.
Christmas is finally here. All four weeks of Advent we have been waiting and praying for the coming blessings of Christmas. And now Christmas is here. The angels are bringing us the good news of great joy for all the people, for to us is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This good news of great joy is for all the people of God. As people of God we have a claim to the joy and the peace that the birth of Christ brings to the world. But how do I personally enter into this “great joy” of Christmas? Christmas rings out “joy to the world,” yes, but how do I make this joy my own? This is an important question, for, even though God has declared joy to the whole world, there are still many among us who do not flow in this joy, many among us who do not know how to claim this joy and make it their own personally.
Look at the word JOY. You see that it is made up of three letters: first J, then O, and lastly Y. J stands for Jesus, O for Others, and Y for You. Joy therefore is: Jesus, Others, before You. To know joy in our lives we need to place Jesus first in everything. Secondly, we need to try to please others before trying to please ourselves. That is the recipe for joy. That is how we can convert the Christmas “joy to the world” into a personal “joy in my life” now and always.
My dear friends and families of St. Francis de Sales it is with great Joy and Peace that I wish every one of you a very Blessed Christmas. We are all pilgrims on a journey coming from many different countries but all travelling to the same home to dwell in heaven with God. Our journey has to be made with inner peace with family, friends, Christ our King, and our Mother Mary. Enjoy a Blessed Christmas season.
Deacon Derek and Marjorie