Sunday, December 30, 2007

Today, the church celebrates the feast of the Holy Family at Nazareth — the family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

It was undoubtedly a family and home of love, peace and filled with a profound sense of God’s presence and plan. The Holy Family is thus presented as an example and inspiration to all Christian families.

Christmas is a time when our families celebrate being and experience a deeper sense of belonging. May this spirit carry over to the rest of the year and may all our families continue to grow in love and peace. Parents have the privilege and responsibility to provide a home where children experience love and affirmation as they grow into adulthood. Children initiate what they have learned at home. If they grow up learning the importance of prayer, of sharing and of caring, they will in turn make good parents. Let us all pray for a strong family life in our society. God bless and protect all our families.

Sincere thanks to all who helped us prepare for and celebrate the Christmas season. This list includes the priests, sisters, parish staff and volunteers, the Eucharistic Ministers, lectors, altar servers, the Altar Society, the ushers, the choirs and musicians, the collection counting teams, the various parish groups including the St. Vincent de Paul Society and you our parishioners.

May God bless you for your generous spirit and may you all have a happy and healthy 2008.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A very blessed, peaceful and joyful Christmas to all our parishioners and their families. May the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ fill your hearts, homes and lives with a new sense of God’s love for us and how much God wishes to be at the center of our lives.

If you may be experiencing sadness or loneliness at this time may your spirits be uplifted and peace come to you by knowing that God is with you.

May the message of the angel, "This day is born unto you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord," fill our hearts with gratitude and courage.

***

The Mini Fiesta held on Dec. 9 was a great success.

I wish to thank all who helped, contributed, attended, supported or sponsored it. A profit of $3,137 was realized for the parish. A special word of thanks to Salvador Solis, president of the Guadalupana Association for organizing this event which I hope will become an annual one which will continue to grow.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Do we ever need HOPE!

Each year Christian churches celebrate the season of Advent to prepare for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ, not only at Christmas time, but one day when He will come again in glory and call us all home.

This year the Catholic community of St. Bede’s is highlighting one particular element of that overall theme of preparation: “A People of Hope.” This is significant in our day and age. As we look around at our world and closer to home as well, we see plenty which leaves so much to be desired. We see not only wars and bloodshed on the other side of the world, but crimes and struggles right around us.

Do we ever need HOPE!

So many of us know people who are having a difficult time with their health, families who are losing their homes, people who are homeless and living on the street not knowing where their next meal will come from.

Do we ever need HOPE!

Of course, we add to this list the loss of loved ones whom the Lord has now called home.

Do we ever need HOPE!

The wonderful readings of this season remind us that a day is coming when the valleys will be exalted, the blind will see, the lion and the lamb will lie together and we who strive to cope with our human condition will find eternal peace and happiness forever.Our God wants to encourage us and calls us to share HOPE with one another.

Let us be bolstered and comforted by that promise!

God bless you in this Advent season and always.

MONSIGNOR JIM GEHL
Pastor
St. Bede the Venerable Catholic Church

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Dec. 12, is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.

On December 9, 1531, the Blessed Mother made the first of her appearances to St. Juan Diego on the hill of El Tepeyac, five miles north of Mexico City. She left behind not only her message, but also her beautiful image miraculously imprinted on the tilma (cloak) of Juan. The tilma and the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is revered by millions each year in the shrine built to honor her and to be a place of prayer.

“Let nothing trouble or afflict you — am I not here who am your mother,” words of Mary to Juan Diego.

You are invited to join our parish celebration of this very special feast day. Our thanks to all the members of the Guadalupana Association for preparing our celebration.

Dec. 12

Mañanitas: 4:30 a.m
Mass: 5 a.m.
St. Bernard School Prayer Service: 2 p.m.
Rosary: 5 p.m.
Mass: 6 p.m.
Celebration in the parish hall: 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Liturgical season of Advent

Today we begin the liturgical season of advent and a new year for the church. Advent is the time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Savior and also to prepare us for his coming in glory at the end of time. Advent is a time of hope and joyful waiting. Central figures in the Advent liturgy are John the Baptist and Mary. May these be weeks of grace and peace for all of us.

***

Next Sunday the special collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious will be taken up in all of the parishes in the United States. This annual collection provides financial help to Religious communities in the care of their elderly members. These men and women religious have devoted their lives to the service of the Church and society. A great majority of the elderly religious, assisted by this annual collection are nuns who helped provide a low-cost or free education to millions in the Catholic schools throughout this country. In many cases their communities received little or no compensation for their ministry. The Catholic sister, brother, or priest remains in active ministry until age 74. Today, 37,870 women and men religious are past age 70 and need our help with the current high cost of living and health care. Now we are asked to share in their care. Please be generous in next Sunday’s collection. This is a way we can say thanks to these wonderful nuns and other religious. Checks should be made out to St. Bernard Church. Special envelopes are in the pews. Thank you for your generosity in past years.