Rejoicing in Christmas

I hope everyone is having a very merry Christmas season! While many think that Christmas was over on December 25, and some have even put their trees out to the curb, the Church continues the Christmas season until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord (this year: January 10, 2016).  So, even though the stores may be taking down all of the Christmas decorations…Merry Christmas.

Speaking of January 10, that will be the last day that Fr. Anthony will be with us at St. Anastasia as our Associate Pastor.  As many of you know, Fr. Anthony has been assigned to be the administrator of the clustered parishes of St. Charles in Newport and St. Mary in Monroe.  For those assigned to be considered “pastor” for the first time, they are first assigned as “administrator” for one year; then, the administrator will become “pastor”.  This is, now, common practice in the Archdiocese of Detroit.  It is not some sort of prescribed caution on Fr. Anthony, just a matter of policy.

Next weekend, Sunday, January 3, there will be a “Best Wishes Celebration” for Fr. Anthony after the 10:15 AM Mass.  Fr. Anthony will celebrate the 10:15 Mass.  Please join me in praying for Fr. Anthony in his new assignment and wishing him well!

Thank you, Fr. Anthony, for your time with us and for the love and ministry of Jesus that you brought to St. Anastasia!

Fr. Steve

Merry Christmas

When I was an associate pastor at Our Lady of Victory, Fr. Ernie Porcari was the pastor. Fr. Ernie had a nativity set placed in the living room for Christmas. Actually, Fr. Ernie had the nativity set out, not just for Christmas, but all year long. At first, I thought that he had forgotten about taking the nativity set down. But I discovered that Fr. Ernie had a great love for meditating on the nativity set all year round. Sure enough, there were times that I would walk into the living room and I would see Fr. Ernie standing in front of the nativity set, looking at the figures and contemplating its meaning.

I have taken up Fr. Ernie’s devotion to meditating on the nativity throughout the year. Because of Fr. Ernie, I have a nativity set out in my living room all year long. I think most of us have always thought about putting the nativity set away after Christmas, but maybe it would benefit us all to contemplate the wonderful love of God shown by allowing His Son to be united with our humanity. The nativity is a great reminder of God’s love! He sent His Son into the world to die for our sins, that we may be forgiven and because God desires that we would spend all of eternity with Him in heaven. The nativity is a reminder of God’s gift to us…Jesus! That is a gift that should be remembered all year long!

Speaking of nativity sets, our parish has received a very generous anonymous bequest to purchase a new nativity set for the gathering space. Please be sure to take time to visit this nativity, especially bring the children.

Many months have gone into the preparing for the celebration of Christmas at St. Anastasia. I want to take this moment to thank all who have helped in its preparation and celebration. Thanks to all of the choirs and musicians, to those who helped decorate our church for Advent and for Christmas, for all of liturgical ministers (ushers, greeters, EMs, altar servers, sacristans, etc.) and all those who have been generous in helping to make this a joyous Christmas for those who are in need by your participation of the Giving Tree, Adopt-a-Family and other various projects! You have all helped to make this a special Christmas!

I am very feel blessed to be here at St. Anastasia as your new pastor since July 1st and excited to share this Christmas with all of you!

I pray that your Christmas is blessed, special and joyous for you and your family!

With the peace of the Christ Child,
– Fr. Steve
SA New Nativity

Fancy the Waiters

Picture with me an evening at the most posh restaurant ever: the scents tantalize, the seating cossets, the food is abundant and delectable, the wine flows, and all the guests shimmer. The whole experience is perfect in ways beyond description, and what ties all this glory together is the tuxedo-clad waitstaff. They have their eyes and intentions firmly fixed on our every move, anticipating and responding to even our smallest needs. As they wait in stillness for any indication of their next task (whatever it may be!), they remain humble, kind, unobtrusive, and good-humored. It’s a thing of beauty.

We can learn much about Advent from such excellent waiters.


Money Stuff

Fr. Steve and the finance council recently provided an uplifting and informative State of the Parish presentation.  I have heard some questions about the Religious Education budget; some folks are thinking that it covers the very important task of our educating our young saints through our regular catechesis program, and that’s all.  Well, it is certainly our #1 task, and a duty for all of us adults, no matter how many or few of our own relatives are in the classes.

But it’s important for our financial backers (That’s you!) to realize that the Religious Education budget  also covers the following expenses: RCIA; CYO support; parish missions; speakers; Bible studies; other adult faith programs; youth ministry which includes B.A.S.I.C., E.P.I.C., and more; the manpower behind our bulletin; the library; evangelization; Vacation Bible School; much of our website and social media outreach; and even diaconal support and some of the marriage programming.  We are very, very careful with the money we spend….  //  LEARN MORE

God’s Will

Imagine with me for a moment that you are the grown child of a tremendously wealthy father. He owns mansions, vintage cars, corporations. He has jets, islands, and staff. He has paid to redirect rivers and move mountains. Your father has SO MUCH money that he has even considered putting his name on a star in another galaxy. Yep. He’s that rich.

And as loaded as he is, your father is equally eager to share that wealth with you. Not just someday in the future, or at some point requiring his exit from your life, but NOW, and every day. Every moment, all that he has is yours, even on those days when you are not nearly worthy of any measure of it. Let’s pause and dream: What would we do with it? How would we savor it, spend it, give it away? Ahhhh, the fun! The luxury! The responsibility!

And then, my friends, with all those ideas in mind, let’s dwell on the mind-blowing fact of our Father’s tremendous wealth – and our inheritance – as described in Ephesians 2:4-7:

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ…, raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Rich in mercy. Rich in grace.

What, then, is our response?

Your Pickle,
Marian Bart
Parish Catechetical Leader