Jottings from Fr. J.J.

What a Ball
Last weekend, a large group of St. Anastasia parishioners, some of our pals from St. Aloysius, and several new attendees had a great time at this year’s St. Anastasia Charity Christmas Ball. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who helped with this year’s event. There were so many folks who shared their gifts to make this night a success. It is a beautiful witness of our faith when so many different people come together to give of their time, talent and treasure. One of the committee said that the spirit of the night just keeps getting better and better each year. Many were helped and many had fun.  We will pass along the nights tally once we get the final numbers, but I have a feeling that many a homeless individual will be helped. 

Last Chance
Just a reminder to all who did not come to our Parish Reconciliation Service last week, you do have two more opportunities to go to confession before the big birthday celebration next weekend. There are two vicariate services this week:  Monday at Shrine of the Little Flower and Tuesday at St. Hugo’s Parish. Both begin at 7 p.m. 

Christmas Savings
This has been a challenging year financially for most of us. This includes the parish as well. With Christmas falling on a Sunday, we lose an extra collection to help balance our budget. Just a reminder that every week we get taxed 7% on each collection EXCEPT FOR CHRISTMAS!!! We get to keep all of the Christmas collection to use to pay bills, subsidize the Religious Education program, pay salaries, etc. I ask you to please try to be extra generous in your Christmas envelope so that we can get back on track budget wise. Thank you!

Who Promised Christmas Would Be Merry?
 As most of you are aware, my Dad died recently. Because of this, I am ever more sensitive to the fact that many people find that Christmas can be the loneliest time of our lives. Like me, some are grieving. Some find Christmas to be a reminder of younger, more innocent times. Some find the burdens and struggles of life; the changes in our world, war, and the economy have robbed Christmas of something that was there before. Some are without family or friends, and because of illness, are unable to get out. Christmas will be just another day. For some, Christmas inevitably means family conflicts. For some, Christmas challenges bring terrible financial burdens that simply push us further and further behind.

Have I depressed you yet? I want to remind you that for all of us, the story behind these days can draw us in, and invite us to bring our lives to the mystery of how Jesus came into this world and why. Our best preparation for the Holy Night ahead and the Joyful Season to follow is for us to reflect upon how He came. He came in the midst of scandal and conflict. He came in poverty. He was rejected before He was born. He was born in a feeding trough. He was hunted down. And He grew up in obscurity. Jesus did not shun our world and its poverty and conflict. He embraced it. And He desires to embrace us today, in this day. Right where we are. Right where we are feeling most distant. Right where we are feeling least “religious” or “ready.” So, in this next week, take time to let Him come into your hearts. Jesus can be our Savior in these challenging days. Let’s find ourselves entering the sacred night and morning of Christmas “joyful and triumphant” as never before.

God bless,
Fr. J.J.