By Fr. George Welzbacher
December 27, 2009
On this feast of the Holy Family and during the whole season of Christmastide (the season that used to be known as Twelfth Night back when the Feast of the Epiphany was always observed on January 6th) it is my prayerful hope that each and every member of our parish will enjoy the blessings, the grace and the peace of soul that only the Christ Child can bestow and that He is eager to bestow upon those who walk humbly in His way.
In our prayers and Masses during this holy season let us offer heart-felt thanks to Christ our Lord Who, though remaining, as He was from all eternity, the only-begotten Son of God, possessed of a nature that was at once invulnerable and beyond all limitation powerful, in His love for us joined to Himself our lowly human flesh and blood, a vulnerable nature beset by limitation and exposure to pain and death. "Though He was by nature God," St. Paul assures us (Philippians 2:6-8), "He emptied Himself of the privileges of Godhead, taking on the nature of a slave, becoming obedient unto death, even to death upon a cross." To Him be honor and praise and thanksgiving forever!
St. John reminds us (I John 1:7) that "if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another." So it is that members of Christian families will find that in their loving adoration of the Christ Child the bonds joining each of them to one another will grow significantly stronger. Accordingly it makes very good sense for families to join together as families in a range of activities during this holy season.
May I offer some suggestions for such family activities:
(1) Ice-skating, tobogganing and skiing;
(2) Attending a formal Christmas High Tea in the afternoon at the CafeLatte on St. Paul's Grand Avenue. (reservations recommended);
(3) Driving at night through residential areas that are elaborately decorated with festoons of light: e.g., the whole length of Summit Avenue, the Mississippi River Boulevard or the Edgecumbe Road district in St. Paul and Minnehaha Boulevard in Minneapolis;
(4) Visiting the Minnesota Zoo, with additional appreciation of the huge I-Max Theatre and in the evening the Zoo's sumptuous display of Christmas lighting;
(5) Visiting the Science Museum across from St. Paul's Xcel Center.
(6) Visiting the Period Rooms in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, rooms that are decorated in the various styles of Christmas celebration that prevailed respectively in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, with appropriately costumed guides;
(7) Making a leisurely and attentive visit to some of the Twin Cities' architectural masterpieces such as the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Minnesota State Capitol, the Ordway Theatre, all in St. Paul, and in Minneapolis the Basilica and the IDS tower (with its breath-taking observation deck way up on top!);
(8) Organizing a family talent show.
These are just a few suggestions. If you put on your thinking caps, you will surely come up with a list of your own.
And finally, should your home now rank as the proverbial "empty nest", you might just decide to settle down with a good book!
A BLESSED CHRISTMAS SEASON AND A HEALTHY AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
* * * * *A propos of our magnificent cathedral (cited above in family activity #7) may I share with you here in a separate insert a letter of thanks that I recently received from our auxiliary bishop (and my own very dear friend) Lee Piché, expressing his gratitude for our parish's gift of nearly five thousand dollars to the Cathedral Dome Debt Retirement Project. And I am including here a copy of a prayer that Bishop Piché asked all of us to pray.
Prayer for the Cathedral of Saint Paul
Almighty God, through the intercession of Saint Paul, we ask you to assist us in the challenging task of retiring the debt on our Cathedral.
By your grace, inspire the hearts of the faithful to be generous in their support of our mother church.
May the Cathedral of Saint Paul remain for years to come a magnificent visible sign of our unity in the Catholic faith.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.