Since the Gospel this Sunday is the Visitation, I share with parishioners the following poem. It is my hope to use this during the homily this weekend. See below the poem for a repeat of a portion of last week’s article about welcoming parishioners. Also, please see the article from Jose Martinez, our pastoral associate, about a consecration to the Holy Family that is being planned.

Poem: The Visitation

“We are old and gray.”
Elizabeth prayed.
“Do not forsake us…”
Elizabeth prayed,
“What happened to Zachary?
Do not forsake us now
that we are old and gray.”

“Elizabeth! Elizabeth,
I ran all the way,
you may not believe me
now that I am here
all out of breath and dirty.
My skin’s too thin,
too thin a dam, it seems that it might break,
let loose the rivers that run through me.

I ran all the way.
I feel that I have swallowed
all the trees that ever clapped
at rise or set of sun,
and all the trees that ever kissed
the moon goodnight.
I feel as big
as all outdoors.
I will somehow feed
the hungry and the sore;
that there is balm enough in me
for every pain;
or anyone who’s bent with shame,
my eyes alone might make straight again.

Elizabeth, I love you so.
I don’t know what to do,
or, who, except for you,
to come to.
Let me stay awhile…
It’s so good to look at you.

“You stay. You are…”
Elizabeth stopped.
“You are blessed because you…”
Elizabeth said, and stopped again.
“You’re right about your eyes,”
she cried

Richard Stanley, S.J.

Get Your Welcome On

During this last week of Advent, please be praying in a special way that we will “get our welcome on” as a parish, preparing to warmly welcome those making homecomings and visiting. Pastoral Staff members are being asked to attend two Christmas Day Masses to welcome visitors. Similarly, Pastoral Council members are also being asked to greet people at the Mass they normally attend. We will have lots of welcome ministry people, ushers and greeters, at their posts with smiles and warm welcomes. However, priests, deacons, parish staff, parish leaders and ministers are perhaps not the most important “welcomers.” Those people are expected to minister welcome in Jesus’ name. Far more numerous will be parishioners in the pews next to visitors.

Welcoming parishioners will surprise and “seal the deal” of Jesus’ welcome to Incarnation Church. Thanks to parishioners who will make the most of the opportunity to welcome fellow congregants: with a warm welcome at the beginning of Mass, with an attentiveness to a visitor’s needs throughout the Mass and with a last “Merry Christmas” after Mass is over! If you see someone you don’t know, ask them how long they have been a member at Incarnation. Thank them for those years of belonging. If they are a visitor, find out more, and most of all thank them for coming and invite them back!

Sincerely and with Love in Christ,

Fr. Pat

Consecration to the Holy Family
Reflecting on the story of salvation, it comes to us in the form of a family, to be more precise, the Holy Family. This story is not one of ease and comfort, but of struggle and trials. From the moment the Holy family became a family, they faced tribulation and difficult choices as the world around them sought to destroy them, “When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” (Mt. 2:13) This was just the beginning of the many challenges the Holy Family would face as they were called to live out the joy of Christ in a world not fit for them. Today it is no different for families, as they struggle to live out this same call. In truth the family is, “a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.” (CCC, 2205). This is expressed in the vocation of husband and wife, and in the growth of the child in both knowledge and virtue. It is for this reason that the family is called, “The Domestic Church.”

In simple terms, “The Domestic Church,” is the school of faith and charity in your home. A sanctuary of protection from the secular world where families can grow together in truth and practice virtue. But this is difficult in a world, like in the story of the Holy family, that seeks to destroy the essence of the family, to live the joy of Christ, to be a sign and image of the communion of the Blessed Trinity. Our parish is dedicating time and resources to strengthen the understanding and practice of “The Domestic Church.”

The first step is a Consecration to The Holy family. Soon, we will participate in something beautiful in our faith, Christmas, the birth of our Lord and the Holy family. But allow that participation to continue even further through a Consecration to the Holy Family on December 26th during all Masses. Be on the look out for more information on the consecration. The consecration is a simple prayer, a commitment to using all resources and efforts to make your family a reflection of the Holy family.

Jose Martinez

Pastoral Associate