Happy New Year!
What a gift it is to have new beginnings in life! Every time a new year comes by there is great hope! Hope for what is to come. Hope that this year will be better. Hope for what God wants to do in our lives. In the gospel of Luke, after Mary gave birth to Jesus, and after the shepherds visited them, it says that “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.” We receive this gospel message on New Year’s day. It is as if the Church is calling each and everyone of us to pause and reflect on what is going on in our hearts. A beautiful way to do this is through retreats. One thing my spiritual director is always encouraging me to do is schedule my retreat for the year. I have it scheduled for July this year! I too am encouraging each and everyone to take a retreat. If you have never done a weekend retreat or a week-long retreat, a poustinia might be the best starting point for you. Please take advantage of the poustinia house we have on campus. We are happy to schedule one for you. There is also an opportunity to attend a Poustinia Retreat at Loyola Retreat House beginning Friday March 10th @ 6:30pm and ending Saturday March 11 after dinner. I will be doing the opening and closing Masses on each day. It is a beautiful opportunity to learn more about how poustinias work and the spiritual benefits of them in our lives. Contact Jennifer Ricard @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In other news, I will not be around for Masses this coming weekend as the church celebrates the Epiphany. Pray for me as I will be leading those in the Diaconate formation program on retreat at the Jesuit Retreat Center. Pray that our deacons-in-training can be filled with the grace to serve our Church with zeal and joy! Andy Davis, our diaconate intern, has been so grateful to be here at St. Francis. He is looking forward to offer more opportunities to grow in the faith this coming spring semester. Thank you Andy.
Since I will be gone, I do have a helper coming next weekend. He has helped for confessions and a Mass so far and has shared how wonderful it is to be able to help out. His name is Fr. Bill Bartoul and he is a retired military chaplain. He said he wanted to move to a lake when he retired and he did! We welcome you Fr. Bill and thank you for your willingness to help and serve our community.
I am looking forward to entering this new year with all of you. You each are such a blessing to me. Let’s continue to ask the Lord to bless this community so that we can glorify Him in all we do. I leave you with this blessing we hear from the Book of Numbers…“The LORD bless you and keep you! The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!”