Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Father Carroll's Homily for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God 2015

Homily for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God 2015

          “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”  Today the Church honors the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God.  It is important for in the midst of the Christmas Season to pause on reflect on her role in the life of the Church.  Imagine being in her position, pondering the very things she had experienced and what had been told to her. 
          Our Blessed Mother was specifically chosen to be the Mother of God.  She was indeed truly blessed.  As we honor her we continue to contemplate the mystery of our Saviors birth.  In the Book of Numbers we heard, “The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!  The Lord did look upon Mary kindly giving her this awesome responsibility, but what gave our Blessed Mother peace?  What gave her peace is that she always followed and trusted in the will of God. 
          How do we discern the will of God?  Mary shows us how…she reflected.  During the season of advent we had the opportunity to pray, reflect, and repent.  Think about the word reflect.  When was the last time we truly pondered and reflected on some particular thing?  A mistake we tend to make is that we don’t take time to ponder and reflect, and then what happens we make more wrong choices.  It is important for us to take some time to ponder and reflect. 

          As we today ponder may we pray for the grace to follow the Blessed Mother’s example trusting in the will of God!  Open your hearts, and truly ponder and reflect on the direction the Lord is leading you. Mary the Mother of God…pray for us!  

Year in Review and Forward March!!!

        Tonight we will formally close out the calendar year and at the stroke of midnight we will formally begin another.  While as Catholics we celebrated our new year with the First Sunday of Advent, the new calendar year does provide us an opportunity to once again evaluate our lives in search for ways to make some improvements.  It’s an ongoing process and we are called for daily conversion. 

(a view from the choir loft taken during Father Carroll's Mass of Installation as Pastor of Saint Patrick Church)

(Father Carroll being welcomed by Sister Monica at his Mass of Installation)

(Since taking over Father Carroll offers confession 6 days a week and 7 days a week during Advent and Lent)

        Looking back in 2014 a lot has transpired.  In May of 2014 brought my formal appointment as your pastor. On Pentecost Sunday a new weekend Mass Schedule was introduced to the parish.  Change is never easy and you responded to that change well!  Although we have lost a Mass, from the sanctuary we as a parish never looked healthier.  Thank you for your generosity demonstrated by your prayers and monetary contributions.  If it wasn't for your generosity nothing would be possible. 

(A view from the altar from the priest's perspective)

(Members of Saint Patrick Church gather for the Parish Picnic)

(Saint Patrick School 6th grade class of 2015 visiting the Compassion Project)

(Saint Patrick School students participating at the Saint Patrick's Day Parade)

(Our Parish Library in the back of the cafeteria in the basement of the Church...and it keeps growing thanks to your generosity.)

       During the summer months brought change to the school with the departure of Ms. Mary Elizabeth Muir.  We are truly grateful for her years of dedicated service to our parish and school.  It was with her help and vision that we were able to establish a New Board of Education for our parish.  Her departure left us with a void which we were able to fill with the appointment of Mrs. Kathleen Smith as our interim principal.  Under her leadership with the help of Mr. Joseph Stein our Board of Education President we were able to constitute our New Board of Education.  A lot of wonderful things have happened and are still being planned for our parish family. 

(Ms Mary Elizabeth Muir and Mrs. Kathleen Smith with Father C.)
(Father C. with the Saint Patrick School 6th grade class of 2014)
(Father Carroll with the first grade class after their Saints Program)
(2014 Race for Education)
        Also during the summer of 2014 we began updating our security around the parish plant.  Since June cameras have been added around the property, the alarms in the church and school have been updated, the security alarm was once again activated in the rectory.  Those who worshiped with us on Christmas and this past weekend might have noticed the new addition to our lower parking lot…the new lights!!!  These new lights help add additional security to our property.  In a few days cameras will be added to those light poles providing us four different camera angles of our parking lot. 

(the new lights were on in time for the Christmas Eve Services)

In September 2014 updates were made to the boilers, which were required for it to pass inspection.  At the same time we switched the rectory over to force hot air by replacing the cooling units on the roof of the rectory with heating/cooling units.  This was done to make the cooling and heating of the rectory more cost efficient taking into consideration there is only one priest living in the rectory.

(Image of Our Lady taken after our Living Rosary and Marian Procession back in October)

(Image taken from the Virtual Pilgrimage to Lourdes)

(Altar Set up for Divine Mercy Celebrations)
       On the feast of Christ the King we welcomed our Bishop the Most Reverend Ronald Gainer to Saint Patrick Church to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the dedication of the Good Shepherd Perpetual Adoration Chapel.  How blessed we are as a parish to have our deaneries adoration chapel on our parish property.  

(Bishop Gainer praying before the Blessed Sacrament)

(Bishop Gainer giving his homily at the 20th anniversary Mass)

(Our Eucharistic Lord)

       Looking back at 2014 a lot has been accomplished and a lot more exciting things are in the works.  In your new packet of envelopes you may notice some new envelopes…one marked for the Msgr. Thomas Brenner Fund and the other a maintenance envelope.  Msgr. Thomas Brenner was our pastor from 1981 – 1995.  He accomplished a lot during his tenure.  A fund was established in his honor to assist with the educational needs of our parish.  In recent years with the rising cost of education a greater need is now being recognized within our families.  Your generous contribution to this fund will go to assist us in helping to provide a Catholic Education to those families who truly desire it.  The maintenance fund envelope was placed in your packet to specifically help us cover the additional maintenance cost that may arise.  Last year, in particular, was a rough year with all the snow. Finally in January our parish children in religious education and the school will be receiving envelopes.  It is important for us to teach our children the importance of sacrifice and giving back to the Lord.

(the winter of 2013/2014 was a bad one for snow)

(Although many of us don't want to remember the winter of 2013/2014, here in a beautiful photo taken by Miss Rose Devlin)

       For your planning purposes in the next couple weeks I will be coming to you to address a concern that has been brought to my attention several times since my arrival and that is the condition of our kneelers and pews.  You might recall me making an announcement about this a few weeks back.  We are currently in the process of investigating what it would cost to reupholster our pews and replacing our kneelers.  As information comes in I will be consulting with the Parish Finance Council and the Parish Pastoral Council.  Once we present them with the plan we will present it to you.  As we move forward into 2015 I personally look forward to working with all of you as we work always to grow and support our parish family!
(Images from the Church of the condition of some of our pews and kneelers)

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Fr. Keith M. Carroll
Pastor of Saint Patrick Church

Sign of Peace and Receiving from the Chalice during the Cold & Flu Season

As nursing homes start imposing quarantines and cases of the flu are spreading within our families please allow me to give a few important reminders.  If you are feeling a little under the weather please reframe from the sign of peace and from receiving the chalice at Mass.  At this time no formal restriction of the sign of peace or receiving under both forms is in place, however in light of the increased number of cases of the flu and other illnesses it is important for us to exercise common sense.  There are also members of our parish family who have a low immune system and may decide not to exchange the sign of peace.  Those individuals are not being rude.  The sign of peace can be exchanged verbally or with a simple gesture of the nod of the head.  

Of course the biggest way we can keep from spreading the flu and other illnesses is by staying home when we are sick.  If you are ill…
In fact, you are committing an act of charity.  As I mentioned there are people in our parish family who do struggle with a low immune system and any type of illness could pose a serious threat to their overall health.  By staying home not only are you taking care of yourself but also helping not to spread the illness to others.  There is only one person who has to show up in Church when they are ill and that of course is the priest.  Speaking for myself, when I am extremely ill, I will take all necessary steps to avoid contact in order not to spread my illness to others.  In those cases when I am ill I may decide to suspend the distribution of the chalice and only distribute under the Body of Christ. 

In the next few weeks please keep this in mind.  May we continue to work together to keep our parish family physically and spiritually healthy.


Fr. Carroll

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Deacon Michael DeVivo's Homily for the Holy Family 2014

Homily for the Feast of the Most Holy Family 2014
(Text Only)
Today is the Feast of the Holy Family and the great lesson of today is that Jesus chose to be mothered into humanity, to be conceived in Mary's womb. 
He came to be among us and to be part of a Family, so we could become part of the Heavenly Family by becoming a child of God.
We are all children of parents. We are all brothers, sisters, or cousins; we belong to a parish family. We are all family.
The Holy Family is an example for us to follow:
The Letters in F – A – M – I – L – Y give us clues!
1. First letter is “F”. 
To be a holy family – it has to be filled with Faith and it has to be filled with Forgiveness!
2. The second letter is “A” –
Ask yourself how you are giving to each member of your family the – Attention, Affection, and Affirmation they each need.
As a Family we need to make time for each other, give Hugs and Kisses, and Affirm each member with Acceptance and Appreciation and this begins in our family – as we are – not as we hope it to be.
3. The next letter is “M”
The letter M in Family also reminds us that we need to make family Memories!
Building and sharing traditions are so important from generation to generation.
We have to make Memories! Having dinner together, special moments, and joyful times together.
Remember Material things do not matter – Memories do!
4. The next letter is “I”.
Families that are holy have to be filled with Intimacy. You know what intimacy means. “In To Me See.” That means we really need to look into each other!
We need to respect and appreciate the Individuality of each person. See inside the person.
5. The next letter is “L.” that is Love.
Jessica - age 8: "'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
Make sure you Love Deeply, Love Generosity, and Love Joyfully.
Be a person of love first!  Jesus said “Love one another as I have loved you.”
6. Finally, the last letter is “Y.” You - It’s all about you – it’s not about me!
Somewhere in our lives, if we are going to be a holy family – we have to make sure
Each member of the family becomes more important than me – I put their needs before mine.
The New Year begins this week.
Say “this year will be the year for my family, and I am going to select at least one letter in the word Family to make my family holier."
God wants your family to become an amazing work of art that shows His face of love to the world.
May each of you know His love today and forever.
Have a very Blessed Christmas Season and Happy New Year!
Praise be Baby Jesus, Now and Forever, Amen! 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Father Carroll's Homily for the Feast of the Most Holy Family 2014

Homily for the Feast of the Holy Family 2014
          There is something to be said about the importance of families.  As we come here today we celebrate the feast of the Most Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  Yes it is true from the very beginning the Holy Family was no ordinary family.  Yet despite their uniqueness they are truly an example and model for us to look towards. 
          In our Second Reading there is a line contained in it some may find controversial and perhaps even offensive.  Yet if we truly understand Saint Paul we recognize its profound meaning.  That line of course is “Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord.”  Now if we leave it there that’s where the problem lies, but the passage goes on to say, “Husbands love your wives.”  Understanding Saint Paul we come to understand that in marriage there must be mutual submission of husband and wives to each other.  For a successful marriage there must be a willingness to sacrifice individual desires, needs, and wants for the sake of the other.  It is that mutual love that brings worth life…both physical and spiritual. 
          The readings today also speak about the relationship between parents with their children, and children with their parents.  One thing we must understand is that we don’t choose our families.  All families have their struggles.  Yes there are some families in today’s world that are broken.  It is those families we must pray and if we are one who has experienced that in our lives than we must know that we can turn to the Holy Family for our example.  In our first reading we heard, “God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.”  The role of our parents is to guide and nurture us as we grow and it’s a role that never ends, despite what we children think when we get older.  Be open to their counsel. 
          Now the second part of our first reading says, “My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives.  Even if his mind fails, be considerate of him.”  For those of us who are children with older parents it is important to us not to neglect our responsibilities to care for them and see that they are cared after.  Many of them cared for us when they were younger, and some perhaps had their short comings keeping in mind no family is perfect, we still have an obligation to respect and care for them.  Of course in today’s world more often than we care to admit there are extraordinary circumstances that might make this extremely difficult if not impossible.  That’s unfortunately a reality that we must contend with in today’s society, but as a norm we as children have an obligation to our parents.

          Concluding our reflection I would like to return once again to Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  Listen to his opening words “Brothers and sisters:  Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another,  if one has a grievance against another;  as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.”  We do have an example in the Holy Family.  Turn to them, and pray to them.  Follow their example.  These words from Saint Paul really sum up how we should live our lives.  Going forth let us seek the intercession of the Holy Family as we persevere each day building up and supporting our families.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Father Carroll's Homily for the Nativity

Homily for Christmas Day 2014
          As we come to Mass today, we ponder the words of our responsorial psalm, “all the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.”  Another phrase that stands out is the first sentence of our alleluia verse “A holy day has dawned upon us.”  Brothers and sisters we are indeed blessed to gather as a parish family to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. 
          Turning our attention to the first reading we heard proclaimed, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, “Your God is King!”  Our Lord’s greeting to the world was no ordinary greeting.  In fact it kind of sounded something like this.  For parents the sound of their child’s first cry brings joy to the heart.  When we hear a child’s cry brothers and sisters our hearts should rejoice because that was the very same sound our Lord made from the very moment He was introduced to the world.  It is in a child’s cry we are reminded of the humility of Christ.  See a baby cries when they are hungry, need a diaper change, and tired.  As they grow they have to learn how to communicate and interact.  Even Jesus had to grow and to learn how to talk and walk.  Jesus became like us in every way of course with the exception of sin. 

          Like John the Baptist we are called to testify to the light that radiates in our hearts.  Jesus is King!  Jesus is King, like no other.  God made His dwelling, and continues to make His dwelling among us.  This is what we celebrate today.  My dear brothers and sisters I want us all to pay close attention to how the Lord reveals His saving power.  When you sit down with your family to eat a meal, when you gather around the Christmas tree to open presents, I want us striving to see the presence of Christ in those moments.  Finally if we are blessed to hear the sound of a baby’s cry, I want us all to strive to hear the voice of Lord a sound which pierces the heart.  May we allow those moments to warm our heats allowing us to share the joy of this most sacred day!

Father Carroll's Christmas Homilies...Audio Recording of the Homilies Preached at the 4:30pm, 7pm, and 10pm Masses.

The audio recording of the above homily was preached at the 4:30pm Mass without a prepared text.

Homily for the Vigil Mass of Christmas
          Indeed the Lord delights in us…He delights in us so much that God the Father gave us the gift of His only begotten Son in which we gather to celebrate tonight.
          What more can we say about Christmas that hasn't been said before?  Perhaps we have heard it all, however even if we heard it all, we still need to be reminded.  In preparing for this day, a familiar hymn we sing is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”  The word “Emmanuel” as we heard in today’s Gospel means “God is with us.”  Tonight and tomorrow as you gather with family and friends don’t forget that God is with us.  Don’t let this be the only hour you mention or think of His name.  It’s easy to become distracted with details while preparing for gatherings.  Our Lord is with us all the time, not just on Christmas day!  Pray together as a family.  Keep God front and center...truly celebrate Christmas.  Take the joy of the Lord with you…into your homes and into your communities. 

          This is not a time to be silent.  Once again going back to the prophet Isaiah, “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet!”  On this day a child’s cry pierced the still of night and tonight resounds throughout the world.  A child’s cry moves a parent into action.  May we allow the resounding cry of the Christ child this night move us into action sharing the joy of this day with all we meet.

Homily for the Nativity of the Lord (Mass during the night)
          “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests.  They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”  Tonight brothers and sisters we gather as a parish family to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. 
          There is something beautiful contained in Saint Paul’s letter to Timothy.  We heard in the second reading, “Beloved:  The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,  as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.”  It’s a beautiful to think about how our Lord entered this world.  He didn't come down riding a cloud, but rather entered the world as an infant.  When we born we did not have money or possessions…we didn't even have clothes to wear that was of course until they were provided.  God stripped Himself of everything and it’s because of this those names listed in the prophet Isaiah have more meaning and power.
          Appearing to the shepherds the angel said, “I proclaim to you good news of great joy.”  This is a joyous day for Christians!  Tonight I invite you to take this good news of great joy with you!  On Christmas night excitement builds…allow that excitement to burst forth.  Live it!!!  Share it!!!  God is indeed GREAT!  Tonight as we go forth, let’s make every effort to share this good news that has been, is, and will forever be with us! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Every Eucharist is Christmas!

Every Eucharist is Christmas!

The same Jesus Who was born on earth not only became man but remains man. He not only came into the world, He is in the world.
In a word, He came to stay. The Eucharist is Christmas prolonged, because faith tells us that once God became man, He decided to remain man… And this God-Man is here; Bethlehem is wherever there is a Catholic Church or chapel in which Christ is present. 
Merry Christmas!

Mass Schedule
4:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. *
(Carols begin at 9:30 p.m.)
*incense will be used*
8:00 and 10:45 a.m.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Father Carroll's Christmas Message 2014






In addition to the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Father Carroll will be hearing confessions on the 24th between 11:30AM - 1:00PM, 2:30PM - 4PM, and 8:15pm - 9:15pm.  On the 25th he will be hearing confessions from 7:15AM - 7:45AM and 9:15AM - 10:15AM.

The Caring Heart of St. Patrick Parish in Service to Others

Each Christmas Season, under the Spiritual Guidance of our Sr. Monica, the Parishioners of our Parish "Adopt a Family" through their generous donations of Food, Toys, Gifts, Clothing, and Financial support to help those in our parish facing difficult times.

Take a look below at just an example with a room filled with donations from you.  These will be combined with a complete Turkey dinner also donated.
Room Filed with Donations from the Parishioners

Toys and Gifts Donated
Merry Christmas and Thank You 
for your Support, and to Sister Monica and her team of volunteers that make this happen each year.  Many grateful families are giving thanks for your kindness.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Homily for the 4th Sunday of Advent 2014

Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
          “For nothing will be impossible for God.”  Take just a moment to ponder those words.  While the holidays can be a joyful time, for some it might be a time for added stress.  It may even bring others to despair.  If we find ourselves feeling down and stressing over the holidays…say the words of the angel Gabriel out loud a few times…”nothing will be impossible for God.”
          It is important for us to remember what we are celebrating, the greatest gift ever given to us…our Lord and Savior.  All too often our focus is placed on giving and receiving something specific, rather than where it should be.  Christmas isn’t about receiving…it’s about giving.  Don’t be looking for something specific; don’t be looking at a price tag, because what the Lord expects us to give doesn't have a price value.  Our Lord expects us to completely give of ourselves.   For it is when we give totally of ourselves we do indeed experience a true sense of happiness and joy.

          “Forever I will sing of the goodness of the Lord.”  This week take advantage of the gifts God has provided us free of charge.  God is indeed GREAT!  Cleanse your hearts and minds, allow Him in and go forth singing the goodness of the Lord by looking for ways we can truly give of ourselves as we prepare to celebrate the Lord’s birth.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Saint Patrick Church York Christmas Schedule

 This past weekends Saturday Night Live clip has been circulating around on Facebook.  As we approach Christmas I feel its worth sharing for a little humor.  

Hmm...sounds like me chanting and preaching the homily!  :)  Seriously, we are blessed at Saint Patrick's with some awesome choirs, many wonderful dedicated volunteers to serve as Altar Servers, Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers, and Ushers.  So if you want to experience something truly spectacular please come join us as we together celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Mass Times for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are...

Wednesday December 24th at


*Incense will be used*

Thursday December 25th at


Oh yes and if you are wondering what my house (well its truly your house you provide for me) alongside the Church looks don't have to try and sneak a peak for on Sunday December 28th I will be hosting an OPEN HOUSE at Noon to share with you my love for the Christmas Season. Yes it's true I have 80+ Nativities and 200+ Santa Figurines  


Sunday, December 14, 2014


Now that we have lit the third candle of the advent wreath we are reminded that Christmas will be here before we know it.  Take some time during the next two weeks to pray, reflect, and repent.  Starting Saturday December 20th we will have additional hours for confession.  I have also listed Saint Mary's and Saint Rose's Penance Service times.  Please review the dates and times below.

Monday December 15th 

Saint Rose of Lima Penance Service @ 7pm

Sunday December 21st 

Saint Mary's York Penance Service @ 4pm

Saturday December 20th

3pm - 4:15pm
after the 4:30pm Mass - 6:30pm

Sunday December 21st

7:15am - 7:45am
9:15am - 10:15am
12:30pm - 1:30pm (Please note different time than the one printed)
4pm - 5pm

Monday December 22nd

4pm - 5pm
after Mass - 6:30pm

Tuesday December 23rd

4pm - 5pm
after Mass - 6:30pm

Wednesday December 24th

11:30am - 1pm
2:30pm - 4pm
8:15pm - 9:15pm

Thursday December 25th

7:15am - 7:45am
9:15am - 10:15am

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Father Carroll's Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent

Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent
          “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.  In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”  On this third Sunday of Advent we are reminded in Saint Paul’s letter to the people of Thessalonica that we are called to rejoice.  This week we rejoice because the time is drawing near to celebrate the Lord’s birth. 
          After the first sentence we are then encouraged to pray without ceasing and to give thanks.  There are plenty of reasons to give thanks!  Our Lord has given us an opportunity to once again renew our hearts, minds, and souls allowing us to focus on Him.  Pray!  Reflect!  Repent!  The time is now brothers and sisters to turn back to the Lord.  Don’t wait another moment.  Do not quench the Spirit!!!  Brothers and sisters as the time draws closer may we pray for the grace to open our hearts to the Lord.         

          “My soul rejoices in my God.”  As we leave here today let us renew our commitment to pray without ceasing, not allowing the distractions of everyday life to deter us.  We do have a reason to pray…to give thanks for all that He has given us.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


We Are Catholic.
What does it mean to be Catholic in today's world? There are many lies and distortions placed upon the Church by the world and the evil spirits that prowl it. So we must proclaim the truth loudly!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Father Carroll's Homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary 2014

Homily for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

          Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.”  Today commemorates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  We are reminded that the Blessed Mother was conceived in Anna’s womb without original sin…thus preparing her to be the Mother of God.
          Mary was chosen specifically by God to be the mother of His son.  Like Mary, we too are chosen.  While yes we struggle with sin, that shouldn’t keep us from the mission that our Lord has for us.  As we commemorate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception together let us sing the Lord’s praises by living holy lives. Be humble!  Accept God’s love and mercy!  Allow the grace of the Lord to help us do great things.   


Hail, Full of Grace: The Immaculate Conception Explained

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Father Carroll's Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent 2014

Homily for the Second Sunday of Advent

          “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.”  One of the things that often gets lost during the season of advent with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, is that in the process of running out getting things ready for our own families we lose sight of those in need.  This first line from today’s first reading gives something for us to consider as part of our advent preparation. 

          The holiday season can be rough for some individuals.  Perhaps they are struggling financially, maybe alone with no family, or just lost a loved one.  During the holidays it is important for us as Christians to be attentive to the needs of others.  Following the spirit of Saint Nicholas of Myra we are called to be generous.  Expressing generosity during this time of year is important because it isn’t about just giving for the sake of receiving praise for that leads to ultimately swelling ones ego.  Learning to be generous allows us an opportunity for us to condition our hearts to give freely. 

          Mark’s Gospel for today has the quote from Saint John the Baptist, “One mightier than I is coming after me.  I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.  I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  It is important for us brothers and sisters to be humble.  This week I would like to challenge all of us to look beyond our own desires, and I challenge us to make this a family project to look for ways in which we can give comfort to those in need. 

          Preparing a way for the Lord begins with focusing on our own spiritual growth and enrichment.  Then it is important to demonstrate to those closest to us the importance and the true meaning of advent and the Christmas Season.  We need to infect this world with the love of the Lord.  May we look around us during this week for opportunities in which we can show love and mercy to others so that they too can share in the joy of the Christmas Season!