Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,
December! December! It doesn’t seem possible that we are entering into the last month of this year. It is with joy that we begin the new Liturgical with last Sunday’s celebration of the 1st Sunday of Advent. It is a time of actively preparing and wide awake waiting for the coming of the Lord. The Lord will come as we celebrate Christmas. The Lord will come to us along the Advent journey as we find ways to share what we have with those in need. Be creative. Involve your whole family and talk about why you are sharing beyond the usual circle of family and friends.
Tuesday, November 25, was a wonderful day. I had lunch with a long time friend at Noah’s. I went to the NICU at Blank to baptize Felicity Marie Funseth, child of Travis and Katie Funseth. Felicity decided she was not going to wait and came early. Congratulations Katie and Travis. Early that evening, I joined a good number of priests sharing dinner with Fr. BobSchoemann for his 75th birthday. That evening, I took 4 pies from St. Luke’s parishioners and went to the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service at the Ankeny Christian Church. Several members of our choir joined the joint choir in lively song. It was a great way to sing praise to God for all that we have been given. Sharing the variety of pies was wonderful. I encourage all to plan on coming next year.
On Wednesday, everyone seemed to be heading to Grandma’s house! I did have a meeting with Norm Bormann, staff person for the Diocesan Building Commission. I shared where we are with Phase I for our facilities. We will be presenting these plans and the funding for them as soon as we can get on their calendar. He assured me that the Commission would not hold up the progress we are making.
On Thanksgiving Day, I enjoyed Mass with about 30 parishioners at St. Anne’s. It is nice just to gather to praise and thank God for all that God has given each one. It is awesome to realize how generous our God is to each one. After Mass, I drove right out to my mother’s home in Panama. A good number of my siblings and nieces and nephews joined us for turkey, ham and all the trimmings. We delayed the several pies until the evening meal. There was time for football and card playing. I was the score keeper and lost out on the last hand! (No cheating either.)
Black Friday meant that we gathered at my sister’s home in Council Bluffs. Half of her family is Big Red fans and the other half are Iowa fans. It was great to give each other a bad time throughout the game. Needless to say, there was lots of good food followed by several tables of card playing.
Saturday meant back to reality. It was good to spend a quiet time preparing for the 1st Sunday in Advent. On Sunday morning at Ashland Ridge, I was joined by a good number of children bringing in the figures for the Christmas stable scene. After blessing them, the young people placed them at various places that showed that Advent is our time to journey to Christmas as these biblical figures make their way to Bethlehem.
Angel Tree ornaments with names of students and families in need of Christmas gifts were available after Mass. There still may be some to be taken. Check at the office. Bring your wrapped gifts back to the office this week.
Plan on coming to our Advent Penance Service this Tuesday at 7:00 pm at St. Anne’s. It is good to examine our conscience and then receive the gift of God of mercy and forgiveness. It is one step to peace within while we are in the middle of so much Christmas activity. May the Lord bless each day of your Advent journey.
Fr. Larry Hoffmann