Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,
I am writing this letter in the Sunday cold snow. Maybe it is a 1st step toward a white Christmas! Our bodies will quickly adapt to the cold with these days with the high in the teens. But it is December - it is Iowa.
On Sunday, December 1, we had a Mass with the residents at the Polk City Care Center. Afterward, several of us sang Christmas carols and then enjoyed the variety of cookies to give us strength after such hard work. I really enjoyed the coconut macaroons. Some stayed to help write Christmas cards with the residents. That evening, I joined Bishop Pates at the “Andrew Dinner” at All Saints parish. The Bishop hosts this dinner for the priests of the area and for any young men who would come to listen to stories of the priests’ vocations. It is a good way for them to hear about God’s call in other’s lives and to be open if God may be calling them. Keep these young men in your prayers.
Monday was a day to get things started for my Christmas project - we draw names within the family and then we must make a gift. I was designing and making the patterns for my stained glass project, getting the supplies and putting together the Glass Shop in the Rectory basement. Now I have to get at cutting and soldering the glass.
Tuesday morning, Paul Moritz and I made a visit to an Ankeny business to tell them about our Phase I project. We wanted to tell them about our School and seek their help. It was a wonderful visit. That evening, I met with Cindy and the High School faith formation catechists to talk about our Confirmation process. We are selecting texts to use and setting up the two year schedule for preparation so that our young people can be confirmed when they are in 10th grade.
Wednesday meant that I met with the two sessions of RE grades K-5 and blessed their Advent wreath projects. I also blessed their containers of water that they then took home to use in blessing their home Advent wreaths. Later that evening, the Strategic Planning Team met at the Rectory to discuss some of the concerns that the Parish Council raised at their last meeting. The architect and contractors gave good input with assurances that St. Luke’s School will open on time in August of 2015. They also spoke about making every effort to get us into the worship space as soon as they could. A schedule to track will be put together for us all to follow with regular updates about the dates listed.
Thursday was a very busy day. I attended the Dowling Catholic High School Christmas Luncheon at 11:30 am. Two student talks reflected their experience at Dowling Catholic, including the funeral that morning of Conner Mason. I went to the Blood Drive at OLIH in the afternoon. After the 5:30 pm Mass and Adoration, we had our monthly Liturgy Meeting.
Further plans for Advent and Christmas were put into place.
Friday morning, I went to visit Kay Boesen and Felicity Funseth in the hospital. Keep them both in your prayers. In the evening, I attended the “No Room at the Inn” gathering at the Catholic Pastoral Center. It is the Catholic Charities’ annual celebration of ways to support the St. Joseph’s Family Shelter. It is a time of wonderful food, music, stories and Nativity sets. It is a great way to support the work that St. Joseph’s does.
Thank you to all who have taken names from our Angel Tree. We will be able to help many individuals in need with Christmas gifts they want. May your Third Week of Advent be a blessing to each one as we continue our preparation for the Lord to come.
Fr. Larry Hoffmann