Father Larry's Letters

"Father Larry's Letters" are a weekly letter/journal about the many events occurring within and around the St. Luke's community.

Christmas Lasts Until the Epiphany

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

As I write this letter well in advance of January 5-6, the large gentle snowflakes continue to slowly cover the frozen blizzard from the previous week. Winter has come to Ankeny.

Our Christmas Eve Mass at Ashland Ridge was marvelous. The environment committee created a wonderful scene with the manger surrounded by many beautiful red poinsettias. Thank you to all who donated them. The 15 member children’s choir led us with strong voices and good harmony. The costumed 3rd and 4th grade “gospel players” did a nice job during the reading of the gospel. Thank you to all the ministers during our Christmas Masses. You do so well making the flow of our liturgies go so well. Thank you to the large number of parishioners, friends and family who attended. Thanks as well to the adult choir and musicians on Christmas Day. You have led us in celebrating the joy of the birth of Jesus.

After Mass on Christmas Day, I went home to Panama, Iowa, to my mother’s home and joined most of my siblings for Christmas dinner. Our full family gathering for Christmas was on the Saturday following Christmas in Omaha at my sister’s home.

On Thursday, I was back for the Social Concerns Team meeting at St. Anne’s. That meeting was followed by the first Synchronization Committee meeting. It is made up of two representatives from the Parish Council, the Strategic Planning Team and the Finance Council. Their purpose is to help calendar the capital campaign for our 1st phase of building and the tasks that go with that calendar and to work out the details and steps in the needed financing. We have a big task in front of us in the next few weeks!

Keep us in your prayers.

Friday I finished my home made Christmas gift for my nephew - a stained glass Celtic Cross that will be given on Saturday. Nothing like waiting until the last minute!

Saturday, Msgr. Jerry Stessman celebrated the 4:30 pm Mass as St. Anne’s for me while I was in Omaha with my family for Christmas. Thank you Fr. Jerry. The weekend Masses were the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is a great time to realize the blessing that each of our families are to us. May the Lord continue to share the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us in supporting each other in love.

The New Year came in as we celebrated Mass for the Holy Day - Mary the Mother of God on January 1st. May the beginning of a new calendar year be a moment when we can pause in gratitude for all that was good in 2012 and pray that we can open our hearts to God’s blessings in 2013. It is a great time to see that we can be good stewards of God’s gifts to us - as we use wisely our talents, as we make prayer a 1st priority in our time and as we make giving God the 1st share of our treasure, a regular part of our lifestyle.

May all of you be blessed as we celebrate the Epiphany this weekend and welcome the presence of our Lord in the gift of this New Year.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann