Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,
As I am working on this letter, we are anticipating the coldest weather of several years. The sun is bright but the breeze is blowing and the temperature is falling. I pray that all may keep safe in these winter days.
Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. It concludes the Christmas season. If your decorations are still up, that is OK! This celebration puts the focus on the beginning of the ministry of Jesus whose birth and Epiphany led to this moment. May it be a time of reflecting on the meaning of our own baptism when we were touched with the very life of the same Lord.
On the weekend after Christmas, we had our family Christmas gathering at my sister’s in Earling. My mother, all my siblings, many of the nieces, nephews and great grand children gathered to share the day. What great food! We all enjoyed the exchange of homemade gifts. It is always fun to see what creative thing people put together for that moment.
On Monday after Christmas, I joined the priests of Shelby County at Fr. Don Bruck’s home in Harlan for dinner and card playing. Even though I was score keeper, I did not manage to win even one game.
Tuesday, the last day of the calendar year, I enjoyed the very large gathering of folks (160+) for the Feast of Mary the Mother of God at the 4:30 pm Mass at St. Anne’s. That evening, I enjoyed a little celebration with friends with lots of good food - wonderful chili and bingo (like white elephant exchange) as we waited for the New Year. The next day, we continued the celebration of Mary the Mother of God at the 9:00 am Mass.
On Thursday morning, we met at the architect’s office with the contractor to prepare for the Diocesan Building Commission presentation of our Phase I plans. That evening, the Liturgy Committee met for its monthly meeting. Plans are being developed to focus on the liturgy and spaces and things within the worship space that we will be building. Kyle Lectenberg from the Office of Worship will meet with us at our next meeting.
Friday afternoon at 1:00 pm, several Strategic Planning Team members, Finance Council members, the architect and contractor met with the Diocesan Building Commission and Bishop Pates. The architect presented the history of our planning process and the footprint for our Phase I facilities. The Finance Council presented the steps taken so far in the selection of a bank to work with for our facility loans. The commission asked lots of questions but were very favorable in their response to our presentation. Bishop Pates will be sending us a letter about proceeding with the plan hopefully very soon.
Friday evening, I joined the Social Concerns Team in serving the evening meal at the St. Joseph’s Emergency Family Shelter. There were about 28 people at the shelter. Cheeseburger Soup and Chicken Noodle soup were the features. We hope to establish helping to meet the needs of St. Joseph’s Shelter as part of our outreach from St. Luke’s.
Saturday, all day we heard how awful cold it is to be Sunday and Monday. By now you will have experienced what really was to happen. Saturday evening, my brother Tom and my sister Ann from Knoxville joined her to celebrate her birthday with dinner.
I am amazed! I just saw a young man go down the street on his bicycle. He is just one of several I noticed in the last couple of days. May all of you keep warm. May the love and peace of the Lord warm your hearts and lives as we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus.
Fr. Larry Hoffmann