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.

Advent Welcome! Advent Waiting! Advent Preparing!

Dear St. Luke’s Parishioners,

As I write this letter, we have already celebrated the 2nd Sunday of Advent. The time for preparing for the coming of the Lord is unfolding before our eyes and hearts. May we look for the many comings of Christ in this time and place.

Last Monday, December 1, I had the privilege to be joined by Fr. Charles from Madison, Wisconsin, and Fr. Bob Kem from St. Anne’s as we baptized Henry Andrew Kem. Henry is the son of Andrew Kem, Fr. Bob’s son. Andrew joined the Catholic Church some years ago through the RCIA at St. Theresa’s before I came to Ankeny.

Tuesday, December 2, we held our construction meeting at the building site. The schedule for the ongoing construction was reviewed. Lots of effort to get the whole facility enclosed will be made in the next days. Interior work on the uprights, electrical, plumbing, and sprinkler systems continues. Notice the blue seal on the worship space roof! That evening, the St. Luke’s School marketing committee had its meeting. Tonya Eaton gave a progress report on activities for St. Luke’s School.

On Wednesday, December 3, there was a pastors with schools meeting to discuss training required by the state for coaches of school teams. It is likely that there will be parish teams rather than school teams. It will be easier for volunteers to be involved and do much the same work as has been done in the last several years. That evening, I enjoyed a wonderful buffet with the supper club at Tasteful Dinners.

Thursday, December 4, the priests met at All Saints in Stuart for the Fall Study Day. Ways for parishes to increase their involvement with Hispanic ministry were reviewed. About 30% of our diocesan Catholic population are now Hispanic. In the afternoon, Dr. Nancy Thompson spoke about the awareness we need for those with disabilities of all sorts. Most churches do well with their physical facilities in providing for persons with disabilities. Dr. Thompson led us in considering our need to be aware and accepting of those with intellectual disabilities, to be welcoming and to find ways to reach out to them in our parishes and in our worship. We then heard personal witness of a family and a parish that provides for them.

I arrived back just in time to participate in the Blood Drive at OLIH. I just barely arrived back in time for the evening Mass. That evening, we held our monthly Liturgy Committee meeting. Plans for Advent and Christmas were reviewed and confirmed.

On Friday morning I celebrated Mass at Vintage Hills and then at Sunnyview for Fr. Steve. He had another funeral and wanted not to have them miss Mass again. Later that evening, I attended the No Room at the Inn gathering at the Catholic Pastoral Center. It is a wonderful gathering to support the St. Joseph’s Emergency Shelter and the other outreach ministries of Catholic Charities.

On Saturday, the St. Luke’s Little Longhorns, children and parents planning on attending our School, sang Christmas Carols at Penelope Place in spite of the fire on their campus. On Sunday, we enjoyed celebrating the baptism of Emily Jay Ott, daughter of Marie and Matt Ott. Welcome Emily. In the afternoon, I helped with the Advent Penance service at St. Mary’s in Elkhart.

Don’t forget our Advent Penance Service this Sunday, December 14, 1:00 pm at St. Anne’s. We will have two other priests helping with confessions. I will have extra time for confessions on Friday, December 19, 6:30-8:00 pm, as well. Be blessed these Advent days.

Fr. Larry Hoffmann