Dear friends in Christ, January 5, 2021
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the parishioners of Saint John Paul II Parish Community. What a past year we went through! Hope 2021 will be better as we continue to be open to the Lord’s Grace and Love in our lives. Our Christmas Season ends with the Baptism of the Lord on January 10, 2021.
I want to thank all my parishioners who sent me cards, gifts, cookies, food, and prayers this Christmas Holiday. They were truly appreciated, and thank you again. Many thanks to all the “worker elves” from the parish community who had taken time out of their busy schedules to help decorate the Churches; they look beautiful. Keeping up with the changing Church seasons is not an easy task, but you all come through every time! You know who you are and so do I. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I also would like to thank all of the staff that work or volunteer at the parish. You continue to do a great job, especially during the busiest Church Seasons during the year, Advent and Christmas being two of them. I appreciate all the hard work you do from counting, scheduling, snow removal, and of course putting up with me your Pastor! Thank You for continuing to be the best in what you do for me and the parish! I would also like to thank all the ministries who helped us with our Christmas Season, including; Parish Staff and Pastoral Staff, Liturgy Committee, Music Ministry, Ushers, Lectors, Sacristans, Altar & Rosary Society, Holy Name Society, Advent Giving Tree Ministry, and all those who helped in some way to make our Christmas celebrations meaningful.
As many of you are aware, I had been on a small vacation last week. It turned out to be a quarantine week for me. I came in contact with a person who had a family member test positive. This person was tested and also tested positive. I immediately went into self-quarantine last Monday, December 28th. I was then tested on Sunday January 3rd, and my results were negative. So I’m back in full swing. Good to be back, but I did have a head cold all that week that I was off. Typical for me when I want/need some time off. It’s all good though! God always wins.
Now for some very important information. Please follow all the guidelines that have been established by the State, Diocese, and Parish for Covid-related issues. It is very important that all who come to Mass (Daily or weekly) wear a mask properly and maintain social distancing protocols. Of course, all are welcome to celebrate with us. I am asking, as your pastor, shepherd, and friend to follow the guidelines. I understand that masks can be a nuisance for many, but I ask you with great respect and love to continue to wear your masks and social distance for the benefit of all, especially to help many who wish to celebrate Mass without anxiety or anger. The Pastoral Team and I are trying everything we can to make sure everyone can celebrate the Lord in a safe manner, to rejoice and give thanks to God for all those beautiful gifts (including people) which He gives to us daily and weekly.
May you all continue to feel the Christmas joy and love throughout the New Year, and may you always recognize that you are loved. My hope and daily prayers for you are that you all open your gift of faith every day and live out your Christian Discipleship (given at baptism) to love God and neighbor, by preaching the Gospel by your word and action. Always appreciate what God has given to us. In good times and in bad.
Again, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened. Focus on your blessings and trust the Lord this coming year. Let the Light of the Lord radiate from your heart, mind, and Souls! Most of all be kind and love.
Your friend in Christ,
Fr. Sean DiMaria