May 9, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We are in that time in the year of Jesus Christ in which we celebrate outstanding gifts of God in each of our lives. We are living in Easter, Ascension and Pentecost. Jesus the Christ, our God, out of infinite love for each of us, came into the world born as a baby. In his public life he called those who were open to him in faith to begin the gift of his church. He did that in many different ways by teaching, by miracles, and in his final week with us.
In that first Holy Week he shared with the apostles the great gift of the Eucharist in which he took ordinary bread and wine and gave it to them saying, “Take and eat for this is my body. Take and eat this is the cup of my blood poured out for you for the remission of sins.” He then went out into the garden to pray followed by all of his apostles who promised always to be with him. He was arrested and taken away to be crucified with all the apostles abandoning him except for young John. He was also followed by our Blessed Mother and many of the women. He was crucified, died, buried, and rose on the third day:
“Jesus said to his disciples: “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold I am sending the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Then he led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and they were continually in the temple praising God.” (Luke 24:46-53)
We celebrate the Ascension of Christ into heaven so that the Holy Spirit could come down upon all of us on Pentecost Sunday:
“At this sound, they gathered in a large crowd, but they were confused because each one heard them speaking in his own language.” (Acts of the Apostles 2:6)
You and I, my brothers and sisters, as members of the Catholic faith, are called to embrace Jesus Christ’s gifts on earth and the continuing life of the Holy Spirit offered to each human being. In that we are called not only to live faithfully and lovingly ourselves, in the context of Christ building of the church, but to share that life of God, the forgiveness that God offers us, the nourishment that is essential to our hearts and minds and souls through all the sacraments. We are challenged in turn to share that with all our brothers and sisters, in our homes with our families, with all other brothers and sisters with whom we interact whether that be at work, in daily active life, in vacations, at all times.
There are many times when we can be discouraged and life seems a challenge beyond control. There are moments of hurt and confusion. We at St. Thomas are challenged by the love of Jesus Christ to be neighbors to one another in our own homes, to our neighbors, to all of those to whom we extend the sign of peace just before Communion at Mass.
What a grace-filled witness we should be to each other as we gather to celebrate the sacred Mass each week, as we acknowledge each other on the streets we live, as we respect each other in the work place, as we celebrate the gift of life in our social gatherings and our vacations.
Congratulations to all of our graduates from Universities and Colleges, from Peoria Notre Dame High School, from St. Thomas the Apostle grade school and from the other high schools and grade schools. May God bless you always! May you walk in Christ’s way following the direction of Christ to build up his Kingdom here on earth with Christ’s love in your heart.
|May 12||Fine Arts Open House in the school after 8:00, 9:30 and 11:00 Masses|
|May 19||Deaconate Ordination of Kyle Lucas at 11:30 at Holy Trinity in Bloomington|
|May 25||Ordination of Priests, including Deacon Jeremy Freehill
who was with us last summer
|May 28||St. Thomas School Graduation, 7:00 pm Mass|
|June 2||Fr. Tom Henseler 50th Anniversary of Ordination
Mass at St. Thomas 2:00 pm
|June 21||Golf Outing and Dinner at Metamora Fields|
Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all who have made their pledge to the Annual Diocesan Appeal! Your response these first few weeks has been wonderful. If you have not had a chance to make your pledge we have enclosed a card. Please return it to the parish office or in the Sunday collection. Thank you for your generosity during the first quarter of this year. Be sure to let us know if your records differ from ours.
May God bless you as we continue to live our lives embracing Jesus Christ’s gifts on earth and the grace offered to each of us through the coming of the Holy Spirit. May we be grace-filled witnesses as we gather at Mass and beyond the Mass for the good of all God’s kingdom.
Msgr. William A. Watson