Dear Brothers and Sisters,
With the celebration of the Lord’s Baptism by John in the Jordan River, we bring the Christmas season to a close. It is hard to walk away from the consoling and inspiring message of the Savior’s birth, and I have noticed this year that the signs of Christmas—especially decorations— are lingering longer than usual. I am happy to see the observance of Christmas as more than just a day! At some point, though, we must move on—move forward—consoled and inspired by what we have encountered at the stable of Bethlehem just as the shepherds and the magi did. We don’t simply turn the page and move on, but we are affected by the birth of the Savior. The Lord’s baptism carries us forward to begin to pay attention to the work of Jesus as our Savior. We can’t help but want to sit up and listen to what he has to say, to witness his mighty deeds, and to receive the grace and blessings that he wants to share with us now.
This liturgical year the gospel readings at Sunday Mass come from the Gospel of Mark, and since it is the shortest, we will also hear the Bread of Life discourse (chapter 6) from John’s gospel for 5 weeks in July and August. We believe that Mark is the earliest of the four gospels. Most, although not all, scholars believe that Mark was written around the year 70 C.E. and followed in the eighties by Matthew and Luke, and in the nineties by John. One has the sense in reading Mark that Jesus is always moving quickly from one encounter to another, which inspires a sense of urgency and relentlessness in his mission. Let us be inspired by that as we take up anew our journey to follow him.
I’m happy to announce that the Vocations Office has asked that our parish sponsor a seminarian from Cameroon! Clinton Fanka, 23 years old, will be entering First Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore (my alma mater) this weekend. He and a fellow seminarian arrived last month and were quarantining at another parish before they move in to their perspective seminaries. They, along with their peers, will remain there until the end of the academic year. Since he has no family here in the States, I’m considered his “spiritual father”. I’ll be providing moral support as he embarks on his seminary career and attend milestone events prior to diaconate and priesthood ordinations. I was able to provide start-up supplies for his dorm room thanks to the generosity of parishioners. Once cleared, he will be able to stay at the rectory during his school breaks and be present for liturgies. For the summer weeks, he will do internships at parishes around the Archdiocese and gain more experience in how to be an effective pastoral minister. When he gets settled, he will provide more information about himself.
Next weekend our Winter Relief coordinator, Matt Fritsch will be speaking at the 9:30am Mass giving an update and asking for donations for this vital ministry. Due to the current pandemic, it was decided that the Winter Relief program throughout the county would not be held at churches. Matt will be asking for donations to help these homeless men through the Arundel House of Hope so that they can stay safe and warm this winter.
Here is this Sunday’s Worship Aid
I encourage you to sign up for weekend Masses through the parish website or FaceBook page. The link is available after the 9:30 Mass each Sunday UNTIL Wednesday evenings at 10:00pm. We are seeing an increase in walk-ins to Masses as of late. If you come to Mass without signing up, you will not be admitted. There is no walk-in seating through the end of January due to the intensity of the Covid-19.
Don’t forget to wear your mask, use hand sanitizers in the Narthex and keep your social distance as you approach the Main Entrance of the Church!
As usual, we will continue to live-stream Mass (Mon—Thurs at 9:00am and Sunday at 9:30am) on the parish Facebook (link) and uploaded on YouTube (link), and our parish website, https://www.seaseton.org/Resources/Media. If you do not have Facebook but wish to watch our livestream, click here for instructions.
Have a good week!