Share Your God-given gifts this Advent/Christmas Season

December 7, 2014

Dear Fellow Parishioners:

Advent Greetings! How is your preparation for Christmas going? I imagine we all are feeling a tad overwhelmed by the busyness of the season. There is so much to do in so little time. Yes, it is a challenge to balance the many demands placed upon us. Consider just the drives/collections taking place through our parish —

1. VEAP Holiday Toy Drive — By December 14th you are invited to bring unwrapped NEW gifts for kids ages 0 – 18. These will go to needy families within the larger community.

2. St. Edward’s “Sponsor a Family” program — By December 25th — yes, families have even come in on Christmas Day — you are invited to help families within our parish community with Christmas gifts and food. Gift cards can be donated.

3. St.Edward’s “Emergency Assistance Fund” (formerly the “Dudley Fund”) — Throughout the year we have local families coming to us for assistance with rent, clothing, legal matters, food, etc. The local social service agencies cannot help everyone. Financial contributions are always needed. This fund is supported through the annual offertory collections taken up on Thanksgiving Day and Holy Thursday; in addition, monies gathered from the chapel votive lights collection box and special individual gifts go into this fund. Currently this fund has been depleted; thus, we are unable to help our local families.

4. St. Edward’s “Offertory Giving Challenge” — No this is not a typo. Last year at this time we had two families step forward willing to match any increase in our offertory contributions. This year we do not have this luxury; and yet, the need still exists. Our offertory giving is down from last year; and yet, our program needs have only grown. If we want to continue our current pro- grams, then we need to find a way to increase our giving. I encourage everyone to consider a special gift to our parish by December 31st. Let’s all do our part to support the many wonderful ministries we offer here at St. Edward’s.

5. The Retirement Fund for Religious Collection — Senior Catholic sisters, brothers, and reli- gious order priests spent years working in Catholic schools, hospitals, and social-service agen- cies, often for little, if any, pay. Their sacrifices now leave their religious communities without adequate savings for retirement and elder care. Your gift will provide medications, nursing care, and more for thousands of elderly religious. A second collection will be taken up at our parish Masses this weekend.

Yes, the needs are great within our parish and the broader community. All this can be overwhelming; and yet, we must always remember that we have a responsibility to care for the needy within our midst. As Luke 12:48b proclaims: “So then, of all to whom much has been given, much will be required. And of those to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be asked.” Therefore, I ask that each of us take the time to reflect upon how we are called to share our God-given gifts this Advent/Christmas sea- son. Every offering will make a difference.

Advent blessings, Fr. Brian