December 8, 2013
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 15th 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” — Throughout the year we have local families coming to us for assistance with rent, clothing, food, etc. Our local social service agencies cannot help everyone. Financial contributions are always needed.
4. St. Edward’s “Offertory Giving Challenge” — By December 31st you are invited to increase your offertory contributions to support our parish programs. Your donation will be matched by a generous parish family. Imagine “doubling” your gift —WOW! Yes, the need is present. If we are
to continue our current parish programs then we all must do our part.
And then there are the Archdiocesan collections:
7. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development — This collection funds programs in communities across the United States where people living in poverty join together to identify problems, make decisions, and find ways to improve their lives and neighborhoods.
8. The Typhoon Haiyan Relief Collection — The recent devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan has left more than 10,000 people dead and an estimated 9 million people wounded or without adequate shelter. The money we send will be used to provide immediate assistance and to address emergency needs for water, food, shelter, and medical care.
9. The Retirement Fund for Religious Collection — Senior Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests spent years working in Catholic schools, hospitals, and social-service agencies, 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.
Yes, the needs are great within our parish, the local community, the nation and the world.
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 season. Every offering will make a difference.
Advent blessings, Fr. Brian