• Fr. Daniel Gifford

WELCOMING HIS LIGHT

Dear St. Louis Parishioners, This weekend, Jesus tells us that He is the Great Light shone upon those dwelling in a land of darkness. What effect does light have in our lives? It enables us to see. As we come to the year 2020, it seems many people will not miss the opportunity to speak of “20/20 Vision,” even if it starts to become regarded as just another catchphrase or hashtag. Nonetheless, it’s worth tapping into this trend to consider what 20/20 vision really is. If we are to really see clearly, it will come by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which bring us deeper into communion with the Lord, so that we begin to see what He sees, as we grow in wisdom and understanding. There is great

need to grow in this kind of true 20/20 vision. Let us ask the Lord to be able to see what He sees, trusting that this will enable us to truly see reality more clearly. If we are to obtain this clear vision, we must humble ourselves enough even to be willing to see things differently than some of the perspectives we might be holding onto, if indeed the Lord should ask us to do so. This is the spirit with which I want to introduce to you a new initiative, which is an important part of the plan for this Year of Humility, which I have proposed to the parish. That new initiative of which I speak is a series of monthly Holy Hours for various intentions, under the title: “Praying for 20/20 Vision, As We Contemplate the Humility of Christ.” This is what I was referring to in our Advent-Christmas Letter, when I made reference to the fact that Eucharistic Adoration is one of the greatest ways to contemplate the humility of Christ and that, for this reason, I intend to offer more opportunities for adoration in 2020. Sometimes the intention for a given month’s holy hour will be clearly relevant to some holiday or event in that month, while other times we may simply offer the holy hour for some intention that we don’t often find occasion to focus us, but nonetheless deserves our prayerful attention. The Lord comes to us in the Eucharist in a manner that reveals His humility more than His glory. In a manner of speaking, He hides His glory under the appearance of a simple piece of unleavened bread, just as He once hid His glory as a helpless little baby, or when He was condemned as a criminal. Although we may not see His glory, He is present nonetheless. For this reason, it is most fitting for us to bring our intentions to Him in the Eucharist. In Eucharistic Adoration, we have the opportunity to humble ourselves before our God, who actually humbles Himself before us. What an awesome mystery! Specifically, what are we praying for “20/20 Vision” about in January? We are praying to see more clearly the dignity of every human life, from conception to death, and to see that abortion and every other crime against the dignity of human life is just that: a crime against life that does not help people, but only brings more pain and suffering. While we pray for an end to all crimes against human life, including euthanasia, senseless violence, terrorism, war and unnecessary use of the death penalty, as we commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and unite our prayers to those attending the March for Life, it is fitting to give special attention to the matter of abortion, which affects so many of our people and about which there is still much misunderstanding. We pray for the conversion of hearts and minds, that more souls may see clearly that abortion kills children, hurts women and does great harm to our society. With these prayers come many other specific intentions. We pray for all unborn children who are in danger of an abortion, for all mothers and fathers who may feel afraid, alone and unsupported, and for all persons who are in a position to give them real concrete assistance. We pray for hope, healing, and reconciliation for all those who have been personally affected by an abortion experience, that they may personally know the Healing Love of our Merciful Savior, who looks on them with great love and compassion (and on that note, please consider signing up for a prayer slot during the Rachel's Vineyard Retreat - more information elsewhere in this bulletin). We pray for all of those who are currently entrenched in the abortion industry, for the conversion of those who remain convinced that they are providing a necessary service, as well as for support and concrete help for those who have had an awakening and are trying to get out, such as was the experience of Abby Johnson (whose story is well worth learning more about, if you don’t already know it). We pray for the conversion of politicians, voters and those with a voice in the media, that their hearts may turn toward true solutions that provide real help to women, children and families. Finally, we pray for all who work in crisis pregnancy centers, that their work may be unhindered and that they may reach many mothers and fathers in need. We could go on and on and on. As we bring these prayers to Our Lord, let our hearts be moved with compassion for all those suffering under the yoke of the culture of death. But, as we see the great abundance of needs, may we also see an abundance of opportunities to pray and work to build up a culture of life.

MORE “20/20 VISION” DATES: We have the first few dates and intentions already set. I invite you to mark your calendars to join us for any or all of them. More information to come about each of those, as they draw nearer. • February 18, 2020 - Holy Hour for the Renewal of Marriage • March 4, 2020 - Holy Hour for the Reconciliation of All God’s Children • April 21, 2020 - Holy Hour for Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life

MARIAN CONSECRATION NEXT WEEK: Please pray for all of those who will be making a personal consecration to Jesus through Mary next weekend. If you are participating in this and haven’t reached out to me yet, please do so, so that we can discuss how we can do this more communally. As I write this, the details are still concretizing.

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK: This weekend, as Catholic Schools Week kicks off, our 10:30 Mass is featuring a visit from one of our parishioners who attends Peru Catholic School. While we certainly still fondly remember our own parish school and all its contributions to parish and community life in Princeton, we continue to move forward with supporting our children and families. For a number of families, this takes the form of supporting their children in continuing their Catholic education at Peru Catholic School and Saint Bede Academy. You may or may not be aware that all parishes in the diocese pay assessments to support Catholic schools in their area. The bulk of ours go to Peru Catholic School, so it is good for us to support our parish children who attend there also with our prayers. We encourage all of our parish families to consider whether Catholic education is an option for your children and please know that the parish would love to support you in that choice, especially through our tuition assistance program.


In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Gifford

St. Louis, pray for us!

Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!

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