This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, remembering how the magi (Gentiles from outside the local Jewish culture) are among the first to adore the Christ child, immediately bringing a multi-cultural context to the story of Jesus. Our own celebration of this feast, using music and languages from our various ethnic origins, reminds us that our community and our worship today continues to be multi-cultural, and that we are truly enriched by the beauty of the various cultures from which we come.
Priests in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are allowed to ask to retire when they reach the age of 70 (which I did in October.) This has occasioned many questions from parishioners about my future plans. Because of our personnel shortage, priests who retire usually remain active in ministry, but are relieved of the daily burden of administration. I met with Archbishop Lori shortly before Christmas, and he asked me to continue in my role as pastor until June of 2024. I love this faith community and have gladly agreed to serve in this way.
Each month we have a second collection which supports the Frederick Co. Parish Tuition Assistance Fund. Members of all parishes that contribute to this fund are eligible to apply for tuition assistance if their children attend an Archdiocesan-approved Catholic School. A distribution committee (with one designated representative from each participating parish) makes the awards based solely on financial need. Last year a total of $191,500 was awarded to qualifying families in our area! An insert in the bulletin this weekend details the application process for those who would like to apply for the upcoming 2023-24 academic year.
Students wishing to participate in the special Catholic Schools Week Mass on 29 January at 11 AM may sign up this weekend and next in the narthex. Also, please remember that the completed applications and essays for the Drexel Essay Contest (to win scholarship funds) are due by next Sunday 15 January.