Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Monday evening, January 14 at 7:00pm in St. Angela Hall, St. Mary’s will host the entire Aiken Deanery for a visit from our Bishop. During this town hall-style meeting, Bishop Guglielmone will talk about the current crisis in the Church. He also plans to answer your related questions. Of course, wecontinue to pray for the healing of all victims of abuse. With God’s help, the Church can truly become the place of healing and love we are meant to be.
So many people have commented about how much they like our new gift shop. Many thanks to our volunteers who freely give their time and knowledge. It’s important to know that the gift shop is run entirely by volunteers, who donate all their time. The shop belongs to the parish, and all proceeds go tothe parish. Also, it is important for us as Catholics to have a place where we can provide Bibles and sacramentals, which we use every day to help deepen our spiritual lives. Sacramentals are prayers and objects that remind us both of the grace of God that flows from the Sacraments and of the family of Saints who pray for us. Whether it is the sprinkling of holy water, praying the rosary, making the Sign of the Cross, wearing a scapular or blessed medal, or more,sacramentals provide a tangible, richer experience of our divine faith. God has made us so that we experience the world through our senses. That is why so much of our faith involves concrete, touchable things. “[Sacramentals] are meant to draw the faithful to the Church’s liturgy and sacraments, yet realizing that the liturgy is far greater than any of them.” (Our Sunday Visitor)
This weekend as we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we will begin some of the Masses with the Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling of Water, recalling our own Baptism when Christ washed us clean of original sin and incorporated into His Mystical Body. As the priest moves through the assembly sprinkling the blessed water on the people, the cantor will sing, “Sprinkle me with hyssop, O Lord and I shall be cleansed; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:9). “This sprinkling with water is a visual reminder of Baptism (the foundational sacrament of all repentance) and the unique character of Sunday. Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, we die, are buried, and rise again with Christ: we thereby share in Christ’s victory over sin and death.” (Lawrence Johnson, The Mystery of Faith: A Study of the Structural Elements of the Order of the Mass, 1994.)
One of the greatest tragedies of our faith is to spend our lives doing all the “right” things, but never getting to know the Person for whom these things are done – Jesus Christ. Because the eternal God has become one of us in the Incarnation, we can know Him intimately. Do you? Alpha is coming to help you do just that. Mark your calendar for the series that begins Monday evening Feb. 4th.
Let us pray for each other,