Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We enter once more into the Advent season. As we listen to our Advent readings at Mass, we hear again and again about hope and promise. The prophet Isaiah proclaims harmony among all – between nations (no more war), between peoples, even among the animals. We hear of Jesus coming to heal the blind and the lame, the lepers and even the dead. He is Emmanuel – God with us. We hear of the Annunciation to Mary and to St. Joseph. They were asked to believe in the promise, to carry Jesus to birth.
Jesus fulfilled the promise. Jesus is the promise of a more abundant life. He comes to us as he came to our ancestors long ago. He comes not in a stable or a manger, but in Word and Sacrament. We carry that hope and promise to the world of this 21st century. We are Christ bearers, evangelizers.
In the plan of God, the priests of the Church minister and mediate these realities. They help us break open and digest the Word of God week after week, year after year. Gradually, the Gospel of Jesus becomes our own mind and heart. God’s Word influences the way we think, decide, and act. Priests bring us sacramental life from the waters of Baptism through Eucharist to the final Anointing.
I wish you Christmas blessings. May your own hopes reflect God’s promises for a more peaceful, more just, and more harmonious world. May your heart experience the Savior.
I also come to ask for your help with the promises of our Church. In addition to your weekly offerings at your parish, we have an annual Christmas collection for the needs of priesthood in our diocese. This “Christmas Call to Sharing” appeal supports our retired priests, who have fulfilled their promise of a lifetime of service. It also supports the education of our seminarians. The Wichita diocese has a challenge that any other diocese would wish for. We have 59 seminarians. What a promising future these seminarians represent for our diocese. May I ask your help to pay for their education, which costs more than $1.5 million? Thank you.
A special "Christmas Call to Sharing" envelope will be mailed to all registered parishioners as well as envelopes at the parish for this special offertory during all Christmas Masses. (Please make checks payable to your parish.)
Christmas blessings to you and yours,
Rev. Msgr. Robert Hemberger