Lent is a time of conversion, repentance, turning away from sin and being faithful to the Gospel. It is a time when we assist the Lord Jesus in cleaning His house, our souls. Each one of us, each one of our souls is the dwelling place of God, His house. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit dwell in our souls because of our Baptism. They made their home there at that moment and have dwelt there ever since.
This week we will be halfway through Lent. What a journey! We use this time to prepare ourselves to celebrate the Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. These days celebrate the passion, death, and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Through His blood, we are redeemed. His sacrifice gained for us eternal life, happiness, fulfillment of every longing. This is why we celebrate, this is why we fast, increase our prayer, and practice almsgiving and works of charity.
In a few days Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, February 14th (be careful, couples…better celebrate Valentine’s Day another day!). This day begins the season of Lent – 6 weeks of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The Church gives us this time to focus on something that will make us better disciples of Jesus Christ. Individually we can do so many different penances or works of mercy which form us and mold us into better disciples.
In a few weeks, we as a parish will begin our Lenten program, Living the Eucharist, with other parishes around the diocese. For six weeks we will be meeting together in small groups, as families, as friends, as teens, to grow deeper in faith, hope, and love for our Lord Jesus Christ and our Catholic faith. Don’t miss this opportunity. We all need each other to grow and to continue our conversion.
Monday, January 22nd, marked the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade which opened the door to legal access to abortion across our nation. This began a massacre of innocents and opened wounds in the hearts and souls of so many women and men. Some of our parish went to Atlanta to the March for Life there to witness to Right to Life of every human person no matter how small or vulnerable. They went to offer healing to the women who have had abortions and to the men who have been effected.
2018 sure has started with a bang! I returned from vacation in the frozen tundra of northern Michigan (where the temperature never got above 12º and was most often negative with the wind chill) to the frozen low country of Georgia! However, I must confess, it was nice to come home to a closed office and get a few more days to catch up before I jumped back into things!
Vacation was nice and the weather gave me plenty of time to read and watch the bowl games! UGA played brilliantly in both the semifinal and the National Championship game but just came up a little short in the final. The future is looking bright for the Dawgs! Yes, I cheered for them against Oklahoma and Alabama. Though I am an LSU fan, UGA runs a close second. Go dawgs!
Now, we will all go through College football withdrawal until things start up again in the fall.
All the parishes in the Diocese of Savannah will be participating in a Lenten program for the next three Lents called Living the Eucharist. This revolves around small groups getting together weekly to share the faith and learn more about the faith and how to allow the faith to impact their daily lives. You will be hearing more and more about it over the next few weeks, please keep your eyes and ears open for more information.
Lent begins on February 14th. Just like we had a short Advent, we have an early Lent and an Early Easter. Easter is on April 1st. It is amazing how time flies!
This Pastor’s Corner will be a bit different. Today we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent and this evening and tomorrow, we celebrate Christmas! It is the shortest 4th week of Advent possible – only a few hours!
Today is a Sunday of rejoicing! The pink candle is lit. The priest may wear rose vestments (I think Fr. Adams has a vestment, but the parish doesn’t have one – we will wear his!). This lighter color symbolizes the need to rejoice during this Season of Advent.
The First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new Church year! We begin with Advent leading up to Christmas. Then we have Christmas and the Christmas Season. Last year, we had the longest Advent we could have since Christmas fell on a Sunday. This year, we have the shortest Advent we could have since Christmas falls on a Monday.
Many blessings and prayers for you and your family as you celebrate this weekend and give thanks to Almighty God for all He has done for you. I thank Him for you, the parishioners of St. James the Less Parish! What a blessing you are to me!
During the month of November, in our Catholic tradition as the end of the year approaches, we think and dwell on the four last things: death, judgment, hell, and heaven. We have covered death and judgment. The third installment is on hell.
During the month of November, in our Catholic tradition as the end of the year approaches, we think and dwell on the four last things: death, judgment, hell, and heaven. We covered death last week. This week we will reflect on judgment.
At 3:00 PM, Sunday, November 5th, we will have the Blessing of the Graves at the Catholic Cemetery. During this blessing and prayer service, we will read the names of each of those who have been buried from our Catholic Churches over the previous year. We will pray for their souls and for their eternal rest.
October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses onto the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This act is widely regarded as the beginning of the western schism in the Catholic Church and is celebrated by our Protestant brothers and sisters as the beginning of their traditions especially of Lutheranism and Calvinism. Tuesday marks the 500th anniversary of this event.
We read in the Letter of St. James, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead…For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (James 2:14-26)
Today we welcome all new members to St. James parish who have come this past year! I am amongst them! I too am a new parishioner! On Wednesday, we will have our Welcome Dinner as our first monthly parish dinner this year. Everyone in the parish is invited.
Hurricane Irma came and went! We were spared the brunt of it, but we still had our damage. There are plenty here in our parish who suffered flooding of their property and wind and tree damage. The church buildings survived beautifully. Nothing but debris and limbs to clean up afterwards! Sr. Lisa, Sr. Carolyn, Fr. Adams, Richard Morgan, the Kromenhoeks, and I had a two day clean up after the storm! We had a great time – though we are all a bit sore!
Whatever is faithful to the tradition of the Church, whatever is permissible in Sacred Scripture, Canon Law, and by Holy Mother Church, and whatever helps the Catholic Faithful grow deeper in love with Jesus and His bride the Church, I support and I will facilitate as best I can. The Holy Spirit works in all different ways and in so many different forms and apostolates and ministries to draw people closer to Jesus.
On Tuesday, August 15th, we celebrate the Assumption of Mary into heaven. This day we proclaim that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her early life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.
Sitting in the Personnel Board Meeting this spring, the meeting took a bit of turn and next thing I knew, Bishop Hartmayer asked me if I would be the Pastor at St. James. As I said yes, I thought, “Man, I’m going to miss my friend, Mark.” This was followed by, “My goodness, that parish is huge…and a school…and a convent of sisters…and an Adoration Chapel…and 2 parochial vicars…and a monastery of Carmelite nuns!!” What wonderful things are going on over here at St. James! What exciting movements of the Holy Spirit! What amazing potential!
St. James the Less Catholic Church
8412 Whitefield Avenue
Savannah, Georgia 31406
Office Hours: M–F | 9A – 5P