Dear Parishioners and Visitors,
Merry Christmas! Our Savior is born!
Emmanuel (which means God with us) certainly has been with us this past year, as we celebrated 50 years as a parish school! God has been with us and with those whom we’ve cared for.
As a parish, in response to receiving the love of Christ through Mass, Sacraments, bible studies and perpetual adoration, we’ve intentionally focused on missionary discipleship. This discipleship was highlighted recently as we shared “Bags of Compassion.” A gesture designed to bring hope to some of the most desolate in our mission field, the homeless. We’ve fed the hungry at our food bank. We clothed the naked and offered shelter to the homeless through St. Vincent de Paul. Our prison ministry visited the imprisoned and our Outreach Ministers of Holy Communion brought the Eucharist to the homes of those unable to attend Sunday Mass. And those are just some the ministries our parishioners at St. Mark’s have supported and engaged in while striving to share the love of Christ we’ve received.
I was filled with joy as we broke bread together and celebrated friendship at our parish’s community building events such as and Oktoberfest and the Feast of St. Nicholas.
I was blessed recently, to travel to Mexico with a few members of the Knights of Columbus, who collected money to provide wheelchairs to children with disabilities. The families were moved, many to tears, by the gift of mobility and by our presence. Hope certainly was brought to those in desperate need and the experience was more powerful for those of us whom were able to witness this giving. It is often in the giving that we receive. Please know that I am aware of how many of you at St. Mark’s give of yourselves; your treasure, your talents, your time and your faith. Please accept my deepest gratitude for all the gifts you offer to make Christ more present in the world in which we live. You are each a blessing to me!
If you are reading this as a visitor or as a Catholic contemplating that tug to come back to your faith, please know that we have a Catholics Returning Home ministry to help you and know that our community lifts you in prayer. I pray for you to come home and to know the mercy of the Lord. He is waiting for you, we all are. Welcome!
I pray the hope of the Christ child remains in our hearts and that we may all become the hope we wish to see in the world as His disciples, remembering, Emmanuel is with us!
Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and your families!
Father Ben Uhlenkott, Pastor