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MESSENGER ST. MICHAEL’S BY-THE-SEA

The New Creation Issue WINTER 2017


N E W C R E AT I O N “Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.“ 2 Corinthians 5.17 When St. Paul talks about being a “new creation” in Christ, he is not using hyperbole, or speaking metaphorically. When he says, “If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation,” he means, veritably . . . they are a new creation. It is impossible to appreciate the power of this statement, let alone the reality to which it points, without first understanding our origins in the old creation. In the beginning, God created humanity in His own image and likeness. His divine image was imbued, imprinted, and inscribed into our very being. Through our sin that image was marred, disfigured, and distorted. So in the fullness of time, the Word of God clothed himself in human flesh. Through his Incarnation, Our Lord Jesus Christ not only restored the image and likeness of God into humanity, but actually united God with human nature — he joined them, fused them, and connected them — in an incomprehensible and mysterious way. This is the new creation. Jesus is the new creation. At the heart of the Christian Faith lies the invitation to become “Partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1.4). So it is that in Christ, we are able to participate in his miraculous new creation. In this issue of the Messenger, we will hear from a variety of different voices bearing witness to the glorious inheritance we have in Christ. As we celebrate Our Lord’s birth and manifestation to the world, may we be inspired to embrace with all our affections the gift of new creation we have in him. In Christ,

Fr. Doran+


TA B L E

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of

CONTENTS

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WINTER EVENTS CALENDAR

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NEW CREATION

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Fr. Doran Stambaugh Olivia Cuscino Erica Martin

SENIOR WARDEN’S REPORT Tony Vanaria

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Cover Art: Painting Madonna and Child by Marianne Stokes circa 1900.

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BEING MADE NEW

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JOY TO THE WORLD

Becky Gleason

Fr. Ivor Kraft


ST. M IC HAE L’S BY-T H E- SEA DECEMBER 1 2 3 3 3 7

BIBLE 101 10:15 - 11:45 am / Parish Library

CONFESSIONS 4:00 - 5:00 pm / Chapel

POINSETTIA SALE 8:45 - 11:30 am / Gazebo

HEALING PRAYER SESSIONS After Mass - 9:00 & 11:00 am / Chapel

ST. NICHOLAS PARTY 9:15 - 10:00 am / Parish Hall

FOREIGN & DOMESTIC MISSIONS MEETING 6:00 - 8:00 pm / Parish Library

7 9 10 12 12 12 12

CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

CONFESSIONS 4:00 - 5:00 pm / Chapel

POINSETTIA PICK UP 8:45 - 11:30 am / Gazebo

CAROLING AT CBTS 3:45 - 4:45 pm / Parish Green

DOK BUSINESS MEETING 6:30 - 7:00 pm / Saint John Room

WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY 7:00 - 8:30 pm / Saint John Room

MEN’S BIBLE STUDY & FELLOWSHIP MEETING 7:00 - 8:30 pm / Upper Room

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CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

CONFESSIONS 4:00 - 5:00 pm / Chapel

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JANUARY

HEALING PRAYER SESSIONS After Mass - 9:00 & 11:00 am / Chapel

LESSONS & CAROLS Prelude 3:40 pm - Service 4 pm / Church

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6:00 - 8:00 pm / Parish Library

VESTRY MEETING 6:30 - 8:30 pm / Parish Library

CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

CONFESSIONS 4:00 - 5:00 pm / Chapel

CHRISTMAS PAGEANT 4:30 - 5:30 pm / Church

CHRISTMAS EVE MASS Prelude 10:30 pm - Mass 11 pm / Church

CHRISTMAS DAY MASS 10:00 - 11:00 am / Church

FOREIGN & DOMESTIC MISSIONS MEETING

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CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

BIBLE 101 10:15 - 11:45 am / Parish Library

HEALING PRAYER SESSIONS After Mass - 9:00 & 11:00 am / Chapel

EPIPHANY PARTY 9:15 - 10:00 am / Parish Hall

DOK DISCERNMENT 9:00 - 10:00 am / Parish Library

DOK BUSINESS MEETING 6:30 - 7:00 pm / Saint John Room

WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY 7:00 - 8:30 pm / Saint John Room

MEN’S BIBLE STUDY & FELLOWSHIP MEETING 7:00 - 8:30 pm / Upper Room

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CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

CHILI CHALLENGE 6:00 - 8:00 pm / Parish Hall

BIBLE 101 10:15 - 11:45 am / Parish Library

DOK DISCERNMENT 9:00 - 10:00 am / Parish Library

VESTRY MEETING 6:30 - 8:30 pm / Parish Library

CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church


WI N T E R EV EN TS CA LE N DAR 19 20 21 21 23

BIBLE 101 VIDA JOVEN TRIP Day Event / Vida Joven de México

DOK DISCERNMENT

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HEALING PRAYER SESSIONS After Mass - 9:00 & 11:00 am / Chapel

MEN’S BIBLE STUDY & FELLOWSHIP MEETING CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

BIBLE 101 10:15 - 11:45 am / Parish Library

DOK DISCERNMENT 9:00 - 10:00 am / Parish Library

YOUTH SUNDAY 10:00 - 11:00 am / Church

ANNUAL MEETING 11:30 - 1:00 pm / Parish Hall

FOREIGN & DOMESTIC MISSIONS MEETING 6:00 - 8:00 pm / Parish Library

9:00 - 10:00 am / Parish Library

7:00 - 8:30 pm / Upper Room

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FEBRUARY

10:15 - 11:45 am / Parish Library

1 2 4 4 8 9 11 13

CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

BIBLE 101 10:15 - 11:45 am / Holy Cross

DOK DISCERNMENT 9:00 - 10:00 am / Parish Library

HEALING PRAYER SESSIONS After Mass - 9:00 & 11:00 am / Chapel

CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

BIBLE 101 10:15 - 11:45 am / Holy Cross

MITE CAN OUTREACH KICKOFF 9:15 - 10:00 am / Parish Hall

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VESTRY MEETING 6:30 - 8:30 pm / Parish Library

CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

BIBLE 101 10:15 - 11:45 am / Holy Cross

STATIONS OF THE CROSS 5:30 - 6:00 pm / Church

CONFESSIONS 4:00 - 5:00 pm / Chapel

YOUTH SUNDAY 10:00 - 11:00 am / Church

MEN’S BIBLE STUDY & FELLOWSHIP MEETING 7:00 - 8:30 pm / Upper Room

DOK DISCERNMENT 9:00 - 10:00 am / Parish Library

SHROVE TUESDASY PANCAKE SUPPER 6:00 - 8:30 pm / Parish Library

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ASH WEDNESDAY 8:00 am, 12:00 pm, 5:30 pm / Chapel

CHOIR REHEARSAL 7:00 - 9:00 pm / Church

BIBLE 101 10:15 - 11:45 am / Holy Cross

STATIONS OF THE CROSS 5:30 - 6:00 pm / Church

CONFESSIONS 4:00 - 5:00 pm / Chapel

HEALING PRAYER SESSIONS After Mass - 9:00 & 11:00 am / Chapel

Schedule is subject to change. For current listings visit stmbts.org or contact the Parish Office at 760-729-8901.


da

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Chri st our

a festival of

Lessons & Carols Sunday, December 17th Prelude 3:40 pm / Service 4:00 pm Carol Singing, Scripture Reading, & Holiday Cheer!


CHRISTMAS COME LET US

ADORE HIM CHRISTMAS EVE Family Mass 4:30 pm Prelude 10:30 pm Candlelit Mass 11:00 pm

CHRISTMAS DAY Mass

10:00 am


KNOW

GOD Deepen your relationship with the Holy Trinity Explore the Ancient Faith Experience The Catechumenate

Begins Wednesday, March 7th! 6:30 - 8:30 pm

LEARN MORE & REGISTER 8

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stmbts.org/catechumenate 2 0 1 7 The New Creation Issue

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NEW CREATION FR. DORAN STAMBAUGH

The community at St. Michael’s has welcomed a number of new babies into the church family in recent months. Thanks be to God, these physical births are accompanied by their spiritual birth through the Sacrament of Baptism. It is a simple yet profound parallel to view the spiritual life through the lens of human development. We emerge from the womb pint-sized and helpless. We depend on loving caregivers to provide nourishment, protection, and guidance. As we grow older, we begin to explore and enjoy our growing independence. As adults, we realize just how wondrous and overwhelming life can be. In the same way that the conception of a child is the very beginning of a new life, so it is with our birth in Christ. In truth, when we emerge from the font of baptism, we experience a similar progression. Baptism is not the end — or even the ends — of the spiritual life, but merely the beginning! In our spiritual infancy, we depend on faithful

caregivers. As we age we explore our independence and the extent of our will. As we confront our mortality, the mystery and wonder of the spiritual life reveals its utmost dimension. In the pages ahead, two St. Michael’s families share their stories of new creation. And as is the case with the spiritual life, these experiences are not without challenge or hardship. I pray that these accounts will inspire thanksgiving for the gift of God’s new creation in this world. As we witness the growth and maturity of these children in the church community, may we be inspired in our spiritual life to “grow into the full stature of Christ” (BCP 302).

Photos: “Theotokos” “Eleusa” (Merciful) egg tempera, gold leaf on wood, sm 32x24; http://stmbts.com/2jjSnYr

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MIRACLE FROM HEAVEN ERICA MARTIN

George Eliot Martin was born on October 1st and we praised God for a healthy baby boy! When the doctor told me that it was time for George to make his appearance I cried because I couldn’t believe I was going to meet my son. It is a privilege and sacred gift to participate with the Creator in bringing a new life into the world, but even more valuable is the new spiritual life that he cultivated in me through that process. Almost exactly a year before George’s birth we lost a baby due to miscarriage. After years of infertility that were broken up by the birth of our daughter, that miscarriage impressed upon me, once again, that a healthy baby is truly a miracle. Although I tried my best to overcome it, I spent a lot of my pregnancy with George being anxious that I would lose him. And we did have a couple scary moments where I thought that I might. In response to my anxiety I had to constantly remind myself that God is the giver of all things and they are given for my good. And of all the things that he gives, his greatest gift is Christ, the anchor for my soul. I knew that I was not guaranteed to meet my sweet boy, but I was promised that Jesus would never leave me. I was not always successful in defeating my anxiety. Honestly, I had several moments where I informed the Lord that if something happened to George that I would not be able to overcome it (as if he didn’t know what I was feeling). I’m grateful that in those moments he met me with grace and peace. I know I will continue to need heavenly grace and peace as I try to hold both of my children with an open hand, rather than a clenched fist. For me, parenthood is an exercise in releasing control and trusting that whatever he gives, Jesus will carry me.

Left Photo: Kyle, Erica, and Savoy Martin; Photo taken by Salt Light and Avo Photography. Right Photo: Erica, and Savoy with baby George.

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MY LIGHT & VICTORY OLIVIA CUSCINO

I wasn’t supposed to have children. I had been told a number of times by different doctors that I probably would never be able to have children, or that it would be very expensive for me to conceive. But, I wanted children in my future. Regardless of the odds, I just hoped, prayed, and believed that one day I would be able to become a mother. Between then and now, along the way I was fortunate enough to meet my husband, Curt. When we were still living in Los Angeles, we were shocked and surprised one day to find out that we were pregnant with our first. We weren’t even trying, though we had discussed the mutual desire to create a family, because there is nothing better to live for! What a gift Luca is, and his brother Nico too! Parenthood has really changed both of our lives for the better…we wouldn’t have it any other way. We didn’t take naming our children lightly, and we didn’t flip through books with the latest trends on baby names to find what’s “hot” at this moment in history. Instead, my husband and I wanted to approach it by making sure each of our sons’ names had multiple layers of meaning, with an ode to each of our ethnic heritages too. Definitely a tall order, right?

Luca Enrique Cuscino Nico Thomas Cuscino No one ever said being a parent was easy. But no matter what, my days are filled with joy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I find myself overwhelmed with love and gratitude. Going through this process and having both of our children has truly strengthened my faith in God. Things aren’t always easy in life, but having these two little bundles of joy and already seeing their own unique characters develop makes all the other worries of the world fade to the background. God blessed me with the ability to co-create these incredible little human beings and they are truly such a gift. For they are my Light, and my Victory.

Left Photos clockwise: Newborn baby Nico Cuscino with brother Luca; Nico Cuscino; Luca Cuscino. Right Photo: Nico Cuscino.

There’s a lot in a name. We wanted each of our sons to have something they could grow into, embody, embrace, and be proud of as they become their own men, one day at a time. For our first son, we chose the name Luca, which means “light” or “Bringer of Light,” essentially in Italian. For our second, we chose the name Nico, which means “victory or “victorious people.” We loved this name as it flows well with Luca’s -- Yes, there was the increased criteria of rhythm when putting the names together. The meaning behind “Nico” also allowed me to name him after my Grandmother Victoria who basically raised me. Each of their middle names are significant too, as they serve as odes to their great grandfather and grandfather respectively, who are both great, loving men.

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SENIOR WARDEN’S REPORT TONY VANARIA

In keeping with the theme of “New Creation” for our Winter Messenger, I would like to comment upon a few items that I feel highlight the importance of this theme, one for the entire parish and one for me, personally. First, I wish to comment upon our rental property initiative. Truly, it will be a new creation. As you know, we are in negotiations with Carlsbad By-The-Sea (CBTS) for a potential long-term (50 year) lease of our rental property in order to construct a memory care unit. Presently, CBTS has no such capability and they actively are seeking 14

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a site upon which to build one. Our present standing in this process includes negotiations with CBTS and Front Porch Community. We have also met with the Diocese in order to ensure that all are sharing the same information as the initiative moves forward. I project that we will soon be formally engaging the city. Secondly, and on a personal note, this past July, I shared in the St. Michael’s quarterly visit to Vida Joven in Tijuana. Vida Joven is wonderful home for children who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected. As Fa l l Me s s e n ge r

2016

it was my first visit, I did not know what to expect. What I found was a loving, caring environment with the most joyful children imaginable. My words here cannot possibly do justice to the care that is being provided there. On my van ride back across the border, I was already planning my next visit. I now have been making monthly trips to Vida Joven and through our Lord’s grace, have been inspired to sponsor one of the children: Yaline. Yaline is a bit shy but has a smile that can absolutely melt the heart of this crusty old retired Navy Captain! Sponsorship of Yaline

The Healing Issue

is certainly God’s work in me, I am being made a new creation. I am so looking forward to seeing her as well as all the other children on my monthly visits. Thank you so much for letting me share this! I pray that all of you have a wonderful and reflective Advent, and the most Merry Christmas!

Photo: Vida Joven mural of Saint Mary.


HOME NEW TO ST. MICHAEL’S? INTERESTED IN BECOMING A MEMBER? Exploring the Sacraments of BAPTISM, MARRIAGE, or FIRST HOLY COMMUNION?

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! stmbts.org/membership

DEATHS

BIRTHS

YOLANDA YOUNG

AILA HERMANSON

AUGUST 5, 1930 - MAY 7, 2017

AUGUST 24, 2017

STUART LEONARD

GEORGE MARTIN

SEPTEMBER 12, 1932 - AUGUST 6, 2017

DELBERT JENSEN

BAPTISMS

JANUARY 18, 1933 - AUGUST 25, 2017

ALBERT THOMAS

MICHAEL WILLIAMS

OCTOBER 29, 2017

JULY 19, 1956 - OCTOBER 5, 2017

AILA HERMANSON

KEITH BEVERLY

NOVEMBER 5, 2017

AUGUST 29, 1951 - OCTOBER 16, 2017

OCTOBER 1, 2017

LANDON MILLER OCTOBER 20, 2017


Invitation to the

DISCERNMENT PROGRAM Starting Sunday, January 7th 9:00 - 10:00 am Six consective Sundays

In an intimate atmosphere, explore opportunities for prayer, service and evangelism with fellow sisters in Christ. For more information contact the Daughters at dok@stmbts.org. Register at stmbts.com/dokdiscern


A P R I L S L H A

CHALLENGE

FRIDAY, January 12TH 6:00 - 8:00 PM in the parish hall

BRING FRIENDS AND A HEALTHY APPETITE! RSVP FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILI AT: STMBTS.COM/CHILIRSVP


HAPPY BIRTHDAY DECEMBER Ruth Robinson Leo Quarfoot Vicki Wright Ginny Unanue Eric Groschup Christine Lucas Barbara Vail Scott Cramer Patricia Kanehailua Millie Kerr Alma Sisco-Smith Sandra Yaros Brooke Gleason Rick Adams Sue Fahey Rick Lengerke Janette Havens LuAnn Sweet Maria Lengerke Arianne Leigh Greg Gleason

1 1 4 5 7 9 11 11 13 14 18 19 22 23 24 24 26 27 28 29 31

FEBRUARY

JANUARY Ron Evans Katie McAleavey Bill Norton Besty Stambaugh James Bennett Nicole Kardas Caroline Loomis Joan Noble James Tomes Ron Smeltzer Mary Boland-Doyle Savoy Martin Oriole McLean Sue Bannan Jeremy Brockmeier Frances Michaels Patricia Jones Kristi de Merlier Tim Baxter Ardath Browne-Farmer David Harr Vic Freudenberger

4 6 6 7 7 7 9 12 12 14 16 17 18 19 20 22 25 25 25 27 27 31

Gerald Kirtley Nedra Grabowsky Malcolm Tomes Rocco Jara Sandy Stinson Kim Speak Virginia Brohard Allen Sweet Kristen Harr David Hoppen Dottie Conner John Meyers Kathleen Ables James Gosnell Richard Lane Wendy Belt Lindsey Gleason Vivian Brockmeier Denise Hoey Dan Hermanson Jackie Montamble Donald Laux Cynthia Hollingsworth Christine Brookhart

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CLERGY

MINISTRY STAFF

ADMIN STAFF

OFFICE HOURS

RECTOR

ORGANIST/CHOIRMASTER

PARISH ADMINISTRATOR

TUESDAY - FRIDAY

The Rev. Doran Stambaugh, SSC frdoran@stmbts.org

Richard Lane dick@stmbts.org

Linda Mumford linda@stmbts.org

9:00 - 2:00 pm

ASSOCIATE PRIEST

CHILDREN’S MINISTER

PARISH RECORDS

The Rev. H. Ivor Kraft frkraft@stmbts.org

Becky Gleason becky@stmbts.org

Ginny Unanue ginny@stmbts.org

PASTORAL EMERGENCIES

ASSISTANT FOR PASTORAL CARE

SOUL YOUTH MINISTER

COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR

Dial 760.729.8901

Chris Craig-Jones chris@stmbts.org

Adeline McKinley adeline@stmbts.org

Megan Stanton megan@stmbts.org


PARTY Sunday, January 7th 9:15 am in the Parish Hall

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Celebrate historical and cultural traditions of Epiphany through collaborative crafts and activities!

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ST. MICHAEL’S BY-THE-SEA

C H I L D R E N ’ S M I N I S T RY

Dwe ll i n g i n Hi s L ove . S e r v i n g i n Hi s C hu rc h .

KIDMIN WINTER SCHEDULE 12/03

12/24 1/07

9:15 am A Visit from St. Nicholas *

1/28

4:30 pm

Christmas Pageant

9:15 am Epiphany Party * 10:00 am

Youth Sunday

2/13

6:00 pm Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper *

2/18

9:15 am Mite Can Outreach Begins *

2/25

10:00 am

Youth Sunday

* Denotes Intergenerational Christian Formation in Parish Hall. Intentional togetherness in mutual sharing, serving, and learning!

VBS SAVE THE DATE Monday - Friday June 25th – 29th, 2018 Registration begins Easter


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BEING MADE NEW BECKY GLEASON

Kids play hard, and sometimes they get banged up. The crazy part is that we stick a Band-Aid on a skinned knee and, in a week or two, they’re just fine. Bruises fade, new skin grows to cover cuts and scrapes. Their bodies are constantly growing, healing, and changing – they are constantly being made new. From the moment we are conceived, we begin to grow and change. In fact, God knows us even before he forms us in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5). Thus, we are part of God’s creation before we even enter this world. From our first moments, we embark on a journey filled with excitement and challenges, and everything in between. All along the way, we have opportunities to see God at work in our lives: healing us, helping us to grow, and ultimately making us a new creation in Him. In our childhoods, we navigate a world filled with unknowns. At first, we struggle to simply focus our eyes on the things in our immediate surroundings. We learn how to hold our heads up, roll over, and crawl. Eventually, after months of trying, we begin walking. At each stage, we as adults get front-row seats to witness God’s creative force in humanity. When we observe children, the ways in which they change appear to be obvious. An infant becomes a toddler, who becomes a preschooler… who is suddenly ten years old! These physical changes are often paired with outward signs of spiritual growth and renewal. Their conversations about God reveal a growing understanding of a rich, complex faith. Children may be baptized or receive communion for the first time. These acts mark important milestones as children are received into the family of God. It’s not as simple with adults. The developmental process doesn’t end in childhood; however, as we age,

we have less propensity to witness spiritual renewal in relationship with physical renewal. Yet, even when we reach adulthood, our souls are still so often navigating the spiritual world as infants. We are still learning to focus our eyes on the things in our immediate surroundings. We are still learning to hold our heads up, and we are taking baby-steps in our faith. The good news is that each time we come close to God in prayer, we grow in faith. Each time we welcome Christ into our hearts at communion, we experience Christ’s love in a tangible way. Each time we confess our sins to God and our neighbor, our souls are cleansed. We, as children of God, are growing a little more every day. Though the changes may seem more subtle or more difficult to observe, they are no less important. Rather, they bring life-giving healing and growth to our souls – we are constantly being made new. By observing the children in our lives, and in our church family, we see God the Creator at work in the physical world. In those moments, let us be reminded of the spiritual renewal that is taking place in each of us, regardless of our age. Just as a scraped knee heals, our souls heal. The old is replaced by the new. The Band-Aid comes off, and the scar that is left behind reminds us of the transformation and change we have undergone. We are no longer who we once were: we are a new creation! So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Photo: Children playing hopscotch at a St. Michale’s Vida Joven visit.

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MITE CAN OUTREACH KICK-OFF Sunday, February 18th 9:15 am in the Parish Hall Receive and decorate a donation can while learning more about 9-year-old Diana and the orphanage she calls home. Funds raised during Lent will support her home, Vida Joven de México. INTERGENERATIONAL EVENTS

During the Lenten season drop off new socks and underwear in the Parish Hall. Donations will be distributed through Bread of Life Rescue Mission. DRIVE SPONSORED BY FOREIGN & DOMESTIC MISSIONS


SHROVE TUESDAY PANCAKE SUPPER

FEBRUARY 13TH 6:00 - 8:30 pm in the parish hall

This traditional supper is a long-standing Lenten discipline practiced prior to Ash Wednesday. All are welcome to come join the feast! Sponsored by The Brotherhood of St. Andrew & the daughers of the king


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RAFT’S CORNER

JOY TO THE WORLD FR. IVOR KRAFT

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In 1991 the Soviet Union, rightly called an “Evil Empire” by President Reagan, dissolved without a shot being fired. The collapse of the USSR remains the most remarkable, unexpected and utterly amazing event of my life. But now I often think about the fact that a person needs to be thirty-five or forty years old to even remember that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics existed, much less how many millions of people it enslaved and murdered during the seventyfour years of its existence. I often ponder its dissolution and offer prayers of thanksgiving to our Lord for its demise. Its disappearance is a cause for joy. In the 1960s we all believed the Soviet Union would be around for centuries. Many people in the U.S. believed that socialism, of which the Soviet Union was the standard bearer, was superior to capitalism and would defeat us. It did not, but much of what it stood for has triumphed despite its failure, for at the heart Marxism is a rabid atheism, a violent hatred of the God of Jesus Christ and the Church, which is the Body, Bride and Temple. In our own nation, Christianity - the faith of the overwhelming majority of its citizens - has been effectively banished from public life. All the Christian symbols and traditions that once marked and shaped our national life have been outlawed, suppressed and disappeared. What we’ve been left with is what the theologian and public intellectual Richard John Neuhaus famously called the “the naked public square”.

Every morning every Home Room teacher in my public high school, and all the public schools of Pennsylvania, read a passage from the Bible after which we all said The Lord’s Prayer. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and our nation, was nearly two hundred years old when, lo and behold, the Supreme Court “discovered”, to our amazement, that such goings on were “unconstitutional”. Not too many years later they “discovered” in that same constitution a guaranteed universal right to abort one’s child. These “discoveries” are not unrelated.

Christmas” without really thinking about it. It was just what you said at Christmastime. Today saying “Merry Christmas” is a declaration of faith. Christmas gives us a chance to share our faith with strangers. Among them are salespeople who, in my experience, seem cowed into wishing us a “Happy Holiday”. We have an opportunity to respond by saying “Merry Christmas”, which in my own case has led to some very interesting conversations. I’ve never had someone respond negatively and sometimes people smile knowingly and say, “Yes, Merry Christmas”.

An important part of the erasure of Christianity from our national life is the War on Christmas. You may not have heard about this war because those who have been so strenuously waging it deny that it exists. Christmas, they would have us believe, vanished of its own accord, replaced by a “holiday” which cannot be named. “Happy Holidays” has become the greeting of choice among the Cultural Marxists and their witting and unwitting accomplices in both government and commerce.

Christmas is coming and in our increasingly Godless society Christmas presents us with an opportunity to witness to Jesus Christ our Lord and God. The erasure of Christmas from public life has created an opportunity for a genuine sharing of our faith and the joy that comes with it. Joy is the key to an effective witness to our Lord and a joyful “Merry Christmas” is a precious gift we can give to everyone and anyone.

Just as you need to be forty or fifty years old to remember the Soviet Union and the Cold War, you need to be fifty or sixty to remember when Christmas was a much loved and integral part of our national life. It remains a legal holiday - but for how long? Who remembers San Diego’s much loved “Christmas on the Prado”? It has now become “December Nights” which celebrates . . . nothing.

I wish you all a most Blessed and Joyous Christmas!

Photo: Plastic Christmas from Holiday at Legoland.

And because of all of this, Christmas now provides us with an opportunity to share our faith. Years ago when everyone knew and acknowledged just what “holiday” was being celebrated everyone said “Merry

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The New Creation Issue

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Messenger - Winter 2017  
Messenger - Winter 2017  
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