As I write this letter to you the Church on this day (Wednesday) celebrates the Solemnity of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a day of joy and hope. It marks the beginning of God’s promise to fulfill His promise to rescue humanity from the ravages of sin.

The Angel Gabriel announces, “Hail full of grace! The Lord is with you.”  Because Mary says yes to the rest of his message we are now beneficiaries of that grace and can know that the Lord is indeed with us!

In these trying times what a blessing that is for us. We can have hope because God is still blessing us with His grace. We can look for joy because He promises to remain with us.

Just as the Angel tells Mary not to be afraid, we can let those same words wash over us. God loves us and God’s perfect love casts out all fear so the First Letter of John tells us. Therefore let us not be afraid nor worry throughout this time of quarantine, rather let us find joy in knowing we have God’s grace and love to see us through whatever may happen.

Remember too, this Sunday’s Gospel is the recounting of the raising of Lazarus. Another clear sign of hope in trying times. Our God will call us out of any darkness into His light and love.

Be Safe and Well,

Fr Tom

Dear Friends in Christ at Holy Spirit and St. Helen’s,

If you ever wondered what is Advent all about, you need only to look at today’s Gospel reading from St. Luke. What a touching story about two women, both are pregnant, both are filled with the Holy Spirit, though they are far apart in years both are new to this whole experience of being with child.

The interplay between these two faith filled women speaks to the experience in which each of us are invited every Advent season. They recognize the God is at work in their very bodies. The Holy Spirit is stirring them into action. Joy is expressed and a sense of completeness pervades their encounter. They trusted that the Lord’s word to them would be fulfilled. They said yes and accepted God’s request that they allow God to work through them to make our world a better place.

Christmas is just days away. Are we ready? Have we truly prepared ourselves to receive the gift of God’s Son into our lives? Are we willing to be interments of God’s grace to the world in which we live? Christmas is far more than presents under a tree. It is more an exchange of cards, gifts and well wishes. Are we willing to embrace the full meaning of Christmas allowing ourselves to be infused with the grace and love that Mary and Elizabeth exchanged during their brief visit?

You see Advent is all about searching for the joy God wishes to share with us. It is about our efforts to welcome God into our lives so that God’s grace can act within us. Advent is about vigilance in making provisions to assist others who are in need. Advent is about the energy we radiate to bring Christmas closer to ourselves but even importantly to others.

We do have a few more days. We can be ready to welcome the Christ into our lives. We can come together like Mary and Elizabeth to celebrate the work God has begun in us.

May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas! May the Angels blessings of peace, become a source of joy for you!!!

Fr. Tom