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Blessings on this Feast of the Epiphany.

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Greetings OLP Parish. The prophet Isaiah reminds us today that “Nations shall walk by your light.” Thank you for your very generous support of our Christmas Giving Tree initiative which benefitted St. John’s Hospice. A truck from the Hospice collected your donations shortly before Christmas. They nearly needed a larger truck to store all your donations. Thank you for making this Christmas season bright for so many. Thanks also to our Church decorators. Both OLP and our worship site at Notre Dame looked spectacular, welcoming, and inspirational.

         This new year is an opportune time to see where we have been as a parish community and where we hope to be in this New Year.

         Physical Plant:

         Our Parish Center at OLP is experiencing a makeover inside and out. Inside, the Parish Center is having its upper level of the gymnasium painted. We chose a paradoxically named color – tornado – it is a medium gray, to serve as a complement to the blue of the lower level. The fact that I am an alumnus of St. James Catholic High School for Boys – hooray the blue and gray – may have also influenced this palette. Before the painting we were able to repair some water damage to windows. These windows will also receive some tender loving care with the arrival of new shades which will be beneficial to keep the direct sunlight out during basketball games and to enhance the environment during our Drama Club performances. Finally, the ceiling tiles in the parish center have been replaced to give the interior of the building a very fresh, smart new look. Indeed, it is a Happy New Year.

         Work continues in the second meeting room. The room has been painted and other improvements to the space are well under way. The final touch to the room will be the addition of the television set dedicated in memory of Kevin Lyons.

         Exteriorly, the entrances to the Parish Center will be enhanced by new railings. These railings will be installed at the front entrance off Milmont Avenue as well as a railing addition to the side entrance at the parking lot. 

Funding for both exterior and interior enhancements are made possible by a coordinated effort of the Drama Club and Parish Improvements.

         Additionally, we are exploring lighting enhancement at the Notre Dame worship site, most especially the driveway that parallels Fairview Road. On this feast of the Epiphany, we pray that we may be guided to that perfect light.

         Liturgical Enhancements:

       Communion under both Species:

         The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has green lighted the distribution of Holy Communion under both species. This was our practice at OLP prior to the pandemic so it is our desire to reinstitute this. However, this being cold/flu season now is probably not the most opportune time. Therefore, on 6 April at our Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper we will offer communion under both species – The Most Blessed Sacrament and The Most Precious Blood of The Lord. 

         Saturday Morning Mass:

         Our Parish, and our school are dedicated under the Patronage of Our Lady and Saturday is the traditional day to honor the Blessed Mother. For this reason, Saturday morning Mass will resume on Saturday, 11 February, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes. This Mass, and the subsequent Saturday morning Masses will be celebrated at the Notre Dame worship site at 8:30 a.m.

         Next Generation Parish:

         Our first meeting of the envisioning team for our Next Generation Parish (NGP) initiative will be on Wednesday, 18 January. NGP is funded and sponsored by the Catholic Leadership Institute based in Malvern. Envisioning is the second of four stages of the NGP initiative. The preparation phase was completed in the Autumn of 2022. The implementation and assessment phases will follow.

         The goal of the envisioning phase is strategic discernment of a mutually shared vision for our parish. This mutual vision will then cascade into three defined pastoral priorities that will direct the parish’s foundational ministries.

         The envisioning team will be commissioned at Sunday Masses in January, and they will meet every three weeks through April.

         Thanks for all that you do, through the grace of God, to share the mutual vision of Our Lady of Peace parish. Blessings abundantly –

Fr. Joe

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