We welcomed 31,988 congregants into Our Lady of Peace Church and the Notre Dame de Lourdes worship site for the Sundays and Holy Days of 2023. This number represents an increase of 6,025 from 2022, an increase in Church attendance of 23.2%. We have had at least 500 participants at 44 of our Sunday Masses this year, compared with 13 Sunday Masses for 2022. In an era of declining Mass attendance, exacerbated by the pandemic, nearly a quarter percent increase in Mass participation is outstanding. Thank you for all that you do to encourage people to worship with us and most importantly for drawing them into a deeper relationship with God. Blessings upon our sextons, Elizabeth, and George, and for our usher, Bob, for counting us each Sunday.
The Feast of the Baptism of The Lord will be on Monday, 8 January. This celebration brings the Christmas season to a close. On this day it may be fitting to reflect upon your own Baptism. Where were you baptized? When were you baptized? You were baptized by whom? Who are your godparents? Why were they chosen? What spiritual relationship do you have / have you had with your godparents?
The following is a prayer of blessing for the baptized.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I dedicated you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) May God, in whose presence our ancestors walked, bless you. May God, who has been your shepherd from birth until now, keep you. May God, who saves you from all harm, give you peace. Amen.
This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. The visit of the Magi to the newborn King is recorded in the Gospel According to St. Matthew. Traditionally the Magi are named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. In respect of the visit of the Magi, the entrance to a house is often signed with the initials of their names plus the number of the current year – such as C + M + B + 2024. Other customs include placing a Christmas card featuring the Magi over the entrance of your home.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers a Blessing of a Home for Epiphany.
Let us praise God, who fills our hearts and homes with peace. Response: Blessed be God who lives forever.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling place among us. It is Christ who enlightens our hearts and homes with his love. May all who enter this home find Christ’s light and love. (The text of Luke 19:1-9 is proclaimed).
The Son of God made his home among us. With thanks and praise let us call upon him. Response: Stay with us, Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, with Mary and Joseph you formed the Holy Family: remain in our home, that we may know you as our guest and honor you as our Head.
Lord Jesus Christ, you had no place to lay your head, but in the spirit of poverty accepted the hospitality of your friends: grant that through our help the homeless may obtain proper housing.
Lord Jesus Christ, the three kings presented their gifts to you in praise and adoration: grant that those living in this house may use their talents and abilities to your greater glory.
Closing Prayer and Blessing: Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. May Christ dwell with us, keep us from harm, and make us one in mind and heart, now and forever. Amen.