December 24, 2015—A View from the Rectory

From my rectory window, the seasons change, but your goodness is constant. In my View, I often reference ‘our parish family’. During this season of Advent I have witnessed anew some of the best of our ‘family’ traditions.

Again, this year for Thanksgiving, our Saint Casimir Thrift Shop provided complete meals for 120 families and the Church of the Resurrection Food Pantry did the same for approximately 100 families. The parishioners of Saint Casimir Church coordinated with Holy Family Parish, Sewell, to support two Giving Trees that provide Christmas gifts for children in our Woodbine community.

Our Knights of Columbus (9113) and the Women’s Auxiliary continued their Feed the Needy Project that began in 1986, and has continued every year since, to assist families in need at Christmas. Approximately 180 families are included in the special deliveries each year, the Saturday before Christmas. Included in this special delivery is a Christmas morning breakfast and a full dinner for Christmas day.  

It is our parishioners who volunteer to make deliveries to each home. Additionally, the Knights coordinate with the Cape May County Toys for Tots to provide gifts for all the children. Some of our students in our Parish Religious Education Program will assist the Knights in choosing appropriate gifts.

On Christmas day, members of the Knights of Columbus, and their families, will go to the Covenant House in Atlantic City bearing gifts and serving meals.

What is most encouraging to me is not only these traditions of service that endure, but in a particular way, to note the traditions of service beginning through our younger parishioners. During Advent, our students made sandwiches for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission, they made Christmas cards for those in the nursing home and they went Christmas caroling to home-bound parishioners.

Perhaps the best of all traditions is that Christmas has a way of bringing to Church individuals and families who, for various reasons, have not been to Mass or the Sacraments for months or years. What a wonderful and grace-filled opportunity to put aside past differences and old habits and begin anew that prayerful relationship with the Lord and His Church community. I extend to all of you an open, grateful heart of welcome.

May our Lord Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, bless you, your families and loved ones at this blessed time of hope and grace. May Mary, the Mother of the Child Jesus and our Mother, watch over you and our Parish Family of Saint Maximilian Kolbe always.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Fr. Pete