Membership Sunday 2020 Collection on February 2

Dear Friends of the Missions,

On the weekend of February 2, we will have a special opportunity to share in the mission of God’s people through participation in the Membership appeal of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

The theme this year is One Family in Mission.  It calls to mind the essential nature of the Church as the people of God on mission to bring Christ to the whole world. Essentially, the Church exists not to aid those in material need, but to bring all people into communion with God, through Christ, and into the fullness of the Kingdom. One of the ways the Church fulfills this mandate is through membership in the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Your membership will help mission priests, religious and catechists who count on our loving and prayerful ongoing assistance as they serve their sisters and brothers day by day.

Seeds of Humility

Many, many years ago, when I was a novice, our novice directress decided to take a day off. She asked us to pack up a picnic basket and blankets and enjoy the day outside.

We left the Motherhouse, journeyed to the other side of our property, spread out the blankets and enjoyed cheese, crackers and grapes. I noticed that one of the novices peeled her grapes before she ate them. Quite naïvely I asked, “Is that a Vietnamese custom?” She laughed and said, “No, I do this for two reasons. I dislike the bitter taste of the skins and, for, well, a spiritual reason!” She held up a skinless grape and continued, “See this grape? Look through its flesh and you can view the seed in the middle of it. Suppose that the seed was alive. It would only know the reality of its existence as far as it could ‘see,’ which wouldn’t be far because it was in complete darkness before it was peeled. By taking off the skin, it experiences a new reality – one that has not only light but shape.” “O-kaay,” I answered. She went on, “The skin represents our sinfulness and imperfections. Through the grace of God, sin and imperfections are peeled away, giving us a new existence and a new perspective. The exposed meat of the grape represents the virtues, particularly humility and trust.”

Respect Life Mass Highlights Sanctity of All Human Life

“I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.” These words spoken by John the Baptist and recorded in the Gospel of John, 1:34, leave no doubt to listeners as to our Lord’s parentage. These words were also appropriate for the annual Diocesan Respect Life Mass, held on Sunday, Jan. 19 at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Camp Hill.

Bishop Ronald Gainer, homilist and celebrant of the Mass, explained to those gathered from throughout the Diocese, that these words spoken by John the Baptist as our Lord approached the River Jordan made him think of another Biblical story where John gives testament that Jesus is the Son of God.

Sisters of Mercy Mark 150 Years in Diocese of Harrisburg

In September, the Religious Sisters of Mercy marked their 150th year in the Diocese of Harrisburg. With just six community members currently serving within the Diocese, one might say, “No need for fanfare.” Yet, in response to their fourth vow of service to those who are poor, sick, and in need of education, for 150 years the Sisters of Mercy have touched the lives of students, families, orphans, immigrants, refugees – generations of people within the Diocese. There is a story to be told.

Building Homes and Building Community

Faith, fellowship and two-by-fours are all combining in York to provide new, affordable housing for 14 families, while building community and residents and different faiths. A joint project between Habitat for Humanity and several area churches, including St. Joseph Parish, the Faith Build is bringing together congregations in order to work on Habitat projects. The 2019 build will not only provide housing for families in need, but it will also be one step in revitalizing the local community and building community between residents, Habitat and the various faith communities.

“Habitat believes that there are many partners, mostly the neighbors, that are required in order to have true community transformation. We’re not here just to make things look better or operate better; we’re here to create a sense of community between businesses, the individuals in this neighborhood and Habitat,” said Tammie Morris, executive director with York Habitat for Humanity. A Christian organization, Habitat is building more than homes through this project, Morris explained.

Posada Tradition Celebrated in Harrisburg

Good food, music, prayers and a focus on the Christmas story were all experienced in the days leading up to Christmas through Las Posadas. A tradition in Mexico and several other central and south American countries, this event commemorates the journey of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph in searching for a place to stay in Bethlehem.

“It is a tradition that comes from Mexico and starts on the 16th of December. There are nine Posadas that end on the night before the baby Jesus was born (Christmas Eve). Every one represents the nine months that Mary was pregnant,” said Angie Casanova, one of the Posada travelers who participated in the tradition in Harrisburg.

Good Shepherd Student Project Sends Care Packages to Military Personnel

A student service project that began in the fall at Good Shepherd School in Camp Hill culminated in boxes of personal care items and snacks for military personnel in time for Christmas.

In September, sixth-graders decided on the project of sending care packages to members of Good Shepherd families who are deployed. The school distributed flyers to ask for donations, and each grade was encouraged to collect specific items for the packages.

‘Where Feet May Fail and Fear Surrounds Me’

Seven days before Christmas, the Trinity High School Choir, under the direction of Caroline Jarrett, performed several powerfully poignant Christmas melodies for inmates at the Cumberland County Prison. This year marked the third year that the choir performed its program, “The Choral Works of Mercy” – an idea Jarrett envisioned after being inspired by the mercy teachings of Pope Francis.

“It is the most wonderful concert of the year for us,” Jarrett said. “It matters so much to us because we are doing the Lord’s work and sharing our music for the right reasons.”