From the Pastor: Starting the New Year with Holy Activities
The New Year begins with a bang this week. Not the celebratory fireworks which are sure to be exploding every night, but rather with holy activities in our parish and diocese. We begin with Fr. Dorvil’s Birthday, which falls on the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, January 1. Happy Birthday to a very holy priest! Many of you don’t know him, even though he lives at Epiphany, since he is in charge of the Immaculate Conception Haitian Mission and celebrates Mass for his flock every Sunday at St. Peter Claver. If you don’t come around during the week, you might never get a chance to meet him, which is a sad loss on your part. He is truly a blessed priest with whom it is a great pleasure to live.
Next comes my nephew Barret’s birthday. You might not know him, either, but he will probably be thrilled to find out that his name made it into the church bulletin. He is the nephew that looks and acts almost exactly like me when I was a young boy, which is to say that he is extremely good looking, very intelligent, quite athletic, humble beyond measure, and almost angelic in nearly every way. Forget all those exaggerated stories my mom always regals you with about my younger years, or the ones my sister will tell about her youngest son. (I might be the only one in the family who doesn’t ever spin yarns or tell tall tales.) Barret and I both came from the womb already wearing halos.
Only three days into the new year we have a big prayerful event, the Vespers Service for our new Bishop, Gregory Parkes, at 7:00 pm on Tuesday night at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Lutz. Everyone is invited to this evening prayer service and no ticket is required for entrance. The address is 17512 Lakeshore Rd, Lutz, FL 33558. If you cannot make it to St. Timothy, you may watch it live on the diocesan webpage, www.dosp.org, or listen to it on the diocesan radio station, FM 90.5, or on the radio station’s webpage, www.myspiritfm.com/. The next day, Wednesday, January 4, Bishop Parkes will be officially installed as our new Bishop at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle. Tickets are necessary to attend this installation Mass and the meager few we were allotted have been given out. Please don’t feel left out if you were not offered one, as there were only ten to go around. You may listen to this installation Mass on the diocesan radio station or webpage as listed above, or watch it on television, as it will be available locally on the following channels: by antenna – 38; Spectrum/Brighthouse – 6 (Standard Def), 1006 (High Def); Frontier/Fios/Verizon – 14 (Standard Def), 514 (High Def); DirectTV – 38; Dish – 38; Comcast – 435. We have not had a new Bishop installed in over twenty years and you may not have been around for it, so this is a big event. Bishop Parkes is only 52 years old, so he may be our Bishop for another twenty or so years, and you may not be around for the next one, either, so don’t take this installation too lightly!
A mere two days later we come to our Parish Feast Day, Epiphany of Our Lord, January 6! This is the “real” Epiphany date marking the traditional coming of the Wise Men to worship the infant Jesus. The Novus Ordo (New Mass) liturgical calendar makes it a changeable date and places Epiphany on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8 (inclusive), so this year it falls on January 8. We don’t have an English Novus Ordo Mass on the 8th, so our calendar is really messed up. Most of our Epiphany Masses will be on Friday, January 6. There will be three Masses from which to choose: a 6:30 am Traditional Latin Epiphany Mass, an 8:00 am Traditional Latin Epiphany Mass (followed by confessions and Adoration) and a 6:00 pm Traditional Latin Epiphany Mass (which will be followed by a potluck dinner). I expect the 6:00 pm Mass will be the big one and invite you all to come to it, regardless of which Mass you usually attend! Then on Saturday, January 7th, which is not Epiphany on any calendar at all this year, the 5:00 pm Vigil Mass will be an Epiphany Mass, since it is the “anticipated” Sunday Mass. O, how I long for the day when we will only have one liturgical calendar to follow!
So mark your calendars! We start this new year running full steam ahead. Be sure you pray a lot for our new bishop and continue praying for the sanctification of our outgoing bishop as well. Both need your prayers as one takes the weight of the Diocese off of his shoulders and passes the burden to the other. May God be merciful to both!
With prayers for your holiness,
Fr. Edwin Palka