What is Your New Year’s Resolution?

Cantor Jackie Pollack and Music Director Cheryl Duerr asked me that question at the end of the 10 a.m. Mass on New Year’s Day. In my Advent and Christmas homilies, I suggested that parishioners think of three things to be grateful for at the end of every day, and I told them I had resolved to continue to do that every day of the new year. How about you? Did you make a new year’s resolution?

Many Catholics resolve to pray more in the new year. In a year-end article for America Media, entitled, “Resolving to pray more in 2022? Here are 5 tips for following through,” Fr. James Martin, S.J. tries to help people follow through with their resolution.

First, he says, Pray Less. That might sound contradictory, but Fr. Martin says people often make big plans for prayer, but a busy life disrupts our schedule. Martin suggests starting small with a realistic time allotment. A doable time frame helps us enjoy prayer, and then we will allot more time to it. So to pray more, start by doing less.

Next, mix it up! We can get stuck in a rut, and prayer can become monotonous. If our prayer routine has become difficult, change it. Shake things up! Try a new prayer form. If we say the Rosary and feel like we are going through the motions, consider praying Lectio Divina with Bible passages. Variety is the spice of life so add some to your prayer life.

Martin suggests we let go of what isn’t working with prayer. We can sometimes let prayer become a burden. We add so many people and their intentions to our list we have no time for our own need for prayer. It is alright to combine our intentions into one and present them to God. Martin reiterates just because something is difficult doesn’t mean to give it up. We should just not let it make prayer so burdensome we don’t want to pray. Sometimes we need to clear off parts of our prayer plate to add something even better.

Working with a spiritual director to help us discern God’s voice in our prayer is another good practice. Sometimes spiritual direction is thought to be something only priests and religious, but it is helpful for every thoughtful prayer. A trained, skilled director can help us discern how the Spirit communicates to us through prayer. Most retreat houses like Miramar in Duxbury offer staff trained in spiritual direction. You can also find a director at Spiritual Directors International.

Finally, trust God! The results aren’t all up to us. That sort of thinking is Pelagianism, one of the Church’s oldest heresies. God wants a relationship with us even more than we wish to have one with God. God seeks us out and supports us with grace to help us make our prayer relationship with God worthwhile. God is on our side to make prayer and a loving relationship work for you. Whatever you do to make your prayer life grow this year, I pray for its success.

Reverse Advent Calendar Drop-Off

The Holy Redeemer parish Advent project was a Reverse Advent Calendar. Each day of Advent, we asked parishioners to buy an item we would donate to area food pantries. It is now time to drop your boxed items off in the parish center. It will be open for that purpose from 3–5 p.m. Saturday, January 8, and 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.

Pick up Your Bottle for the Baby Bottle Boomerang

Holy Redeemer will participate in a Baby Bottle Boomerang to support A Woman’s Concern - Your Options Medical. This organization provides no-cost life-affirming pregnancy confirmation services to women and couples facing unplanned pregnancies, especially those considering abortion due to a lack of information and support. Services include pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, options counseling, parenting classes, post-abortion counseling, and ongoing emotional material support, all at no cost.  Today individuals and families will have the opportunity to respond to the issue of LIFE. We will be handing out baby bottles to take home to fill with your loose change, cash, or a check. You can return them to church the weekend of February 8/9. Our financial support will help make the services available free of cost to those in need of support and guidance in the fight for life! Please make checks payable to “Your Options Medical” if you decide to donate by check.

Later this spring, the US Supreme Court is likely to rule on the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case, where many expect the court to place more limits on abortion rights. If that comes to pass, abortion proponents are likely to accuse pro-life advocates of not supporting families and children once they are born. That is a falsehood, but pro-life Catholics must use both church and their financial resources to aid women and children. They must also support public policy such as the Child Tax Credit that supports children and families. The Baby Bottle Boomerang is one way we can do that.

Lower Cape Parishes Collaborative Respect Life Meeting

Holy Redeemer joins other parishes on the Lower Cape in a collaborative Respect for Life Ministry. They are meeting at the St. Joan of Arc, Orleans Parish Center on Wednesday, January 19, after the 8:00 a.m. mass. All are welcome! Please join in fighting for the lives of the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled. Questions? Please get in touch with Rosemary O’Reilly by email at oreillyrosemary54@ gmail.com or 508-269-0031

Desktop Publishing Skills Needed

Do you have experience with Microsoft Publisher or another desktop publishing software application? The parish needs someone to prepare our weekly Worship Aid. If you have desktop publishing skills or are willing to learn them, please call Cheryl Durrer, Music Director, (508) 945-0677.

Christmas Thank You

Thank you to all parishioners who helped make the celebration of Christmas beautiful this year. We aren’t quite back to pre-Covid days, but we are getting there. A special thank you to Cheryl Duerr, the Choir, Bayside Brass Ensemble, and cantors. It was great having such beautiful music at both Christmas Eve masses. Thank you to all who donated to purchasing flowers, especially Janet and David Holden, who helped decorate. The luminaries were a lovely new tradition this year!

The Vianney Group of Priestly Support - Monthly Day of Prayer & Fasting for our Priests. The next monthly day of prayer and fasting for our priests will be Thursday, January 20, 2022. In addition to the commitment of fasting that day, participants will pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet together at 3:00 p.m. via zoom from the Chancery Chapel. To join the zoom Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet, please visit. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84593701398.