Wrapping up the ReConnect Daily Spiritual Challenge
A Blessed Christmas to you all!
It’s amazing to think that our Reconnect 21 Day Challenge is now finished, but of course, it’s not over–as our spiritual journey is not yet over, and we are about to enter into the Christmas season and to celebrate the birth of Christ in time. But my hope and prayer is that our 21 days together has been full of many graces and blessings for you and your loved ones. From the many emails and comments that I have received, I know that many of you have enjoyed our simple, yet very rich and varied, daily meditations and options. I have certainly felt the daily blessing of our thoughtful sharing, and I know that it has certainly enhanced my Advent journey and helped me focus on the real purpose of this holy season.
So, as we enter the season of Christmas, I want to thank first of all those who participated in our ReConnect Challenge and in a special way the members of my Pastoral Team and Parish Pastoral Council who composed and shared their thoughts and reflections. Special thanks also goes to those who reviewed, formatted and used their technical skills to share the daily meditations–without their skills and expertise, the 21 Day Challenge would never have gotten off the ground.
Friends, as we celebrate Christmas, I pray that the spiritual fruits of our 21 Day Challenge will continue to bless you and strengthen your relationship with Christ and our Church community.
One last thing…. May I share with you one final video–this time of year my favorite Advent/Christmas Carol. It’s one that you have heard many times at St. Francis, especially from our students. For me it captures the essence of what we celebrate–the birth of Christ and the truth of God’s presence with us–Immanuel:
Immanuel – Songs Of Praise (subtitulado)
A very merry Christmas to you and yours.
Please fill out this quick ReConnect Survey and let us know your thoughts on what went well and what we could work on for the future.
The Gifts of ReConnect
Let’s open our hearts to the gifts we’ve received through the messages over the past 21 days and make them ongoing practices for life!
We’ve likely heard “practice makes perfect,” and it’s true: our faith journey is ongoing, every day of our lives and needs daily practice. “It is strange,” writes Fr. Richard Rohr, “that we have come to understand the importance of practice in sports, in most therapies, in any successful business, and in any creative endeavor; but for some reason most of us do not see the need for it in the world of religion, where it is probably more important than in any other area.” In a meditation on the importance of practice in devotion, Fr. Rohr goes on to say, “It’s a paradox that God’s gifts are totally free and unearned, and yet God does not give them except to people who really want them, choose them, and say ‘yes’ to them.”
We invite you to forge ahead, say yes, and use these Gifts below to continue to ReConnect with faith and renew with your community!
Gift #1: Enjoy the natural splendor around us! As you’re able, go outside or for a walk in the rain, snow, sun, at night or during the day to enjoy the simple wonders of God’s creation. There are a few lucky times each winter when there’s a snowfall of such amazing beauty that it’s astonishing to look at, and you want to immerse yourself in what seems like a miracle. A sparkling soft layer of white highlights every branch, leaf, and needle, making them stand out in relief. Branches unnoticed and easily overlooked receive the same coating–evenly, fairly, judiciously distributed. This is what God’s love for us is like: evenly blanketing all his people in a compassionate layer of concern.
Gift #2: Celebrate the joys of connection and community during this blessed season by attending Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Mass at the times listed on the parish website. Christmas Eve Masses are at 4pm, 6pm, 8pm (Spanish), and 10:30pm (live streamed; music begins at 10pm). Christmas Day: 9:30am and 11:30am. (Please note that the use of masks is required at all Masses due to expected numbers and in accordance with local Health Department recommendations.)
Gift #3: Continue to ReConnect and bookmark the ReConnect webpage and come back to it from time to time. Here are instructions to bookmark based on the browser you are using.Share your ReConnect program with a family member or friend. Keep a daily log of activities together.
Gift #4: Sign up for daily messages or visit these sites for spiritual nourishment
- Subscribe to Minute Meditations!
- Take Five for Faith
- Morning Offering
- Hallow App
- Amen App
- Walking the text
Gift #5: Get involved with the social justice ministries and examine your conscience in light of Catholic Social Teachings.
Gift #6: Read the Biblical inspiration for the song “Immanuel,” from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans: Romans 8:31-39.
Gift #7: Listen to all the top hits worship and praise songs on your phone or computer:
Thank you for your participation and support of the ReConnect 21 Day Spiritual Challenge! May God continue to Bless you and our parish family, as well as our families, friends, and neighbors!
–St Francis of Assisi Parish Council and Pastoral Team
ReConnect with your faith and community today, tomorrow — and yesterday! If you miss a day, go back and check out all prior challenge days HERE on our website. We are all imperfect children of God, so let’s KEEP TRYING! To further reconnect with St. Francis Parish, please contact the parish office at 734-821-2100 or via email email@example.com. We look forward to reconnecting with you!