As many of you have heard, the flu vaccine this year is not effective for the strain of flu that is going around. Over 30 states have declared the flu an epidemic already, although Arizona is not one of them...yet.
With that in mind, the diocese of Phoenix has reminded parishes that holding hands during the Our Father is not required, it is optional. Please do not feel offended if someone chooses not to hold hands, especially during flu season. The same is true for the greeting of peace during Mass.
Obviously, if you are sick with the flu you are not obligated to attend Mass. In fact, it would be wrong to attend Mass while you are sick, because you expose others to your illness.
I hope and pray that most of you avoid this year's flu and that you can celebrate with us every Sunday.
Pax, Fr. MikeREAD MORE
I don't think it is any surprise to you that I believe our school is a very important ministry in our parish. Of course, teaching the faith to our children is a responsibility that God has given to all of us. But, my joy as pastor is in being with our children and watching them grow.
Next weekend begins Catholic Schools Week in our diocese. At Our Lady of Perpetual Help we will begin with a dinner after the 5pm Mass on Saturday. Sunday our Parish Council "Spotlight on Ministry" series will feature the school ministries, please plan to come by the hall after the Masses to learn more about our school. We will have our annual Open House at the same time.
Also next week, on Wednesday evening, Bishop Nevares will host his annual Andrew Dinner for young men interested in learning more about priesthood. Any young man from age 16 up to about 30 is welcome to come. If you are interested please talk to one of the priests, or call Basilio, our Youth Minister for details.
The feast of the Baptism of the Lord ends Christmas season and now we move on into what we call "ordinary time" or counted time. But before we move on, there is something I want to say to you.
Of course, Christmas season is a wonderful time for all Christians. For me as pastor, especially in this parish, it is a very special time. We have our college students back and I enjoy seeing them again and hearing about their year away. Of course, I am happy to visit with our seminarians. I also enjoy meeting many of your families who are here to visit. Maybe most of all, I love to be at as many Masses as I am able so that I can greet you before and after the Mass.
This time of year I am especially aware of our being family together. Yes, you may call me "father", but we all know that it is God who is truly our Father. Thank you for all of your gifts and kindness in this holy season.
Pax, Fr. MikeREAD MORE
Next Sunday is the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and the end of the season of Christmas. We jump from looking at baby Jesus to seeing an adult Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist.
Many people wonder why Jesus would be baptized; St. Maximus of Turin gives us an answer: "Christ is baptized not that he may be sanctified in the waters but that he himself may sanctify the waters and purify by his own purification the streams he touches." He goes on to say, "Christ takes the lead in baptism, then, so that the Christian people might follow with confidence."
After his baptism, Jesus begins his public ministry...leading ultimately to the cross, and finally to resurrection. In our liturgies, we will walk with him in our readings to help us follow him in our lives.