Fr. Rick’s Pastoral Messages for 1/1/23

Mass for Pope Benedict:  Bishop Solis has suggested that all of the pastors/administrators of our parishes throughout the Diocese celebrate a Memorial Mass for Pope Benedict at an appropriate time for the faithful on Tuesday, Wednesday or even Thursday, January 3-5, 2023, to assist this local Church in joining the Church of Rome in raising to almighty God prayers of gratitude for the deceased Pontiff. THURSDAY 8:00 AM.

Banquet of Love:  Beginning in January, the Diocese of Salt Lake City will offer an online marriage enrichment course in English to all Catholic couples in Utah. The course, based on the workbook Banquet of Love, the Eucharist as Weekly Marriage Enrichment, is intended to encourage married couples to explore their relationship to each other and to Jesus Christ through the lens of the Eucharist. Registration is required for the course. To receive an email with the link to register, email the Family Life Office at For information about the Banquet of Love course, visit

Diocesan Eucharistic Revival

July 9.  Save the Date:  Diocesan Mass and Gathering.  Mountain America Expo Center, Sandy, UT.

Year Two (2023): Parish Phase: During the Parish Year, pastors will invite their parishioners and staff to become even more truly and deeply Eucharistic communities through small groups, increased exploration of the sacrifice of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, catechetical studies on the Real Presence of Christ, parish-sponsored processions, and other activities to enable deeper encounters with Our Lord in the Eucharist.  Stayed tuned.

Hospitality:  Remember that we are a ‘Hospitality Parish’ with a major outreach to our many visitors. Please sign up to help host our Sunday morning Coffee and Muffin gathering. Sign up list is in the gathering space.

Homily Reflection: Blessing Our Children

Today’s reading from Numbers includes a special blessing that has been used through the ages by parents and grandparents to pray over their departing offspring.  I drew some insights about this blessing from Fr. Dempsey Rosales Acosta of the University of St. Thomas in Houston.  A closer study of the Hebrew translations fills out the richness of the blessing:  “The Lord let his face shine upon you.”  This ‘shining’ implies an act of Divine pleasure.  Radiating light and warmth.  To yearn toward, to long for.  A gaze of compassion and mercy.

We could easily apply this same gaze to Mary, particularly in reference to today’s Gospel from Luke.  “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”  Other translations say she pondered in her heart.  This is another spiritually-packed line which probably gets overlooked in our modern American sensibilities.

This is a mother who is playing a unique role in all of human history.  She is awestruck, grateful and likely very terrified.  She can hold it together because she has been graced by God in an especially powerful way, but she is still human.  She has to consider at the deepest level of her being the circumstances that are unfolding around her.

Could this be a similar gaze by parents as they see their little darlings trapse off to points unknown?  With perhaps, literally, the whole world before them? And all the unknown dangers and rich opportunities?  The gospel reminds us that Jesus is being marked with the indelible sign of circumcision.  He will take his role in the unfolding mission that was given to his people by God, many generations before.  This generations-long mission is partly what gives Mary the strength to endure and to appreciate all that is about her.  The mark her son received is not the self-designed skin-deep mark that is increasingly displayed by many in our modern secular culture.

As baptized children of God, (Paul says today in the second reading from Galatians), we are heirs of the Father’s blessings, which He promised to bestow on all peoples through the descendants of Abraham. This is the blessing that Aaron imparted to Israel, the people descended from Abraham. And this blessing comes to us through Mary and the Child.

Who marked our children?  How do they understand their mission and the story of their people?  How do we help them stay focused on the journey?