During these weeks of Advent and the days of Christmas that follow, we will be speaking and hearing a familiar word over and over: “Welcome!” During these festive times, we will be opening our homes to receive family members, friends, co-workers and strangers as our guests for gatherings and parties. Whenever we receive guests and visitors, we open the door, we greet them and welcome them into our homes, our places of business, all the places where life takes us. During these holy times, we will welcome guests with excitement – perhaps it’s been some time since we last saw them.
From the Editor
During my years as pastor of the Catholic Community of St. Jude in DeWitt, Father Larry Delaney, the director of St. Francis Retreat Center and Bethany House, was my neighbor. Through the years, I’ve been able to attend a number of retreats or parish missions led by Father Larry. I always have found his leadership to be a wonderful blend of humor and faith-filled insight. He has plenty of jokes that can lighten the mood of any room and he also has a collection of well-used, if not memorable, one-liners.
This may come as something of a surprise, but I am not a risk-taker by nature. However, I have also learned that sometimes taking a risk can open the door to an experience I would otherwise have missed, and more often than not, I am the better for having taken the risk.
My brother and sister-in-law were married in 2006. Since that time, they have welcomed two wonderful children, my niece and nephew. Their family life is pretty much what one might expect for a couple with two young kids. There is school for both children with a variety of extracurricular activities. Their mom and dad both have demanding careers and are doing what I consider to be a good job of balancing the kids’ needs with the variety of other responsibilities that are part of family life. The miles are quickly adding onto their minivan’s odometer.
Usually, the summer months have a different feel than the months of the school year. They can be more relaxed, ruled by a slower pace and filled with more opportunities for rest and relaxation. There might be a chance for some travel, spending time with family and friends we don’t see more often during other times of the year.
As a teenager preparing for the sacrament of confirmation, I often wondered when I would have my “upper room” experience like the one recalled in the first reading for the celebration of Pentecost. I figured that if confirmation is all about the descent of the Holy Spirit into a believer’s life, then that gift should be accompanied by some sort of overwhelming experience in order to reassure the one to be confirmed that the desired gift of the Spirit had indeed been received. And so I prayed and I waited. And then I waited some more. And then I prayed some more and waited even longer.