Welcome back to Ordinary Time, everyone! I always like to remind people in the midst of this season that Ordinary Time isn’t just a Church-speak for “the boring time between when the real good stuff happens.” Far from it—Ordinary Time is the time in which we celebrate the life and ministry of Jesus. We listen again to the miracles that He worked, we hear again His preaching and the parables that He used to illustrate for us the Kingdom of God, and we celebrate that even now, His graces flower among us.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but the reminder never hurts: Ordinary Time is meant to indicate to us that the Sundays during this portion of the year are marked by ordinal numbers (Second, Third, Fourth, etc.). Unfortunately, in the English language, “ordinary” also carries with it a sense of plainness and regularity, and while it’s not the intention of the Church to relegate these Sundays to the back-burner, I think we can learn from it that the Lord desires to work even now, here in the midst of the “regular” and the “everyday,” not just in the watershed moments of life or in the great and profound mysteries that we celebrate during Easter and Christmas, Advent and Lent, but here, in the grayness of the winter here in central Illinois.

He came for us now, to enter into our present moment, to fill our entire life with His grace.

Now that I’ve had a little time to rest and relax, I also wanted to make sure to thank all the people that I probably should have thanked weeks ago. To all who helped make the transition of seasons (Advent to Christmas, Christmas to Ordinary Time) easy, I offer you my heartfelt gratitude! Most especially, I thank the choirs and instrumentalists who worked diligently to provide beautiful music for us at our Christmas Masses. I thank those who came to fluff the Christmas trees, for those who put out the garland and the wreaths and the bows, and for Dan Ashenfelter at St. Thomas and the Hispanic Community at OLOL who helped to decorate the Churches with finery to meet the season’s festivities. Thanks to our fine staff as well, for always making sure I have my head screwed on relatively straight. Community worship is enhanced when the community takes vibrant part, and this pastor is grateful for all the ways you find to do just that!

Lastly, I just wanted to ask for your help and prayer. As some of you already know, Mrs. Theresa Bowser, our faithful (and wonderful!) principal of several years at Our Lady of Lourdes School has decided that this will be her last year as principal. She goes with our sincerest gratitude for all that she’s done to make the school a place of Catholic excellence. She’s going to be a difficult one to replace!

In that vein, I ask for your prayers as we begin the journey at OLOL of finding a new school principal. Our search committee is forming, and the position will soon be advertised. Please join me in praying that our school (and Holy Family’s school, which is also looking for a principal) find strong candidates to lead us and move with the Holy Spirit to choose the right leader. The Lord is faithful; pray for our fidelity as well and that the Lord will bring us all closer together in mission as the Catholic Churches and Schools of Decatur!

Keep spreading joy!

Fr. Friedel

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