Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we come to the end of the liturgical year, the Church turns our attention to Christ the King. In this reflection we consider both the end and the beginning. This great solemnity turns our attention to the end, as Christ is presented to us as the King of all ages, of all time and space, the King who comes again in glory at the end of the age, the one before whom we will stand at the end of our lives. Since this feast is also at the end of our liturgical calendar, it marks the close of the year and invites us to a time of review and reflection. This review in turn leads us to consider the start of something new. Our faith teaches us that when this life ends, we look forward to something new, eternal life with Christ in heaven. We long to be found worthy, those who having seen the Lord hungry, naked, alone, sick, or imprisoned ministered to his needs, such that we are invited to enter into everlasting life. With the solemnity of Christ the King, one year ends, but a new year will soon begin.
The year soon to begin is marked by the four Sundays of Advent. This liturgical season prepares us for the birth of Christ and the beginning of our Lord’s earthly life and ministry. The new liturgical year will include the shortest possible Advent season (the fourth Sunday of Advent is also Christmas Eve – more on that liturgical reality later). Though brief, Advent will still be a time of intense preparation. It is an invitation to begin again, to be renewed, and to look forward. Just as the Thanksgiving Day we just celebrated was an opportunity to thank God for the blessings we have received in the last year, so the start of the Church’s new liturgical year is an opportunity to look forward with hope at what God desires to accomplish in us. Ultimately, Advent will remind us to look to the eternal kingdom of God for which we hope, the heavenly Jerusalem.
As this liturgical year draws to a close, and with the fresh memory of Thanksgiving, I would like to close this note with some words of gratitude. I am deeply grateful to God for the blessing that St. Pius X Parish is to me personally, and the blessing that this community is to the wider Fairfield community. It is a gift to be pastor here. In that role, I am blessed by the commitment of my brother clergy, Fr. Brendan, Fr. Blatchford, and Deacon Don. The work of ministry in this parish would be impossible without the dedication of our parish staff, the leadership of so many volunteers, and the advice of our finance council and trustees. The efforts we make together would seem strange if they were not a response to the needs and desires expressed by the whole parish community. I am so grateful for the participation of so many in the life of this parish!