Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Father Muench Says...

Considering the season’s feast days

January 4, 2023

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

As we come to the end of another year, I notice that I have the same memories as the last few years. First, I remember that annual priest’s ski trip the first week of January at Mont Tremblant in Canada. I haven’t skied in several years, yet I do remember so many happy trips. In fact, I remember one year taking a vacation from the parish in Mollendo, Peru, so I could join that gang for a week of skiing.

This year, there is a touch of sadness in remembering because several of my skiing friends are now with the Lord. Such are the sad realities of life as the years go by. I will be celebrating a special Mass as a remembrance of those happy days and of those friends. May they continue to find peace and happiness with the Lord.

Today, I would also like to share with you my joy as I celebrate the various feast days during the week after Christmas. You see, I truly enjoy the various feast days that the Catholic Church celebrates during this Christmas week.

First, I like having the Christmas decorations at church in place for these couple of weeks until Epiphany. There is something special about visiting the Church during the day and praying quietly before the Christmas creche. Here we have some large images of the scene right in front of the main altar. This gives me lots of time to fully remember and be impressed as I pray over the Incarnation of our Savior.

Then, there are the feast days that we celebrate during the week after Christmas. I hope you remember them. The day after Christmas the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen, that first deacon and martyr of the early Church. I am certain our permanent deacons find a special spirit and joy in recognizing Stephan’s readiness to assist those original apostles. Our deacons are called to have the same dedication and readiness to serve as those first deacons. Stephen seems to remind today’s deacons and the rest of us the importance of having a strong faith and boldness to speak the message of Jesus and to be unafraid to dedicate our lives to the service of our Savior.

The second day after Christmas is the Feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, the apostle of Jesus who was truly close to the Lord Jesus. I read recently that someone remembers John was Jesus’ best friend. John wrote a Gospel that we have in the New Testament. There are many personal notes that John adds to his words. John often speaks of an apostle that Jesus loved. We can be certain that he writes of himself. Many of the events In Jesus’ life are described in detail, and we know that John was there. His message is that of a loving witness.

There are also three of John’s epistles in the New Testament. I have noticed that John’s Gospel has a theological, even philosophical tone, but these epistles are very pastoral. He urges the peoples of all time – the letters are written to us all – to be true followers of the Lord by living in the spirit of love as Jesus did. We are called to love one another as disciples of the Lord, as witnesses to being true Christians. These letters are a special gift to us all.

Finally, this year we celebrate on a weekday the Feast of the Holy Family, since there is not a Sunday before the celebration of New Years. As we remember Christmas and celebrate the Birth of Jesus, we remember again with joy and happiness the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. While we know very little about the daily life of the Holy Family, we can only imagine that it was a special time. I like to imagine that it was rather ordinary but also filled with love and peace – a peace that we all pray for as we witness to our loved ones growing up. The only story we have of Jesus as a youth is the finding of Jesus in the temple, that picture of Jesus talking with those religious leaders and being discovered by Mary and Joseph. And then, he goes home with them to Nazareth and lives a blessed family life.

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.