I pray your Advent journey is going well, and is filled with the grace you need to ‘Prepare the Way of the Lord’ in your life. 

The Archdiocese will have some exciting news to share in a few weeks, and I can assure you God is keeping the promise to remain with us and provide for all our needs. The Holy Spirit is alive and well, helping us to more fully embody Christ here in the Pacific Northwest. Please join me in giving prayerful thanks.

My travels around the Archdiocese of Seattle continue. Saturday evening found me at St. Michael in Olympia. I had the opportunity to help with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, celebrate the evening Mass and then join the pastor, Fr. Jim Lee and associate, Fr. Thomas Tran for dinner. Everywhere I travel, I am hearing that people are gradually coming back to Mass! Three of also heard confessions for well over an hour. The faith of the people present is palpable.

Sunday morning I visited St. Louise in Bellevue. Many people stopped to visit after Mass with many asking for prayers and blessings. When we take the time to express our need and ask for God’s blessing, it is a marvelous witness of faith. So often in the Gospels Jesus tells those who come to him with their needs that it is their faith in him that heals them. When people ask for a blessing, I generally ask what specifically they want to pray for, and then remind them their faith is very important in that request. 

Monday night I was with the Knights of Columbus in Seattle for their annual Christmas gathering. I hope to share more on that once I have some pictures to share.

Tuesday I made a couple pastoral visits. One stop was to spend an hour with one of our senior priests. Hearing people’s journey and experience is always a ‘holy’ moment, and I cherish those pastoral visits. We owe our senior priests and religious a great deal. Please keep them in your prayers.

From there I made my way over to St. Mary of the Lake, home of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Since we were in the final hours of the Year of St. Joseph, we celebrated a Mass in his honor to officially close the Holy Year. After Mass, the sisters gathered for some tea, coffee and other refreshments which gave me the opportunity to visit briefly with small groups, moving from table to table. 

I truly enjoyed this visit with the sisters. I immediately felt at home with them, and their hospitality, faith and prayer are some of the hallmarks of our consecrated women and men. If you are looking for a peaceful place to visit, walk, pray, I’m sure the Sisters of St. Joseph would welcome you warmly.

This is as good a place and time as any to remind all of you that the National Collection to support our Retired Religious is this weekend, December 12-13. Please make a generous donation. 

Many thanks to the photographers who contributed to this blog: Janis Olson, Bill Archer, Kelly Ebel, Sister Jo-Anne. I hope to add more photos soon. In the meantime, keep the spirit of Advent in prayer and good works. St. Paul in the Letter to the Philippians calls us “Partners for the Gospel.” Indeed we are! Stay close to Christ as he draws ever near, and let his Light and Grace illumine the world around you.