Jan 10, 2018

Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,

I want to congratulate the children who are being baptized today at our 11 am mass. We joyfully welcome them into God’s Holy Family today as our Heavenly Father claims them as His very own sons and daughters. May they live their lives dedicated to their God and may they always remember that their faith is their most precious possession.

As we celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this weekend, today is also the feast of Blessed Peter Donders, C.Ss.R. While I am relatively sure that most of you have heard of St. Damien of Molokai, I am not sure how many have heard of Donders. Donders was a missionary priest from Holland, who was working with lepers in South America. When the Redemptorists were asked to take over the area, Peter joined the Congregation in order to stay. He was very happy to have help and after his profession he began to expand the scope of his ministry. He worked with the enslaved on the plantations, preached the Gospel throughout the area, as well as continued his work with the lepers. The thing that set Donders apart, aside from his level of dedication, was his ability to work with both Church and State. He spoke out locally, and in his letters back to his native Holland, about the harsh living conditions and treatment of the enslaved. He was also able to get nursing care and better living conditions for the lepers. He was tireless in his dedication in preaching and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We celebrate people of the past not just to honor their memory. We also retell their story and wonderful deeds in order to inspire us to do the same. We are encouraged to examine our own lives and ask ourselves how dedicated we are in living the Gospel and serving our sisters & brothers in Christ, especially those who suffer injustice. Remember, “It’s a day on, not a day off.

In the Redeemer,

Fr Rick