Dear Sisters & Brothers in Christ,

I want to once again thank everyone who had a hand in putting together our Gala Celebration. It exceeded even my expectations and was truly a wonderful event. I know the Jubilee Commission, and especially the Gala sub-committee, worked very long hours in making this such a great event. If you've never been part of preparing something like this, then you have no idea how much work is involved. And, not only did Nikki & Kristin do such a great job in leading the group, they did so in heels, and Nikki did it several months pregnant, and so, I can't thank them enough. 

Unlike most of these types of events, I wanted to begin with more than just a simple prayer and give God the recognition our Lord deserves for making The Rock such a special and holy place. Certainly the Kuumba & LLIM dance teams did just that. And even the hotel staff commented on how unique and beautiful our decorations were, and so, I must thank Sharon, Sylvia, Dot and the entire Arts & Environment team for going the extra mile.

A special thanks also goes out to Mike for donating all of the video work. That, too, is something that requires hours and hours of work behind the scene. And of course, I can't thank Mike without thanking Cherina and Zoe (Mike's Sherpa), as they always come as a family.

And there are so many others to thank because an event like this takes so many people: from those who sold ads and put the ad book together; the awardees, the groups that helped to select them, and those who designed the awards; our wonderful entertainment; all those who worked the night before the event to set everything up; those who created, printed, and sold tickets, as well as, our special patrons; our Mistresses of Ceremony Bonita, Sharon, and Carolyn; and of course everyone who purchased a ticket and all the attendees. You all looked so wonderful. I am sure there is someone I am forgetting to thank and I apologize for that, for as I said, it takes so many people to pull off such a wonderful event.

Next Sunday we will celebrate S.M.U.S. Our annual event where we recommit ourselves to our various ministries or sign up for new ones. We have adjusted the process this year to make it run a bit smoother with an end goal of having all volunteers for each of our ministries entered into our database. This will hopefully help as each event comes up throughout the year. Those in charge will be given a list of all those who signed up to help, and they will have all their contact info. So I hope you take some time this week and pray over what ministries you would like to participate in this coming year. "Pray the Harvest Master to send workers to His vineyard."

P.S. I want to congratulate Miss Missouri, Jennifer Davis, who was named 1st Runner-Up in the Miss America Pageant. Some may remember the Davis family, former parishioners, who used to sit in the front row. Even as a child, Jennifer was often seen wearing a tiara from a recently won beauty pageant.

In the Redeemer,

Fr. Rick