God Is Love

christ-be-our-light

During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Banner Symbols

At the center of love’s heart is the cross, the symbol of God’s unconditional acceptance of us. The joined hands remind us that we love God by being love in action for one another. The hands reflect our Dalle de Verre stained-glass windows which represent the diversity of God’s gifts in us and in our Church as a community.


GOD IS LOVE: WEEK I

During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Banner Symbols
At the center of love’s heart is the cross, the symbol of God’s unconditional acceptance of us. The joined hands remind us that we love God by being love in action for one another. The hands reflect our Dalle de Verre stained-glass windows which represent the diversity of God’s gifts in us and in our Church as a community.

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GOD IS LOVE: WEEK II

God is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, because love has its source in God…No one has seen God, yet as we love each other God dwells in us and God’s love is perfected in us… We love because God first loved us…God is love.

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Victor Hugo was a French poet, novelist and dramatist 1802 – 1885. He is the author of the famous work Les Miserables immortalized on stage and on film from which the quote above is taken. All of love is relationship and connection to God, self and others. We are made in the image and likeness of God so to love another person is to see the face of God. Our love manifests God’s providence and reflects God’s Divine nature at work within us. Our mission to do Opus Christi, Christ’s Work is to turn our face to God. We turn our faces in prayer so that we may be empowered and perfected to reflect God’s image through our own faces, words and works of love in action. During our theme “God Is Love” we will explore ways to more fully experience God’s unconditional love for us, through prayer and practices, by turning our minds and hearts to be love in action.

To read complete bulletin click here


GOD IS LOVE: WEEK III

During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Our Theme Prayer:
Lord, turn my face with grace to love.
Turning our face with grace to love is a prayer practice based on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer The Examen. This type of prayer takes an honest look at our thoughts, feelings and motivations. It invites God to move our mind, hearts and will toward loving self, others and God.

Banner Symbols
The first acronym (vertical left column) in our theme F.A.C.E – Fear, Attachment, Control, Entitlement is based on the ideas of David Richo and Mark Thibodeaux S.J.
The center prayer, Lord, turn my face with grace to love and the second acronym (vertical right column) is an original idea of our theme F.A.C.E. – Faith, Acceptance, Cooperation, Empathy.

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GOD IS LOVE: WEEK IV

During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Our Theme Prayer:
Lord, turn my face with grace to love.
Turning our face with grace to love is a prayer practice based on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer The Examen. This type of prayer takes an honest look at our thoughts, feelings and motivations. It invites God to move our mind, hearts and will toward loving self, others and God.

Banner Symbols
In prayer we turn from Fear to Faith – Attachment to Acceptance – Control to Cooperation – Entitlement to Empathy.

To read complete bulletin click here


GOD IS LOVE: WEEK V

During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Our Theme Prayer:
Lord, turn my face with grace to love.
Turning our face with grace to love is a prayer practice based on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer The Examen. This type of prayer takes an honest look at our thoughts, feelings and motivations. It invites God to move our mind, hearts and will toward loving self, others and God.

Banner Symbols
In prayer we turn from Fear to Faith – Attachment to Acceptance – Control to Cooperation – Entitlement to Empathy.

To read complete bulletin click here


GOD IS LOVE: WEEK VI

During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Once upon a time in a tiny village in Poland, famine visited the land. Hungry villagers trying to control the situation hoard what little food they have behind locked doors and closed shutters. One day old Mateusz – a stranger to the townspeople – visits carrying a large pot and a large stone. Sitting next to the village well, he fills the pot with water and the stone announcing, “I will now make stone soup.” He invites curious children to gather some sticks and starts a fire under the pot. As the water boils, he tastes his soup saying, “MMM… So good. A little salt would help. Whomever brings some salt can share in my delicious soup.” From within a hut scurries a villager adding some salt to the pot. “Perhaps an onion will help?” A peasant comes forth with an onion and so it goes – a carrot – a potato – an old chicken – all into the pot. And that day the whole village ate their fill of the fine soup. They feasted abundantly because their faces turned from control to cooperation.

To read complete bulletin click here


GOD IS LOVE: WEEK VII

During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Reflection Week VII
Entitlement to Empathy
When is the last time that you honked your horn in frustration with the car driver who was in your opinion too slow? Remember your bitter eye roll in the supermarket at the person ahead of you slowly, slowly bagging, who then takes out a checkbook ledger tediously filling out the date, occasion etc.? How about your feelings after holding the door for someone and getting no ‘thank you’? Those not working, try recalling… finding the last ice cube in a sea of empty trays, the always full/clean dishwasher light, the empty car fuel gauge. And last, ever cure ten lepers and have only one return to say ‘thanks’?

The word for an expectation that we have the right to something is called an entitlement. Entitlement manifests in these resentments, “get out of my way, hurry up, I should not have to wait, why is it always my turn, they didn’t even say thank you.” These thoughts change nothing of the reality they criticize but turn us toward anger and disharmony in relationships.

To read complete bulletin click here


GOD IS LOVE: WEEK VIII

During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Reflection Week VIII
One day a lady decides to go to a movie matinee. The theater is crowded. She sits in the only seat left. As the movie begins, two people behind her are distracting her with their constant talking. The lady becomes annoyed. Her anger increases as one of them begins kicking her seat in an endless beat. Although upset, she is fearful of confrontation and attached to her idea of how people should behave in a movie theater. She wishes to control their behavior because she is entitled to a quiet, non-jolting experience. Suddenly, she feels a hot, rough wet something on her neck. Enough! She turns quickly around and finds herself face to face with a German Shepherd. Next, she notices the blind man holding the collar of the seeing-eye dog. Of course, the talking was one man explaining the movie to the blind man. The kicking of her seat was the dog’s tail and we presume that the dog licked her neck.

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SACRAMENT OF HEALING
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK
NOVEMBER 2 & 3, 2019
“Is anyone sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the church, and let them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the Lord will raise them up; and if they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them.”

On the weekend of November 2 & 3 we will celebrate the Sacrament of The Anointing of the Sick at all Masses. The Sacrament of the Sick is one of the healing sacraments. It is a balm for physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual ills.

The Ritual
• The Sacrament may be administered individually or in a communal setting.
• After an appropriate Scripture reading, the priest prays over the sick person by the laying on of hands on the head of the sick person.
• The forehead is anointed with the Oil of the Sick. The prayer:
“Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.” R. Amen.
• The palms of the hands are anointed:
“May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” R. Amen.
• The following prayer is said after the anointing at all Masses:
“Father in heaven, through this holy anointing grant your people comfort in suffering. When they are afraid give them courage, when afflicted give them patience, when dejected, afford them hope, and when alone, assure them of the support of your holy people. We ask this through Christ our Lord.” R. Amen.

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THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME NOVEMBER 3, 2019

SACRAMENT OF HEALING
THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK
NOVEMBER 2 & 3, 2019
“Is anyone sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the church, and let them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the Lord will raise them up; and if they have committed any sins, their sins will be forgiven them.”

On the weekend of November 2 & 3 we will celebrate the Sacrament of The Anointing of the Sick at all Masses. The Sacrament of the Sick is one of the healing sacraments. It is a balm for physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual ills.

WE REMEMBER, WE CELEBRATED, WE BELIEVE
We remember all who have been called home by name. We celebrate God’s gift of eternal life on this festive weekend commemorating the communion of Saints. We believe that God whispers our names tenderly in prayer. One day we will hear the voice of the Good Shepherd say to us face to face, “Come you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of time.”

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THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME NOVEMBER 10, 2019

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
In the space provided please draw a circle.
There are really only two ways that you drew your circle – clockwise or counterclockwise. In which direction did you trace your circle? Studies have shown (yes, people study such things) that Americans tend to draw circles counterclockwise. This is true in most countries with the exception of Japan and Taiwan. Science has no real explanation for this phenomenon. China uses similar writing techniques and characters yet tends to draw circles counterclockwise too. What are the reasons? Education system or perhaps cultural conditioning? The explanation is yet to be determined.

One thing is sure, we are all on a circle of life. From our Christian perspective we come from God, journey through life and then return to God. As Jesus explains in today’s Gospel (Luke 20:27-38) in God the past, present and future are one whole circle. Our ancestors in faith followed the same patterns, creation, births, death and rebirth through the resurrection in our Lord Jesus Christ, “God is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to God all are alive.”

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THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME NOVEMBER 17, 2019

WORK
Jo Massey tells the following story with a smile, “The new busboy was just 16, and because it was his first job, we were all impressed with how well he had done on his first day. Which is why we were surprised the next day when he didn’t show up for his shift. Then an hour late, he came running in, red- faced and breathless. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” he said. “I forgot I had a job!”

Sometimes we might wish that we could forget that we have a job. As Christian stewards, however, we recognize that our gifts, talents and even the time that God gives us to live is given for our life’s work which is our mission – Opus Christi – to do Christ’s work. Christ’s work is to be love in action for others. This includes whatever human labor is entrusted to us. St. Paul is so outraged by those who seek only leisure and their rights instead of their responsibilities that he writes to the Thessalonians, “we worked in toil and drudgery, night and day…to present ourselves as a model for you… In fact, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat!”

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OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST,
KING OF THE UNIVERSE
NOVEMBER 24, 2019

BEFORE WORK

Focusing
You must bring him everything!
Your dreams, your successes, your rejoicing.
And if you have little to rejoice over, bring him that little.
And if your life seems only like a heap of fragments,
bring him the fragments.
And if you have only empty hands, bring him your empty hands.
Shattered hopes are his material;
in his hands all is made good.

Scripture
They left weeping, weeping,
casting the seed.
They come back singing, singing,
holding high the harvest.

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FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
DECEMBER 1, 2019

A LITTLE CALM BEFORE THE HOLIDAY RUSH
Experience Peace in the Stillness of Your Heart
The sound of a tea kettle whistle, an alarm ringing, a credit card chip reader honking all shatter our peace and propel us to do something to silence the noise. This month before Christmas with the endless activity can shatter our peace and produce some very cranky people. We desire to silence the noise and to be in a peaceful spirit. Prayer is the key that sets us free. Prayer may not change our circumstances, but it works miracles in attitudes. Prayer is the key to setting realistic goals, prioritizing tasks, discovering inner peace — no matter how loudly the whistles, alarms and honks scream around us. We are invited to hear in prayer our God whisper the saving words, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Below you will find a hymn for reflection and suggested prayer practices which may still and fill our hearts with peace.

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SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
DECEMBER 8, 2019

PARISH ADVENT PROGRAM

WRAP YOUR GIFTS IN PRAYER

Unwrap the gift of God in Prayer. In the midst of Advent and Christmas busyness, we offer you a way to pray and to discover our God who is with us. Each season the preparation for gift giving can be a source of stress. This year can be different. Our Christmas practice of gift giving is intended to be a visible symbol of love and Christian service in action. Why not use our gift giving as a form of prayer? Wrapping your gift in prayer can add a spiritual dimension to an ordinary task.

Wrap Your Gift in Prayer
As you choose your gift, ask for God’s guidance and bring a prayerful awareness to the exchange. When you actually wrap your gift, whether in wrapping paper or in a gift bag, pray for the recipient. Ask God to fill them with light, love and the peace of Christmas. Cards and electronic greetings may also be wrapped in prayer.

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THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT
DECEMBER 15, 2019

PARISH ADVENT PROGRAM
WRAP YOUR GIFTS IN PRAYER

Unwrap the gift of God in Prayer. In the midst of Advent and Christmas busyness, we offer you a way to pray and to discover our God who is with us. Each season the preparation for gift giving can be a source of stress. This year can be different. Our Christmas practice of gift giving is intended to be a visible symbol of love and Christian service in action. Why not use our gift giving as a form of prayer? Wrapping your gift in prayer can add a spiritual dimension to an ordinary task.

Wrap Your Gift in Prayer
As you choose your gift, ask for God’s guidance and bring a prayerful awareness to the exchange. When you actually wrap your gift, whether in wrapping paper or in a gift bag, pray for the recipient. Ask God to fill them with light, love and the peace of Christmas. Cards and electronic greetings may also be wrapped in prayer.

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THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD
CHRISTMAS
DECEMBER 25, 2019

Lengthy Christmas letters recapping the past year’s events are often sent at this time. Last week a parishioner received such a letter from a friend filled with bad news, a broken leg, unemployment, assorted illnesses and even two dead goldfish. Thinking that she was offering a compassionate response the recipient texted, “Got your letter – LOL.” She was shocked when she received this reply, “There was nothing funny about 2019 for me or my family!” Telephoning her daughter to diagnose the situation she learned that although she texted LOL, meaning in her mind Lots Of Love, LOL, in text language, means Laugh Out Loud!

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FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY OF
JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH
DECEMBER 29, 2019

Fathering and Mothering God
“See what love God bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God.”

Reflection
God our Father, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. We thank you for giving us the bread we need. Holy is your name.

You hold us in your strong arms like a mother with a newborn infant. You have raised your children from generation to generation, planting seeds, harvesting grain, baking fresh bread, preparing meals, feeding your people, holding us up when we are too weak to stand on our own, teaching us how to walk and enabling us to go forth in the world as your daughters and sons.

God our Mother, you are the womb of our power, our tenderness and our courage. We forget too often that you are God. Holy is your name.

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EPIPHANY OF THE LORD
JANUARY 5, 2020

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

“They prostrated themselves and did him homage. They opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

Our daily invitation is to journey on the road in prayer offering our gifts in service to our brothers and sisters. Our gifts are not gold, frankincense and myrrh, but the duties and sacrifices of love given as gifts each day. Sharing our gifts is the way we live as grateful stewards of God’s bounty.

Reflection
The people asked, speak to us of Giving:
You give but little when you
give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself
that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but
things you keep and guard
for fear you may need them tomorrow? . . .

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JANUARY 12, 2020

THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD
“This is my beloved Son,
with whom I am well pleased.”

In today’s Gospel God delights in Jesus who begins his public ministry. God delights in us as sons and daughters, a privilege that we receive through our Baptism.

St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380) reflects on God’s love for us.

CREATED FOR LOVE
“If we know ourselves, we find God’s love. Why, because we see our own nothingness (seeing ourselves as beloved creations of God) that our very existence is ours by grace and not because we have a right to it, and every grace beyond our existence as well – it is all given to us with boundless love. Then we discover so much of God’s goodness poured out on us that words cannot describe it. And once we see ourselves so loved by God; we cannot help loving him. And within ourselves we love God and our own rationality and hate the distractions that would take inordinate attention in the world.

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JANUARY 19, 2020

SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
JESUS THE LAMB OF GOD

Last week we had the “Greatest Contest of our Time” on the popular program “Jeopardy” hosted by the beloved Alex Trebek. James, Ken and Brad amazed us with their knowledge, awareness, expertise and timing. In the game of Jeopardy, the answer is in the form of a question. For example, “An animal that is small, cuddly, gentle and loving”. The answer would be “What is a lamb.”

For us Catholics, the phrase in today’s gospel “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” expressed by John the Baptist on seeing Jesus, is very familiar to us. It is in fact a liturgical prayer and has deep roots in Sacred Scripture.

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JANUARY 26, 2020

THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

A gentleman was walking one day in the east end of the city of Glasgow. The streets were so narrow, and the houses so high, that little direct sunshine ever reached the houses on one side. The gentleman noticed a boy excited with a small piece of mirror, to catch the sun’s rays and direct them to a certain spot on one of the houses oppo¬site. He became interested in the boy’s earnest efforts. “What are you trying to do, laddie?” he asked. “Do you see yon window up there?” the boy replied. “Well, my wee brother had an accident two years ago, and is always lying on his back in yon room, and it is on the wrong side to get the sunshine, so I always try to catch the light in this wee glass and shine it into his room.”—The Homiletic Review

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FEBRUARY 2, 2020

THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD

JESUS AND THE SUPER BOWL
This Sunday we look forward to an annual sporting event that totally captivates our nation’s attention. That event is Super Bowl LIV (number 54 for those of you, like me, who are not very good with Roman numerals!). We also, as Church, celebrate the Feast of the Presentation.

Almost everyone is familiar with the Super Bowl but just what is the Feast of the Presentation? In today’s Gospel reading from Luke, we hear that Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him in the Temple as it was written in the law that every male child shall be consecrated to the Lord.

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FEBRUARY 9, 2020
FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

“You are the light of the world.”

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” St. Francis of Assisi

Salt and Light – two simple yet rich and powerful images that Jesus uses to describe the characteristics of a disciple. In today’s Gospel, Jesus does more than just call us to be the salt and the light to others. He tells us, “You ARE the salt of the earth.” “You ARE the light of the world.” These characteristics are already inherent in us. And then He tells us to use our salt and our light.
Why salt? In Jesus’ time, just as now, salt was used for flavoring, as a preservative and as a healing agent. Salt is most effective when it draws attention to something other than itself, when it makes things better. For example, when used in seasoning food, salt works best when it enhances the flavor of the meal and is not even noticed by the one eating.
This past Fall I visited the Holy Land where I had the opportunity to “float” in the Dead Sea. And you really do float. The Sea is so rich in salt that you feel as if you are being lifted up. And afterwards my skin felt so smooth and rejuvenated. (I should have brought more home with me.)

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FEBRUARY 16, 2020
SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

Today’s gospel is part of the Sermon on the Mount and is entitled “The Old Law and the New.” This is a message that we probably need to hear more now than ever before.

In the gospel Jesus clearly states some obvious directives, some laws that we need to follow. Jesus tells us that murder is unacceptable, and how anger is not good. Jesus says we should not carry a grudge, but instead to forgive, and to treat people with compassion and caring. Jesus talks about impurity and immorality and how it is not acceptable even in thought.

Jesus tells us we don’t just need to talk the talk, but instead we need to walk the walk. Just saying something is okay isn’t enough; we need to turn our words into actions. Unfortunately, the moral compass that is meant to be followed by our society is spinning on its axis and out of control. It’s sending us in many different directions, to destinations that fill our desires as opposed to giving direction to living a good moral life. For some these mixed messages can be very confusing!

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FEBRUARY 23, 2020
SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

LENT 2020
OUR CALL AND JOURNEY
LOVE IN ACTION

WEEK 1
During this Season of Lent, you are invited to participate in our new theme: Our Call and Journey – Love in Action through: Homilies, Bulletin & Website articles, YouTube presentations –
(YouTube.com/stphilipclifton), and by performing Acts of Love (forms of Lenten penance).

KEY THEME CONCEPTS AND WORDS
Shortly before our parish fire in 2018 we began the process of designing Stained Glass Windows as a celebration of our 75th Jubilee Year. With the prayerful input of our Liturgical Design Committee, Liturgical Architect and the artists Butler/Vargo, Inc., Indianapolis, IN., thirteen windows are designed and in production with an estimated installation in June.

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MARCH 1, 2020
FIRST SUNDAY OF LENT

OUR CALL AND JOURNEY – LOVE IN ACTION
During this Season of Lent, you are invited to participate in our theme: Our Call and Journey – Love in Action through: Homilies, Bulletin & Website articles, YouTube presentations –
(YouTube.com/stphilipclifton), and by performing Acts of Love (forms of Lenten penance).

THEME HISTORY
Shortly before our parish fire in 2018 we began the process of designing Stained Glass Windows as a celebration of our 75th Jubilee Year. With the prayerful input of our Liturgical Design Committee, Liturgical Architect and the artists Butler/Vargo, Inc., Indianapolis, IN., thirteen windows are designed and in production with an estimated installation in June.

To read complete bulletin click here