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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year. Since I gave up my space last week to Fr. Frank, I'm late in wishing you every blessing for the New Year. I hope your Christmas was filled with a special experience of the presence of the Prince of Peace who brings you, not only peace, but hope for the future, knowing that His "enfleshment" is a real guarantee that He walks with us, accompanies us, is by our side in every moment of our lives. To enable us to get through the ever-present COVID-19, and all its variants (I just heard of a new one, from Southern France, on the news this morning), with all its twists and turns, we need to experience that presence which is Peace, itself. In this special season, I hope you have found that. I also hope your Christmas was spent with the people you love the most in the world and that your mutual love for each other was comforting and encouraging.

I take this opportunity to express my thanks to all those who contributed to our Christmas celebrations-to the choirs, who added so much to the Christmas masses, and to the pre-Christmas Concert, helping all to get in the Christmas mood. I thank those who participated in the Nativity contest and to the virtual Christmas cards, sending Christmas greetings to the whole parish. I hope next year more families will participate in both. It's so inspiring to see those Nativity scenes, and the effort and imagination that go into their construction and so encouraging seeing the smiling faces of families, parents, children and pets, extending greetings to the whole parish. I want to thank all the ministers at the liturgical celebrations for their commitments to service and to the entire staff of the parish. It takes many hands (and hearts) to put it all together. Thank you to all who sent "goodies" to the rectory, baked goods, desserts, cookies and libations. Your thoughtfulness and kindness are greatly appreciated. Lastly, I want to thank everyone who made it "live" to church. While certainly no match to pre-COVID times, it was better than last year and, therefore, a sign of hope for better days to come.

Speaking of COVID, I just want to remind everyone about where we're at as a community. At Mount Carmel, we have always followed the protocols outlined by the Archdiocese, which have always followed those issued by the State. Masks for everyone are strongly recommended, but not mandated. If that changes, we will abide by whatever that change calls for. We are still trying to maintain "social distancing" in the communion procession which is why the rows are let out slowly, so that no line develops. Since more congregants are wearing masks, I want to remind everyone of the proper procedure for receiving. Coming forward, when you reach the minister (either priest or extraordinary minister) extend your handsout in front of you, one hand over the other, the minister will say, "The Body of Christ," and place the host in your hand, please respond "Amen" and step to the side. Lower your mask, place the host in your mouth, raise your mask back into position, and then return to your place by way of the side aisle. All are encouraged to receive in the hand, especially with this highly virulent strain. This is for the safety of the minister and those following in the procession. Lastly, because we are a Christian community, I ask that we respect every individual and the decisions they make about COVID, whether we agree with those decisions or not.

Thank you for the warm reception everyone gave to Fr. Frank I hope and pray he finds a home here, as much as I have over these years. And I hope and pray he will be the last Parochial Vicar I have to welcome here before I retire myself.

The Christmas season ends this weekend with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. Please feel free to take a poinsettia plant home with you as you leave church this weekend and best of luck to the "green thumbs" out there.

God bless,
Fr. Ron

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One Passaic St., Ridgewood, NJ 07450
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