Dear Friends of St. Anne's Shrine,
Advent is known for its emphasis on prayerful preparation and waiting patiently for the coming of the Lord into our lives once again. It is easy to jump right into the Christmas spirit once Thanksgiving is over or even earlier, given retail holiday displays appearing before Labor Day. Advent has its own purpose, which is to help us pray and prepare. We wait to celebrate a great mystery, God entering our broken humanity in the form of a defenseless child.
Our humanity is indeed broken when you consider the wars that are currently being waged around the globe. The brutal loss of life which has taken place in Ukraine and the Middle East is just astounding. The Holy Land, the place of Jesus’ birth and the region where Jesus engaged in ministry to bring God’s compassion and healing, has been filled with war and violence. I have been wondering what kind of Christmas there will be in Bethlehem given what we have seen reported so far. On the 2nd Sunday of Advent, we will hear proclaimed from the prophet Isaiah: “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.” Many people in our war-torn world today need God’s comfort. Advent is a season of hope, and we continue to pray for an end to all wars.
St. Anne’s Shrine provides a hopeful and comforting environment to help people participate in the life of the Church through the Sacraments and retreat experiences. Friends like you help us conduct this ministry. There are many ways to help the Shrine fulfill its mission. Our Planned Giving page suggests ways you can donate funds through IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions, gifts of stock, bequests in your Will, Living Trust, or as a beneficiary on your IRA, and through other financial instruments.
You can also assist the Shrine in response to this appeal by making a Christmas donation. Given a long list of deferred maintenance items and rising costs, the Dion Family Foundation has pledged a $50,000 matching gift challenge. Each dollar you contribute for the upkeep of St. Anne’s Shrine will be matched, up to a combined total of $100,000. Your donation will go twice as far. Please use our Prayer Request form to submit your intentions so that we Edmundites can remember them in our prayers in the Advent and Christmas seasons.
On the 4th Sunday of Advent, we will hear the inspiring story of the Annunciation from Luke’s Gospel. The angel Gabriel’s response to Mary’s questioning resonates with us in our fear for the world: “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary.’” With faith in Jesus, the prince of peace, we hope for a better world in the coming year where peace prevails over war. God bless you and thank you for your continued support of St. Anne’s Shrine. Have a blessed and merry Christmas!
Rev. Brian J. Cummings, S.S.E.