…”And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.”    This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family.  Today’s Gospel is ‘refreshing’ in that it reminds us that Mary and Joseph faced some of the same ‘parenting’ challenges of every parent.  God gave them the grace and wisdom they needed to raise the child Jesus and create a loving home for their family.  Our prayer this weekend is that God will bless our families by strengthening the bonds of love and peace.  May God give His grace and wisdom to all parents and grandparents.

…Jesus had to be in His Father’s House.  This weekend we begin to ‘close’ God’s House for our community until Easter as we repair, renovate and renew our Church.  For the next four months, Hilkert Hall will become our ‘home’ for us to gather in prayer and worship.  It will actually be ‘different’ and ‘renewing’ for us to come together in a different place for a few months.  It’s a chance to meet new people – sit in new seats – hear songs in new ways.  It can really be a blessing for our parish if we use this time well.  I think of families who are remodeling or building.  It creates a moment for the family to work more closely together and connect with each other in new ways.  That’s my hope and prayer for our parish family.

…One of the pieces of the new Church that promises to be truly amazing when completed will be the new Joseph Shrine.  It really will be a ‘recipe’ for the Holy Family and each of our families.  The shrine will be made up of five images of Joseph and Jesus.  As the Heavenly Father leads, guides and blesses Joseph, so Joseph teaches and cares for his child, Jesus.  Each ‘picture’ of the shrine will speak to different qualities of a holy family.  As each of our parents, grandparents, and godparents gaze upon these images, it will remind them of what they/we must do for our children/family today so we can have holy families – strong, loving, forgiving, caring – centered on the Lord.  It will be inspiring.  We still need to raise the funds for this shrine….it will be well worth waiting for.

…I hope and pray your family celebrations for Christmas and these ‘holy’ days are filled with joy, peace and great love.  Many thanks to all who worked so hard to prepare our parish for Christmas.  Given all the construction, the place looked great, sounded inspiring, and even more was filled with a great spirit of family and community.  We are so blessed at Saint Ambrose.

…Please remember that New Year’s Day is a holy day of obligation.  Even more, it’s a perfect way to start a new year – focusing your life on the Lord and prayer.  Please join us on December 31 for Mass at 4:30 pm and 6 pm and on January 1 at 9 am and 10:30 am.  Invite your family to start the year off right with the Lord.

…New Year’s Day will be a special day for Max Menkhaus as he begins a new job at Saint Francis of Assisi in Gates Mills.  Max is at Cleveland State University working on his music/teaching degree.  He’s been assisting Matt Fodor and Helen Lanzarotta for the past 16 months.  This is a great opportunity for him to be closer to home and have a ‘full time’ position.  I am so grateful for his efforts at Saint Ambrose.  Please join me in wishing him well in this exciting new endeavor.

…If you have not yet had the opportunity to do so, please take a few minutes to go online to watch the updated render/video of the Church renovation.  It’s a great picture of our Church and what it will look like on Easter Sunday.  Go to:   www.StAmbrose.us/vision2020.

…Many thanks for your continued support for our parish community.  Special thanks to several of our members who made ‘end of the year’ gifts in support of our parish and the building fund.  Our Business Office would happily help if you would like to do the same.  Any donation for the 2018 year must arrive to the B.O. by 10 am on December 31, 2018 for a timely deposit before the ‘year end’.

…With Hilkert Hall being used for our weekend Masses, a few of our ‘family friendly’ programs needed to change (e.g. Winter Carnival).  We are very blessed to be able to rent the Brunswick Rec Center for a number of Winter Family Fun Nights.  See the bulletin for all the details.  Please join us.

…Spend some time over the next few days reflecting on the blessings of God in the year gone by.  The more we ‘reflect’ and hold things close in our heart, like Mary, the more we will grow in our awareness and appreciation of God’s blessings in our lives.  As you think about the new year, how can you share a gift or talent – a little bit of time – for the Lord and our parish community.  Especially as we prepare to walk into our renewed Church on Easter, we could use a few more greeters and ushers along with a few new lectors and Eucharistic Ministers.  What a blessing to serve at the Table of the Lord!!!  We could also use a few more people to assist as funeral servers and in our New Life Choir.  If you want to learn more about these ways to serve, please send me an email (frbob@StAmbrose.us).  It’s a very meaningful and management commitment.

…Our parish is extremely blessed by a faithful group of our members who volunteer to take care of the buildings and grounds at Saint Ambrose.  They help in all sorts of ways (paint, cut, sweep, hang, touch up….a little of everything).  They’re a great group who could always use another set of hands for a couple of hours a month.  Interested?  Contact Ken at kukarolapa@aol.com..

…All of us have gifts and talents.  Can you help and serve just a little in the new year??  We need you.   God needs you.  Together we can do great work for the Lord.

…Thank you so much for all you do for our parish.  The Christmas bulletin was a celebration of your goodness and the ministry and programs that take place in our community.  May this new year be blessed.  Be assured of my prayers and deep thanks.