…”Beloved:  The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ”    The second reading, on this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, contains a powerful insight – we are BELOVED by God.  From the moment of our Baptism, God embraced us and claimed us as His own beloved sons and daughters.  In God’s eternal embrace, we find our hope…our strength…our peace…our salvation.   We wait every day, in joyful hope, for the coming again of the Lord in glory.  Let’s use this feast to renew our own commitment to live out our Baptism in a way pleasing to the Lord.  As we do so, we will love in the beloved, eternal embrace of God.

…As we celebrate Jesus’ Baptism, we have invited all who have been baptized over the past year to join us for Mass this weekend.  Together, we will renew the promises of our Baptism and find the grace and strength we need from the Lord as we come together in prayer and worship to our God.

…This weekend also gives me a special opportunity to thank all who are involved in the Baptism Ministry for our parish community.  Special thanks to Kim Nemet and Helen Sheridan for coordinating and scheduling all of our Baptisms. Thanks to the Baptism Team who offers such welcome and hospitality for our Baptism celebrations.  Thanks, also, to the wonderful people who make the prayer quilts/blankets for all of our newly baptized.  What a blessing to blanket each new child of God in the warmth and tender love of God!!!  Together we work hard to make it comfortable and convenient for each family to welcome their new members into the Family of God.  We are so blessed.

…From our own Baptism, each of us has the responsibility to use our gifts and talents to serve the Lord and build up the Body of Christ – the Church.  If you crochet or knit, can you help make a prayer blanket or two a year?  If you can welcome and help on the Baptism team an hour a month, we need your help?  Please let me know if you can help out a little in welcoming our new members frbob@StAmbrose.us.

…This weekend we also have welcomed all of our Law Enforcement members to join us for weekend Mass as we mark National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (January 9).  Together let us pray that God will watch over all who serve to protect us and serve our community.    These public servants are a blessing to our local community.

…Saint Ambrose School and Littlest Angels Preschool is hosting its Annual Open House this Sunday from 10 am until 1:00 pm.   It’s a great moment for all to come and see the great work taking place in our school and preschool.  We are so blessed with a dedicated administration, faculty and staff who are working to form the hearts and engage the minds of our young people.   This is a great year for our school community.  In October, Saint Ambrose Littlest Angels Preschool was awarded the Five Star Rating by the State of Ohio Step Up to Quality accreditation process.   In December, Saint Ambrose School was given the P21 designation with is an affirmation that we are ‘exemplar’ in 21st century learning and practices.  These are ‘affirmations’ of our commitment to be ‘everything’ for every student – every day.  What matters most is helping each student develop their God-given gifts and talents – to be their best selves – as God has imagined them to be.  Please take some time to visit and see why we are receiving these affirmations from these important accreditation organizations.

…BTW….the Five Star Rating for SA Littlest Angels Preschool comes on the Tenth Anniversary of the Program and on the front door of the Preschool moving to a new home next Fall (across the street from the south parking lot).   The wonderful people and great program will expand into better space and offer more programming and services to assist our families and their child(ren).  Please spread the word and invite your family/friends/neighbors to come and learn more about our Littlest Angels Preschool.  For more information, please contact Breanne Logue (blogue@StASchool.us).

…Elec Simon is coming to Saint Ambrose on Sunday and Monday.  He has a powerful message of respect and anti-bullying.  He shares the message in an engaging way.  He will be sharing this message with all of our FIAT teens, Confirmation students, PSR Junior High Students and the students of Saint Ambrose School.  The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is a perfect weekend for this message – because every child of God – is wonderful, unique, special, amazing in the eyes of God.  It’s a great message to help all of our student members to deepen their own understanding of their goodness and the uniqueness of each classmate, neighbor, and friend.  Our prayer is that sharing this with all of our students will help stir conversations at home and school and help us always to be a community of care, respect and compassion for all.

…This coming Saturday all of our Parish Leaders are coming together for our annual January meeting to discuss the year ahead, along with the needs and concern they have for their programs and ministries.  Please join me in thanking those who lead and serve our community.  We are blessed by their faithfulness and commitment.  Please pray that God will allow us to use this time to share good information and strengthen the bonds of working together for the glory of God and the good of our community.

…God is answering your prayers.  We’ve enjoyed some warm January weather….thanks be to God.  As you can see, we are making good progress on the Church.  Soon we will be under roof!!!  By the time you read this, we should be making major progress on the interior work (sanctuary removed and replaced….fire sprinkler system complete….south entry underway).   Thank you for your prayers and continued support to make this possible for our community.  Make sure you watch the final video model of the Church:  www.StAmbrose.us/vision2020.

…This coming Saturday Josh Cochrac is coming back to Saint Ambrose to lead an afternoon of reflection for our Good Sam Ministers.   We are blessed with many members who visit the homebound and hospitalized/care facilities in our parish.  It’s a meaningful ministry….and we could always use a few more people to bring the presence of Christ and Holy Communion to our members.  If you can help, contact Fr. Rob (rramser@StAmbrose.us).

…Our Friday night Bingo game is doing very well.  It’s a great blessing for our parish community.  Bingo helped fund the original Church and it’s going to help us a lot as we repair and renew God’s house.  We could always use a few more volunteers to help the faithful team.  A few hours a month would make all the difference and be a GREAT blessing for our parish.  Come and try…just once.  For more information, please connect with Mike Mascio (mmascio@StAmbrose.us).

…Our first Rec Center Winter Fun Night last Saturday was a huge success.  Please mark your calendars and join us in coming weeks.

…Thank you for all the ways you say ‘yes’ to the Lord, and ‘yes’ to helping, serving, and giving for our parish community.  If all of us find one way to serve at Saint Ambrose, our parish will continue to grow and thrive in the work of the Lord.  God bless you for your goodness.