This weekend is the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time. The Christmas season has ended and now we move into Ordinary Time until Lent begins. The Gospel begins with John the Baptist seeing Jesus and saying: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World.” Earlier we heard Isaiah say: “You are my servant, Israel, …I will make it a light to the nations.” It is time for Jesus to begin his mission. John speaks about seeing “the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain(ing) on him.”Yes, it is time for Jesus to heal, to teach, to forgive and to gather in the “lost sheep.”

The letter from our Provincial Minister, Fr. Kevin Mullen, that was in the bulletin last week was disturbing, yet it was easy to see that the reality of the number of working Friars has decreased significantly. There are nine of our current ministries that we will be withdrawing from later this year. Two of them are near us: Holy Name of Jesus Church on 96th Street, and Assumption Church in Woodridge, New Jersey. Also, on the list are churches in Orlando, FL, Anderson, SC, Greenville, SC, Raleigh, NC, Campus Ministry in Athens, GA, churches in Wilmington, DE, and a chapel in a mall in Albany, NY. There was much discussion, consultation, study and prayer before these decisions were made. All of these ministries will return to the various dioceses or archdioceses where they are located. Please keep us in your prayers.

-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.