A Season of Anticipation

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Does this season anticipate the advent of a memory or a hope? Are we to look back at Fr Shafiquewhat God did long ago, or are we to look forward to what God will do? Advent encourages us to do both, to look in both directions. The heart of this season is where memory and hope meet.

We are called to prepare a way for the Lord in our hearts and be ready for his final coming when He will judge the living and the dead. Are you ready to meet God? Are you ready for the Final Judgment? Are you prepared to meet your maker? Have you helped others get ready for the Lord’s coming? How about your family, siblings, friends, co‐workers? These are great reflection questions for the Advent season.

The two things I would encourage most would be the Eucharist and Confession. Spend more time receiving and adoring the Eucharist and get to Confession more often. There are ample times to get to Confession; all you need to do is commit and show up. Use a good examination of conscience to prepare and give all your sins to the Lord. Jesus loves you and wants you home with Him – be not afraid. Confession exists for one reason, to help you! If Advent is about preparing for Jesus, then spend more and more time with Him in the Eucharist. We know He is there, so why not spend time with Him. In a season where there seems to be no time at all, spend your best time with Him, in a certain sense, waste time with Him! Spend more time in silence – consider turning off the radio in the car, the television, iPhone, etc. Pray a Daily Rosary and reflect upon the Joyful Mysteries. Look for opportunities to make the season about Jesus and not about gifts, food, and obligations. Give to the poor more than you give to your own family.

Let us not forget to be joyful missionaries in this season of hope. Let us pray together
God, you gave us the gift of Jesus Christ, so we trust you are with us and ever shall be. We who have much to do seek a quiet place to listen. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your peace. We who are blessed in many ways long to be busy for others. We whose hearts are heavy seek joy, even so. Come, Lord Jesus!

Amen.
Fr. Shafique

Our Lady and a Bumpkin

My Dear St Mary Family
Greetings from your Pastor, who you should know is a simple “bumpkin” from a very small village in Pakistan.

God’s plans often surprise. For Mary, her plans were to become a wife and mother with 51354328_10156301266068214_3308203056574758912_nJoseph; God’s angel asked her to accept a different plan. For me, I had planned to stay at St Jude as pastor for as long as possible. God’s, and St Mary’s plans for me were otherwise.

Mother Mary has always been an important part of my life. I believe that her intercessions continue to lead me to live God’s will: In Urdu, we pray “Salam a Mariam”, which I first learned while held by my mother, (now deceased). Two weeks before my ordination 26 years ago I was shot, and I prayed for Mother Mary to hold and heal me so that I could be ordained with my class, which I did. My first visit to the United States in 2001, coordinated by Bishop Don Hanchon, who I had met in Indonesia and again in Cairo, was a two month stay at Queen of Peace (Mary, Queen of Salam in Urdu!). In 2009, extremists attacked our parish church and burned many of our parishioner’s homes: 9 parishioners were killed and over 160 of our families were displaced. As a community, we met at our Parish’s grotto and prayed for Mother Mary to help us to heal. In 2011, I came to USA to continue to find healing.

Praying to St Jude and St Mary, I found a home at St Jude Parish in Detroit. Last year in my hometown in Pakistan we dedicated a new church – St Mary of Barnala. Now St Mary, as her gift to me for my 25th Jubilee, has called me to a new parish, dedicated to her honor. The name St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy translates wonderfully into URDU
سینٹ مریم ہماری خوشی کا باعث بنتی ہے

I am so honored that I was chosen to become the pastor of this beautifully named parish.
Please continue to pray for our parish, for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Our Mother Mary. I ask that you also pray for me, your Pastor, as well.

Amen and May God Bless St Mary, Cause of Our Joy Parish.

Fr. Shafique