Dear Parishioners,

Today we celebrate the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. Israel was sustained throughout count- less struggles by God’s word revealed in the law. We Christians do not identify ourselves by the same criterion, but by a larger sense of law disclosed by Jesus, the living revelation of God. His ministry proclaimed a new law rooted in love that is lived out on behalf of others. A liberating law, it requires a searing focus and discipline by us as individuals and as a community. Providentially, the same Spirit that animated Jesus animates us.

Next Sunday, February 3, we will celebrate the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Who really wants to be called upon to change, let alone promote it in others? The prophets surely didn’t, and Jesus early on heard the reaction to his sermon among his own people. Next weekend’s readings remind us that our faith is grounded in God’s word. That always involves the call to be and live differently. Just as God’s love sustained others, we are equipped with spiritual gifts, especially love, to respond to that same call.

The Feast of Saint Blaise, Bishop and Martyr, is celebrated each year on February 3. This year it falls on a Sunday. The priests here at Saint Monica will give a “general blessing,” permitted in the Book of Blessings, to all who are in attendance at Mass next Saturday night and Sunday. If you would like to have an individual blessing, during the recessional hymn you may come up and we will give you an individual blessing. I’m sure you all know about the blessing of throats, with the story that Saint Blaise cured the throat of a young girl who had a fish bone stuck the throat. Since that time there has been a devotion to him for “ailments of the throat and every other evil.” This is a powerful sacramental, so I hope you would avail yourself of the opportunity.

Catholic Schools Week: Sponsored by National Catholic Education Association, Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. This year it begins today, January 27, and runs through next weekend. We will have an Open House today, special Masses, espe- cially on Wednesday, January 30th, and various other activities throughout the week. Through all these activities, here and throughout the country, we will try to focus on the value Catholic education pro- vides to young people and its contributions to Church, local communities, and the nation. This year’s theme is Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed. I hope that many of you will take the time to tour our school on Sunday and see the improvements and the potential for future growth. Please pray for all of us as we celebrate this special week.

Principal Search: By now you should have heard that our principal, Mrs. Genny Callier, will not be returning here as principal for the 2019-2020 school year. During these past three years she has done a great job of putting the emphasis on bringing the school into the 21st Century, especially in the area of technology. She has revamped the Pre-School and made it more in line with the guidelines presented by the Archdiocese for Catholic Parish Pre-Schools. Since I am writing this on Thursday, January 17, prior to my pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I can’t tell you much about the Search Committee being set up for finding a new principal. But I can tell you that the committee will be representative of the school and parish communities. Please pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in seeking a new principal for our fine Catholic Parish School.

Catholic Men for Christ: The annual Conference for the Catholic Men for Christ will be this coming Saturday, February 2. It will be held at UMSL’s Touhill Performing Arts Center. (I put the following in the bulletin of January 6, but it bears repeating!)  The Conference is ALWAYS a tremendous opportunity to hear dynamic speakers, celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and participate in a very moving, Spirit Filled Mass. All men, high school on up, are cordially invited. Guided by the Four Pillars — Conversion, Reconciliation, Discipleship, and Evangelization. The Catholic Men for Christ Conference is dedicated to building the Kingdom of God in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and beyond by engaging, educating, and encouraging Catholic men to live their faith and to lead their families in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Catholic Men for Christ are men of faith, men of action, catalysts for good and warriors against evil. The goals of the conference are straight-forward:• The attendees will be more open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their life; • The conference introduces, educates, emboldens and refocuses the attendees on their roles as the spiri- tual leader of their homes and communities; • Attendees, once energized, will help to build the Kingdom of God through a renewed personal faith and vocation to their families; The attendees will be empowered as the faith leader of their families; The attendees will be encouraged to participate in acts of charity and service in their parishes, communities, and diocese. The doors open at 8:00 A.M.  It concludes with Mass at 4:00 P.M. Prices: $45.00, January 1 – February 1; $50.00, at the Door/Day-Of; $15.00 Student. NEW THIS YEAR! Deacon price is $10.00. Deacons must call the Box Office to purchase ticket at 314.516.4949 or purchase their ticket at the Box Office. Priests and Seminarians can register for free. Please call the Office of Marriage and Family Life at 314.792.7185 To register, visit or call the Touhill box office at 314.516.4949. For information, call 314.792.7183. I hope the men of the parish would prayerfully consider attending.

I received the following from Father Jim Benz, Pastor of Saint Cletus Parish, in Saint Charles. A PARISH MISSION WITH FR. SIMEON GALLAGHER Father Simeon Gallagher, OFM Cap., will give a four-evening Mission at St. Cletus Parish, 2705 Zumbehl Road. St. Charles, Monday, February 11, through Thursday, February 14. Each session will begin at 7:00 P.M. and end at 8:30 P.M. Father Simeon’s topic will be “A Spirituality for Relationships.” Please call St. Cletus 636.946.6327 for more information. All are welcome!

Please remember we will have the 40 Hours Devotion here at Saint Monica February 17 – 19. More on that next week. AND we will have our own Mission, with dynamic Catholic lay evangelist, Hector Molina, the three days leading up to Ash Wednesday, March 3, 4, and 5, at 7:00 P.M. More coming on that, too! BUT please mark your calendars now.

As I already said this was written on January 17, prior to the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I hope it went well. Assuming we got there and did what we were supposed to do, please remember that you were prayed for at all the Holy Sites, especially at the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, the “Wailing Wall,” of the former Temple, and on the Mount of the Beatitudes. Thank you for your prayers for all of us! More about the pilgrimage next week.

Faithfully yours, Father Joe Weber