Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year

12-23-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

It is another great year and a special opportunity for me to wish you my dear beloved family of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year 2024, as your Pastor. As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior today and throughout this season, I want to thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon us individually and as a community since our last Christmas celebration. As a community, I am sure, these blessings are numerous to count.

However, at individual levels, this particular celebration might never be the same again for some of you because of the loss of dear ones. There are some hearts in our community that will be broken on Christmas morning when that one special person is not there to share a meal or even open their gifts with us. My heart goes out in sympathy to you all. For those of us whose children and spouses and loved ones are with them, rather than just rushing for the gifts, today let us first offer each other a hug of gratitude and a prayer in memory of these “absent” members. Let us take this opportunity to remember that even in these darkest hours of loss, there is still light, light that is brighter than that great star over Bethlehem, which will take us to the place where we need to be. It will take us to that innocent little baby born for us in Bethlehem who will heal our brokenness, our loneliness and remove our anger and our hurt and fill us with the peace and strength we need to not just move forward but to reclaim the life and joy that is ours as individuals and as this wonderful community of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

At a personal level, I want to thank you for the incredible strength that you have been for me during this year and for lifting me up in your thoughts and in your prayers as I adjusted to my new life as a diocesan priest among you and this past year and as your pastor these last five months. In particular, I want to thank the special group of our women called “The Seven Sisters” who continually pray for us your priests here at our parish 24/7. Personally, I am also overwhelmed by your tremendous love for me. Many of you have told me over and over again how blessed you are to have me as your Pastor. I am very humbled by this, but I want you also to know how blessed I consider myself to be your Pastor at this point in my priestly life. You all mean a lot to me, and I pray for you daily. Together, dear friends, let us help each other on our journey towards heaven.

Lastly, I request for your special prayers as I travel home to Uganda to join my family and spend some time with them. During the year, I have lost some close relatives and some of my nephews and nieces and a sister all continue to battle mental health issues. I will be having a special prayer service for them next month. Please, keep me in your prayers as I leave for Uganda on December 26, 2023, for my vacation and for that purpose as well and I will return early February.

May the newborn baby Jesus bless you and your families most abundantly. As I always tell my dear beloved children at our OLMC school whom I truly love so much, I also tell you, I love you, I love you, I love you so, so much! Merry Christmas!