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A fresh start in times of darkness

While the calendar marks January 1 as the first day of the new year, and the liturgical year begins the first Sunday of Advent, I feel that new year excitement now – in the fall.  Children across the country have begun their annual adventures in learning. It is the first semester of school. This season has its own sounds and smells – the colors of new crayons, the smell of wax on classroom floors, the sound of pens and pencils scratching across paper. When I was a student, fall was the time of new beginnings, of fresh starts.

Then, as a teacher, I relished the sight of my students, who were returning after a long summer. Despite the occasional grumbles and complaints, there was a freshness to their attitudes – and an eagerness to learn something new, to start the cycle again.

In this issue, you’ll  read about the 10th  anniversary of the Office of Pastoral Planning – an outgrowth of our diocese’s Voices process. Through this, we have all worked together to have a fresh start in every parish – to infuse our Catholic communities with a renewed sense of purpose and vigor. It is a chance for new beginnings.

You’ll also read about the promises a priest makes at ordination – a profound new beginning  in his life. In this Year for Priests, FAITH is focusing on what we as priests are called to be – how we can serve God’s people as Sister Ann encourages all of us to do in her Spiritual Fitness column.

It is somehow fitting that this time of newness coincides with the arrival of the coldest and darkest time of the year. It is a reminder to us that from the cold and dark of the tomb, Jesus – and through him, we – experience resurrection. He brings the light and warmth of his hope and love to all of us. And so our journey in FAITH continues.