If we live the Baptism we have received in Jesus’ Holy Spirit, our happiness, our joy, and even our redemption is assured. Even though 2014 is already forecasted to repeat some of the challenges of 2013, all of us at St. Rita should feel all the more determined to make the pastoral life and ministry of our parish as vibrant as ever—precisely because challenging times beg the motivation and strength that we stand to gain and to share by our “being Church,” by our being faith-filled and hope-filled. From the water of our Baptism comes the Spirit—the Spirit of understanding and knowledge, of counsel and fortitude, of wisdom and piety, and of a holy fear of the Lord. More than looking for those gifts of the Holy Spirit to somehow fall on us, the true Christian looks and prays for those gifts to come through us for the sake of building up God’s kingdom on Earth. What Isaiah declares about God’s Servant, Jesus, is true for each and every one of the baptized: “I, the Lord, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand.”
On this solemnity of Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan River, I feel a certain excitement as pastor of St. Rita. It is a feeling of our parish growing and emerging as an effective and living Roman Catholic faith community, ready to be strong in witness and desire to serve. It is the assurance that a parish that proclaimed a pastoral plan in 2006 and that has already made great strides in its implementation, is now poised to further that plan by establishing a firm foundation for our expanding ministries. All of this, of course, so that we may experience the same Holy Spirit that hovered over Our Lord to say likewise, “This is my beloved St. Rita Parish in whom I am well pleased!”
Treasures from our Tradition
Through the centuries, artists and craftspeople have depicted Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River by John. At first in mosaics and frescoes, and later in tapestries, stained glass, and paintings, the scene is familiar. Jesus is standing waist-high in flowing water. Above him, standing on dry land, John the Baptist pours water over Jesus. The first artists to depict this were sketching from memory. This is exactly how most people were baptized in the early days: as adults, standing or kneeling in the water, with water poured over their heads.
—Rev. James Field, J.S. Paluch Co.