Living as Missionary Disciples | December 12, 2023

Facts about Christmas Carols

  • An Insurance Executive wrote “What Child is This?”. (1865)
  • An American Unitarian clergyman wrote: “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”. (1849)
  • John Henry Hopkins wrote: “We Three Kings” as a Christmas gift to his nieces and nephews. (1820)
  • Episcopalian Rector in Philadelphia wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem” for the children in his parish. (1868)
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” as a song of hope during the Civil War. (1863) 
Quote from Living as Missionary Disciples
People today put more trust in witnesses than in teachers. The witness of a Christian life is the first and irreplaceable form of mission.” Pg. 17

Special Event:

Msgr. Ray East

On Tuesday, Jan. 23 there will be a City Ministry Conference at St. Stanislaus Parish Hall (389 Peckham St. Buffalo) from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The keynote speaker is Msgr. Ray East. His topic will be: 

Doing More With Less – The Reality of Urban Ministry

Msgr. East is an African-American priest from the Archdiocese of Washington. He has been ministering in the inner city of Washington for 43 years. As a national speaker he brings the passion of his ministry to life. He continues to be on fire with the Holy Spirit. In one article Msgr. East said: “I try to encounter Jesus every day and share Jesus with others.”

Click here to register for the conference. The conference is free and lunch will be provided. We invite you to bring some non-perishable foods to be distributed among the parish food pantries. 


We dedicated last month’s newsletter (Nov. 21, 2023) to Christmas ideas. Click here to revisit that issue. 

Lent: Christmas leads to the Cross 

The third verse of the song We Three Kings is: Myrrh is mine, it’s bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom. Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying. Sealed in the stone cold tomb. Needless to say, most parishes do not use this verse at Christmas. Nor do we find greeting cards depicting the death of the innocent, the rage of King Herod or the late-night escape of Joseph and Mary. Yet these are also the realities of the Christmas story. A story that begins in a manger and ends on a cross. Ash Wednesday is only 9 weeks away. So I am compelled to use some of this newsletter around the theme of ashes, conversion and the cross. 

Booklet: When They Come What Makes Them Stay? 

Our Churches are full on Ash Wednesday but will they be full on the first Sunday of Lent? What will you do to make Ash Wednesday a real encounter with Christ for those who enter your doors. This booklet (When they come, what makes them stay?) will give you many suggestions for Lent. Remember to use the strategy offered by Rebuilt – get their First name, Last name, Email and Phone number. F-L-E-P.

Faith Sharing Opportunities during Lent: Eucharistic Revival Small Groups

The National Eucharistic Revival Office has created seven faith-sharing sessions entitled Jesus and the Eucharist Jesus and the Eucharist Small Group Study.. The topics are: What’s Our Story? Who is Jesus? Am I Saved? Why a Church? God Is with Us. The Story of the Eucharist and Bread for the Journey. Each session is 2 hours long. It is very user friendly. All you need is a facilitator for each group, a screen and equipment to watch the video. Handouts, trainings, videos and publicity are all available on line. The video leads you through every step of the session. Everything is available in English and Spanish. If you did Life in the Eucharist, this would be a great follow-up. When you click on the link Jesus and the Eucharist Small Group Study. you will receive the handouts, materials, video, publicity and training points to make this a success in your parish family.

Over 400 people have attended one of the LITE training session. Many groups have indicated that they will be offering LITE during Lent. If you are planning on doing LITE, please let Sr. Louise know so that it can be announced in the next newsletter. 

New Training for Life in the Eucharist

Family 18 will be hosting a training session on LITE. It will be held at St. Jude the Apostle Parish in North Tonawanda, on Sat. January 6. To register click here.


Alpha is an 11 week course in basic Christianity. Plan now to sponsor Alpha in your Family of Parishes. The diocese is encouraging the Family of Parishes to run Alpha during one of these time slots. 

  • The weeks of April 7 to June 16
  • The weeks of September 15 to November 24

The National Office of Alpha will provide training, support and a special Holy Spirit Retreat for all those who are interested in doing Alpha in 2024. Watch this newsletter for all of the opportunities that will be offered to your Family of Parishes. The key is prayer – we invite you to start praying now for all those who will be invited to Alpha. The national office holds a virtual prayer session the 3rd Wednesday of each month from 1:00 to 1:30 EST. This will begin in January. All are invited to participate. Begin your remote preparation in prayer. It will serve as a strong foundation. More information in the January 2024 newsletter.

Click here for a 2-minute video on Alpha. Introduction to Alpha

A webinar not to be missed!

Father Frank DeSiano will be having a Webinar on January 17, 2024 at 2 PM entitled RENEWING DISCIPLESHIP IN A NEW YEAR. As we begin 2024, how are we called to renew discipleship–and to help others grow in discipleship? Join Fr. Frank DeSiano of Paulist Evangelization Ministries as he explores the touchstones of Catholic spiritual life and discipleship. Those who attend will receive a special gift. Here’s the link to sign up.

Around the Diocese: 

Inclusive Christmas Mass, Wed. Dec. 27, 7:00 PM, St. Bernadette Parish, Hamburg. Sensitive to people with special needs the Mass will be interpreted in American Sign Language and will offer a shorter, less crowded worship setting allowing for freedom of movement as needed. The lighting will be dimmer, the music soothing and low gluten hosts will be available. For more information or to register:

Closing Chuckle:

I stopped believing in Santa Clause when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. (Shirley Temple)