My Sisters and Brothers in the Lord:
"I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,... Do not conform yourself
to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the
will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect" (Romans 12:1-2).
Grace, peace and love from Christ Jesus our Lord and Liberator, be with your spirit. My recent
retreat at the Holy Land (Israel), offered me a great opportunity for prayer and personal
reflection on my ministry here at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church. I can truly say that God has
truly blessed me and our parish family as a whole. I thank you for your faithfulness,
commitment, dedication, love and support of our Historic Church. For us as Christians, a call to
discipleship is not about us but the Almighty God who calls each one of us by name and invites
us into the service of one another. We have come this far by faith as a parish community, yet the
unknown road ahead of us calls for us to come to chat a path to greater heights of peace, joy,
prosperity and evangelization. Through my prayerful reflections and mediations, as to how far
we have come as a family I was reminded of the song writer, Paul Jones, who penned the lyrics:
"I've had some good days; I've had some hills to climb; I've had some weary days; And some
sleepless nights. But when I look around; And I think things over; All of my good days; Outweighed
my bad days; I won't complain."
Surely, we should not complain for God through His Only Begotten Son, has truly blessed us.
Let's therefore count our blessings throughout this passing year and say, "Thank you Lord".
Again, our good and gracious God has also demonstrated His great love for us through the
Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose birth we celebrate with great joy. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, (John 3:16).
During the Christmas holidays, I will like you, from Christmas Day until December 31st, New Year's Eve, for all of us as a parish family, to
pray for each other, for our family and friends, our City, State, Nation and for our Church. I
would also want you, my St. Peter Claver parish family, to take some time and prayerfully,
mediate on Romans 12:1-21. I see this coming New Year, 2017, as transformative year for our
parish community. This would be a year of spiritual growth, unity and great breakthroughs.
Looking at everything happening around us we do not have the luxury to focus on the small
stuff. We need to focus on the most important things which will renew our strength so that we
can soar as with eagles' wings. So, as you mediate on the sacred scripture (Romans 12:1-21)
please take three pieces of paper and complete this task for your personal, professional and
Write on the first sheet what you want God to bless you with personally (personal goals) in 2017.
On the second sheet write what you want God to bless you with as it pertains to your profession
or job. On the last sheet I want you to write where you want God to take us (St. Peter Claver
Church) and what you are willing to commit to the church, to realize the goals you set for our
parish. Please, fold the three papers separately and on New Year's Mass I want you to bring all
three folded papers with you to church. During the Mass you will be asked to come forth for
Altar prayer and after praying you will place your folded sheets in the baskets that will be
provided. One basket will be for the personal goals, the second for professional goals and the
third for our parish's goals. We will lift all the requests in pray and bless them. I shall offer
thanksgiving prayer to God for granting your requests. I will not read the personal and profession
goals but for the church goals I will review and summarize so I can know and understand how
we can collectively and effectively serve the Lord our God, as the Body of Christ. I will keep
you all in prayer throughout the coming New Year.
As we mediate on the word of God, (Romans 12:1-21) let us remind ourselves that like Christ
we are to live a self-giving life. Such as Christ lived and taught us to imitate his spirit of
humility; by washing the feet of his disciples so should we also find humility in the service of the
church and our sisters and brothers. Love is not truly experience unless it is shared. So
therefore, let our love for Christ be manifested in our love in action and indeed.
As we usher into a New Year, let's have the commitment of Joshua to the service of the Lord.
Joshua 24:15 states “If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will
Serve the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose
country you are dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. "
Before I conclude I would like you to do one thing for me. Please take your right hand and place
it on your left shoulder. Then take your left hand and place it on your right shoulder. Now give
yourself a squeeze. This is my hug to you. You and your loved ones will be remembered in a
very special way in all the Holy Masses I will celebrate during this Christmas season.
May the Holy family; Jesus, Mary and Joseph strengthen your family and bless you with peace,
love, joy and happiness throughout the New Year.
Wishing you a Blessed Christmas, I am
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. J. Asare-Dankwah
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE - DECENMER 19, 2016