Thursday, December 14, 2017

December 2017 and A Christmas Message from Fr. Larry

We are wrapping up a busy year at The Reason for Our Hope Foundation. In December Fr. Larry stays in Erie and focuses on his parish: St. Joseph Church/Bread of Life Community. He will pick up speaking engagements again come January. He will be heading to Chicago to speak on January 3 at the Focus Conference. Then he heads to California on Jan. 12-13 for the 20th Annual Marian Eucharistic Conference in Paso Robles. On Jan. 18th he heads to San Diego for the Legatus meeting. His first Parish Mission is February 5-8 at St. Theodore in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

The Hope House Retreat Center has been doing well. We hosted Confirmation Retreats, Private Priest Retreats, Days of Reflection, and the Erie Diocese Seminarians. Our January schedule is booked for every weekend but one with Confirmation Retreats and a college group weekend retreat. We are looking forward to more Confirmation and RCIA retreats as Lent approaches in February.

The Foundation family grew as Caitlin and her husband welcomed a little girl in August, Aumia Rose.

The 22:32 Men and 1:38 Women have changed things up this year. Both Conferences will be held in the Spring of 2018. The Men will have their conference on March 3 and the Women on April 21. Both Conferences will be held at Our Lady of Peace Parish in Erie, Pa. For more information visit and Registration is now open for both conferences.

As always, with Christmas approaching we would like to include an excerpt from Fr. Larry's Christmas message:

Blessed Advent and Christmas Season!  I just love this season, for it is a time of joy, giving, and family!  

First, this is a time of great joy.  Everyone seems to be a little more joyful this time of the year.  We get caught up into the Spirit of God who is always giving and lifting us up.  When we really get into the Spirit of Christmas, the True Spirit of Christmas, we realize that we are rejoicing in the God who would not leave us alone, but keeps reaching out to us - even when we do not want Him to - He loves us so much!  One of the secrets of joy is realizing just how much we are indeed loved by the God of the Universe.  This is what is to give us joy this season and all days – we are loved! So, getting into the Christmas Spirit is not just about going out and buying lots of presents - it is about receiving the greatest present – God’s love!

After we have received the gift of God’s love, this gift is one that cannot be kept - we need to give it away!  The more we give the gift of God’s love, the more we receive it.  The presents we buy are to be symbols of God’s love and ours.  So, when you are buying gifts this season, always keep in mind that these gifts are symbols.  Symbols of love!  So please, do not get lost in the buying; get lost in the loving!

Finally, this season is about family.  It is one of the few times every year that my whole family gets together and, though, sometimes this can get a little tense, what a great gift it is just to be together and to know that this is what is most important in our lives – our family.  These are the people who know us and love us despite everything else. This has been especially true for me as we have dealt with my mother’s sickness, and I thank all of you so much for your prayers for her healing! 

Fr. Stan Fortuna, a priest of the Friars of the Renewal, says the word family means -- F-A-M-I-L-Y:  “Forget - About - Me - I - Love - You!” Let us really try to live this during this special season.  This is not just your family at home, but everyone in your everyday life! We belong to each other, and we need to support and love one another and invite others to become part of our family! 
​So, I want to wish everyone a very Blessed Advent and Christmas Season.  

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 

~Caitlin Rydberg, the Marketing/Operations Coordinator