With only a week until Christmas, Bishop Timothy Senior celebrated a Vigil Mass on December 16 – Gaudete Sunday, the third week of Advent – at the Church of the Holy Infant in Manchester. Father William Forrey, pastor and Diocesan Vicar General, warmly welcomed the bishop and expressed his appreciation for his compassionate leadership and dedication to traveling around the Diocese extensively in his first six months to meet the faithful.
In his homily, Bishop Senior expressed that “Gaudete” means “rejoice,” taken from the teachings of St. Paul in his New Testament epistles. “Sometimes joy can elude us this time of year because we can be surrounded by sadness in the world…. Only God can bring that joy that lasts when we invite Him into our hearts. It takes humility to ask God to come to us…, and when we open our hearts in humility…God is saying, ‘Open your heart to what I want, not what you want,’ and that is how we find joy.”
Bishop Senior said it is important to let the Holy Spirit direct us in taking that joy to others, to share it so people see joy in us. “Is there a better time of year to practice forgiveness, no matter how small or big the hurt, than at Christmas?” Bishop Senior asked.
After Holy Mass, parishioners celebrated the season with a covered dish social and fellowship time in the parish hall. In 2016, the new Holy Infant Church was dedicated by former pastor, Bishop Edward Malesic, now Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, and Bishop Ronald Gainer. The parish dates back to the 1920s when its humble beginnings began as a mission church (St. John’s Chapel in Saginaw) to Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in York. In May 1972, Bishop Joseph Daley established Holy Infant Parish as an independent parish located in the hamlet of York Haven, which is nestled on the banks of the Susquehanna River.
The parish serves five boroughs and three townships along the western shore of the river between New Cumberland and York.
(Photos by Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness.)
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness