Welcome to a new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent and another opportunity for us to enter in and be transformed by the paschal mystery, the dying and rising of Jesus. The length of the season of Advent has varied from time and locale, but in recent history it has spanned four weeks. The first two weeks direct our attention toward the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time. The last two weeks immediately prior to Christmas our attention is directed toward the first coming of the Christ-child in Bethlehem of Judea.
I look forward to our Sunday Masses when we gather as a community around the altar of God’s Word and the altar of Sacrifice. Let me encourage you to join us for daily holy Mass as another way to prepare spiritually for the celebration of the Nativity of our God on December 25. Untold benefits come to those who make the necessary sacrifices and carve out time for God at the beginning of their day. Our daily Mass schedule is available on the inside cover of the bulletin. The Sacrament of Confession is another wonderful way to begin a new liturgical year and prepare the ground of your heart in humility for the Incarnation of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Confessors are available weekly on Saturday afternoon in church at 3:30pm and on Tuesday evening in the Huhn Center at 5:30pm. We will also offer the opportunity for reconciliation during the first and last day of the Advent Vesper services. Advent Vespers begins every evening at 6:30pm in church from December 17 to December 23. We will pray together the traditional divine office (Vespers) as another way to listen to God’s Word and prepare for the divine Gift that is to come. Another spiritual opportunity is the Night of Prayer for Life that is organized by our Pro-Life committee. This takes place the evening of December 7. Please see the bulletin for details.
Mary, the Mother of the Savior was specially prepared for her vocation when God intervened and allowed her to be immaculately conceived, that is, without the stain of original sin. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception will be observed as a Holy Day of Obligation on December 8. We will have a Vigil Mass in church at 7pm on Monday, December 7. On Tuesday, December 8, we will have Masses at 6:30 and 8:15 a.m. in church as well as a 7:00 p.m. I want to thank everyone who were able to join our Thanksgiving Day celebration. It is always one of the most special Masses of the year. Our thanks also goes out to everyone who made some kind of a donation to the parish St. Vincent de Paul Society who do so much to care for the needy and poor. They cannot do their good work without your generous donations.
The 25 members of the parish Futuring Committee continues to meet with Lucien and Maureen, our consultants and guides. We hope to have a final version of our five-year plan by February 1st. Gathering the feedback, processing it with the Futuring Committee members and so forth takes time, especially during a busy season like this one. Please keep the discernment process and the entire Futuring Committee in your personal prayers.
You may or may not have noticed that we have refurbished all of our liturgical vessels – communion cups and ciboria – well worn through use. We are so grateful for the generous donation of Marnee Torchia and the estate of her recently deceased brother, Gary, that made this possible. These vessels have been restored to a dignity worthy of the gifts they contain, the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Fr. Paul J. Rothschild