Notes from Fr. Michael – December 1, 2017

Another Advent Season is upon us! Black Friday is gone, Cyber Monday has expired, and now the Advent wreaths remind us what we try to be about. We look back remembering His birth, but we also look forward to remembering His promise to return again in glory. This is hard to do if we get all caught up living only in the present without a rootedness in our history, traditions or faith. May the Holy Spirit share the graces and wisdom we need to be faithful on this journey. Advent calendars, Advent shopping, Advent concerts, Advent Masses, Advent meals, Advent Holy Days, Advent prayers help all of us to keep rooted not just in the past but filled with Advent joy to look ahead to Christmas. God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to be our Savior and Messiah. Forgetting this truth in our celebrations provides us only with a superficial faith and experience of Christmas. Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary became flesh for our salvation/redemption. We rejoice in the miracle of births in our families and so too we ought to rejoice in the remembrance of our Savior’s birth. How will you and your family celebrate this year?

 Advent is filled with opportunities to remember, rejoice and celebrate our rich traditions. December 6 is the Feast of Saint Nicholas, and many countries enjoy time honored gift traditions for children on this day. Saint Ambrose’s feast Day is December 7, and he was instrumental in St. Augustine’s conversion. On December 8, a Holy Day of obligation, we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, God preserving her from original sin from the first moment of her life. On December 12, we remember Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe, and on the following day we celebrate Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia) on December 13. One last major day after Christmas is Saint Stephen Day on December 26. All these celebrations assist us in remembering how loved and blessed we are by God. We will also be having a Parish Penance Service on Tuesday evening, December 12 at 7 p.m. All parishioners are most welcome to share this opportunity for prayer and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). There will be additional visiting priests assisting, too.

I do hope this Advent Season will be one of spiritual growth within the parish and for all parishioners. We continue to pray that the Lord may prepare the hearts of parishioners and our parish to receive a new Administrator as we move forward. Saint Mary Parish has and will continue to be blessed with talented parishioners and priests bringing the Good News of Christ Jesus to others.