Voices of Faith

The First Sunday of Advent

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Dear Friends:

“The days are coming…” As we begin a new year in the life of the Church with the beginning of Advent this weekend, we focus our attention on the whole reason for our practice of the faith: to be with Jesus who wants to be with us. He is Emmanuel, the name which means “God is with us.” During Advent we sing “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” expressing our desire for God’s presence. In the midst of pain, heartbreak, frustration, or fear, we can come to embrace the sense of longing and yearning for something better.

All around us, the world has jumped immediately into Christmas. In the Church, we do something altogether different. Before we celebrate Christmas, these days of Advent help us to align our hearts with the Church’s longing for the Savior. We can only celebrate that Christ is born for us when we recognize our need and our desire to be with him. I invite you, in the rush of preparations for Christmas, to find some rare quiet moments to reawaken that sense of longing, desire, and expectation for the Lord. We have ample opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Advent as a means of preparing our hearts. Our Advent Day of Reconciliation is Thursday, December 20.

Next Saturday, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This is our national patronal feast, and it is a holy day of obligation (this feast, along with Christmas, maintains its holy day status even when it falls on a Saturday or Monday, adding to the confusion about holy days!). The schedule of Masses is found on page 3 of this bulletin.

Throughout the season of Advent, there are many ways to exercise charity through our various outreach efforts: the poor box collections, the Advent giving trees, and the Adopt-A-Family programs all provide opportunities to share our blessings with those in need even as we are tending to our own families and friends. Please take some time to show your support and help us to help those in need this Christmas.

God’s peace,

Fr. Rick