First Sunday of Advent

This Sunday, we begin the holy Season of Advent.  If you did not receive a Little Blue Book, last weekend, there are some at each of the church entrances, including large print editions as well as a couple of books translated into Spanish.  Those in the main entrance of church are in the pamphlet rack.  Also, in the pamphlet rack, there are a variety of other spiritual booklets that you may find spiritually helpful these advent days.

 The Advent Angel Giving Tree is in the main entrance of Church as well.  Please take a tag or two to help out those in need this Christmas. All gifts need to be returned to church by the weekend of December 12/13 so that those in Christian Service Ministry may have time to gather, sort, and prepare those gifts for the families and individuals we are helping out this year. 

As you think about the ways in which you want to spiritually prepare yourselves for Christmas this Advent Season, do make sure to check out the various opportunities being provided each of these four Sundays after Mass along with the regular weekday liturgies.  Also, please take note of the Vicariate Penance Liturgies that will take place at Saint John Vianney Church, Holy Family Church, and Saint Stephen Church (Saint Dominic Parish) in December as well as the opportunities in our area for private Confessions.

The Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent has Jesus speaking about the end times and some of the signs that will be part of the experience when the Lord comes again in glory.  It is a difficult Gospel passage to explain because it is written in an apocalyptic style.  I have decided to borrow and share a reflection on today’s passage from Luke, written by J. Phillip Horrigan who writes for “At Home with the Word” published by LTP (Liturgy Training Publications).  He says the following regarding the description Jesus gives about the end of the world: “The cosmic predictions of Jesus are serious and foreboding; they get our attention.  Scripture scholars tell us that this is not literal language, but a figure of speech that communicates a profound spiritual message.  This style of prophetic preaching awakens us to God intervening in human affairs.  The coming of the Son of Man will indeed transform the world and its peoples.  How shall we prepare for such an astonishing event?  Jesus tells us to be vigilant - not because God intends to frighten or destroy us, but because God has great things in store for those whom God redeems.” (Copyright 2105)

 The first two weeks of Advent focus on the end times, when Christ will come again in glory.  As we further reflect on the Gospel this week, let us ask ourselves how we prepare daily to meet Christ in whatever way he may come to us that day.  Let us also ask ourselves how we deal with the tribulations that come our way; they may not be as extreme as those mentioned in the Gospel, but they certainly may be a source of stress in our lives.  Do we panic or do we turn to Christ who is always there for us?

I want to give you an update on the monitor speakers for the sanctuary. The contract was signed, and the speakers have been ordered and paid for.  Mark Simoni is making another visit to the church (along with Joe who will be doing the actual work); this will have occurred the morning before Thanksgiving.  At that time they will have determined the placement of the speakers and wiring, and hopefully will give us an indication of when the work will be done.  I do know they have a few major projects going on in churches that need to be completed before Christmas.  I will keep you posted as to the timing of the installation of the monitor speakers.  

Special thanks once again to all who had anything to do with making the parish Thanksgiving dinner such a success!  The dinner was most delicious.  We really do have some good cooks and bakers in our parish, along with some very committed individuals and hard workers.  The last number I heard that were served dinner is 286 people.  I am not sure how many meals went out to homebound parishioners. I heard many comments about how much people enjoyed the dinner.  I am sure that all who were present for the Thanksgiving meal, couldn’t help but notice how much more light we now have in the gym with the new lights.

People have been asking about what happened to the front entrance of my house.  At nearly 6:00 AM on Thursday, November 12, a vehicle driven by a 36 year old man, allegedly went through the stop sign at Church Street and Shattuck, and sailed through the parking lot (after hitting the curb several times) and slammed into the porch, doing quite a bit of damage to the grass, surrounding shrubs, and the porch as well as the roof over the porch.  The car was in pretty bad shape and I am not sure how the man (who was taken to the hospital) is doing.  The same day of the crash, the porch area was reinforced and secured with caution tape.  By this past Tuesday, we were able to obtain an accident report and send it to our Insurance Company (Gallagher Bassett) who will very likely submit a claim to the other party’s insurance company once the bid for the work comes in (hopefully by Wednesday of this coming week).  Presently, I have to use the church side doors and the hallway entrance on the other side of the sacristy in order to enter and exit my house.

There will be a make-up session for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (who were unable to attend a meeting this past Saturday) on Saturday, December 5 at 10:00 AM in church.

Blessings on your Advent Days!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ