Dear Parishioners:“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” as the song that typifies the Season of Advent calls forth. Yes, we begin this Sunday the time of preparation and prayer of the coming of Christ at Christmas. We begin the season by blessing the Advent Wreath and marking the First Sunday of Advent. The priests don violet vestments to remind us of the somberness of the season. The gospel reminds us this weekend to “be vigilant at all times and pray.” Advent is also a time to prepare for the second coming of the Lord. We say in the Creed, He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. This truth flows directly from Scripture which teaches clearly two things on which we must reflect. First, He will come again in glory. Second we cannot know the day or the hour that he will return. In fact, though some signs will precede his coming, the emphasis of Scripture falls upon the suddenness of the event. Since this is to be the case we must live lives of readiness for that day. Advent is a time when we especially reflect of the necessity of our readiness.
In the midst of the frenzied season of shopping, card writing, baking, wrapping, decorating, and going to parties, it’s important to remind ourselves why we do all this and more! Advent is a time for each of us to stop and listen to the voice of God in our lives. Perhaps we might consider beginning our Advent Day by coming to Daily Mass during the week, turning off the radio and praying the Rosary on the way to work, or reading the scriptures of the season to begin our day. Take some time to prepare the way for Christ with prayer and devotion.
Here at OLM we will also celebrate the Season of Advent by helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Next weekend our OLM Youth Group will be collecting toiletries for McAuley House after all Masses. They also just recently raked the leaves at the homes of some our parish shut-ins. You can see them in action on our parish webpage (www.olmparish.org). So please consider helping them help the needy during this season. The OLM Outreach Ministry is again placing an Advent Sharing Tree in the vestibule of Church. There is need of gift cards and money cards for the needy. You can also take an envelope and purchase a Christmas gift for an elderly resident at the Jeanne Jugan Residence.
Your great and generous response at Thanksgiving enabled us to prepare and distribute many baskets for the needy in our own area. Also because of your generous support of the Outreach Ministry we were able to send a check for $1,000 to McAuley House to help them with their many services for the homeless. In their name, I thank you for your generous and faithful support of the needy and the poor.
Next Saturday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Mother Mary under this title is the patroness of our nation and so it is a holy day of obligation for Catholics. There are three Masses for the holy day including a Vigil Mass on Friday. Please join us as we honor our national patroness and our Mother, Mary.
I am very grateful for the many parishioners who were so generous and supportive in responding to the Annual Collection. It is a great start to helping us with capital improvement costs. One of them was the purchase of new hymnals for $11,000. These hymnals which we begin using this weekend, provide updated translations of the revised Roman Missal as well as the scriptures. They also provide a wide variety of hymns and settings for our worship at Mass. They should last for over a decade like the old ones.
Also my thanks goes out to the members of our Confirmation Class for their coat drive before Thanksgiving. Hundreds of coats were donated and were given for those most in need of them. Thanks to all who donated them! With the cold weather now arrived, they are a blessing for many.
Have a great week. Celebrate the Advent Season! Stop, pray and listen for He is coming! God Bless. Go Pats!