Dear Parishioners: Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your holiday was truly enjoyable and you were able to spend some relaxing and celebrating with family. I was at my sister’s home in Saratoga, New York for Thanksgiving Dinner. This has been our family tradition for many years. After Thanksgiving Day Mass I drive up to New York with my two sisters to spend the holiday with my third sister, her husband, and family. The ride isn’t too long and the meal is always superb! Afterwards my brother-in-law and I get to watch a whole lot of football. He’s a NY Giant fan but he’s still a good guy!
Now that the Church Year has ended and the Thanksgiving Day Holiday has come and gone, we move into the Holy Season of Advent. While much of the world around us is telling us to hurry up, to shop, to buy, and to party, the Church tells us to pause, to prepare and to pray! So the season of joyful and prayerful anticipation of the coming of Christ begins again for us. Christmas is less than a month away, but before we panic and join the secular rush to celebrate anything but Jesus Christ, we need to stop and to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. It is our time to prayerfully and patiently say: “Come, Lord Jesus!”
No doubt our schedules are about to become busier and more hectic as we try to check off our lists of things to do, people to visit, parties to attend, cards to send and gifts to buy. However, we need to ensure that our lists include time for prayer with the Lord. Have you ever considered coming to Daily Mass at 7:30AM during the Advent Season? It is truly a great way to begin and prayerfully prepare for your day.
You might also consider going to Confession before Christmas to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. Here at OLM Confessions are heard on Saturdays at 3:00PM and Mondays at 6:00PM. In addition, right here at OLM we have scheduled ALL DAY CONFESSIONS on Saturday, December 13th from 9:00AM until 3:00PM. There are four priests hearing Confessions at all times so there are no lines. Also, on the Monday of Christmas Week, December 22nd, we are adding an extra hour of Confessions from 6:00PM until 8:00PM with some guest priests helping us.We welcome and celebrate Advent as we sing: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel!”, we pray: “Come, Lord Jesus!”, we prepare the way with our commitment to Christ and with our many good works. Advent is here, the Lord is near! Let’s get ready!
The arrival of the new Church Year on the First Sunday of Advent also means that we begin a new cycle of readings at Mass. The Lectionary, the book containing the readings for Mass, is arranged in two cycles, one for Sundays and one for weekdays. The Sunday cycle is divided into three years, labeled A, B, and C. In Year A, which just ended, we read mostly from the Gospel of Matthew. In Year B, which begins this weekend, we read the Gospel of Mark and chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. In Year C, we read the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of John is read during the Easter season in all three years.
We give thanks to the many people who so generously provided food for Thanksgiving Food Baskets. We delivered quite a few baskets in time for Thanksgiving, and included gifts cards, thanks to your generous support of the Outreach Collection. I thank those parishioners who have generously supported the Increased Giving Campaign. Many indicated they were increasing their level of support to OLM and I am grateful. I urge you complete the return envelope. Also, please consider giving online through the Electronic Fund Transfer service located on the parish webpage.
Advent begins today! Let us recall the Opening Prayer of Mass and truly “resolve to run forth to meet Christ with righteous deeds at his coming!” May this Holy Season of Advent truly be one of prayer, patience and preparation for the coming of Christ into our hearts, our lives, our families, our parish and our world! O Come, O Come Emmanuel! God Bless. Go Pats!