Dear Parishioners: On Monday as we celebrated the Holyday of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I also distributed report cards to our OLM school students. It’s always a privilege to do so to our fine students who are so well taught by our outstanding faculty. The report cards were very good as we are blessed with students who work hard, study hard and are dedicated to their studies. We are blessed to have such a fine school as OLM where students not only are provided academic excellence but also most importantly taught the Catholic Faith by word and example on a daily basis.
In our secular age when Christmas is becoming the Winter Holiday and God is removed from the public square, how blessed we are to have a fine parish school where the faith is practiced and God made welcome every day. At OLM School during the Advent Season our students are taught the value of patience and prayer as they joyfully anticipate the coming of Christ. In very concrete ways they are taught to serve God and neighbor. As they study the rigors of math and science they also are taught Christian Charity on a daily basis. This is done unabashedly and proudly as the students learn to think not only of themselves but of those less fortunate and those suffering in need. Whether its helping the good folks at McAuley House serve the poor and homeless or supporting the Keep the Heat On Fund, the OLM School students, faculty and families strive to serve others first and foremost. It is clear that OLM School makes a difference in our community and in our world and we should all be proud of the school and her continued mission of mercy.
How is your Advent going? Have you been able to slow down and pray? Have you made a good confession? Have you put God at the top of the list of things to do this season? Advent moves quickly as does the world around us this time of year. Take some time in the next week to stop, pray and reflect on the real meaning of the season. God came to us in human flesh at Christmas not so we would spend hours waiting in lines to shop and spend but rather that we might spend our time trying become more like Him, more Godly!
One great way to stop and reflect on the Season of Advent is to take place on Monday night at 7:00PM. I invite you to join us for a celebration of Advent Vespers as we gather to sing and pray the psalms and songs of the season. We are grateful that Bishop Evans is to lead our time of prayer especially as Monday marks his fifth anniversary of ordination as a bishop. Also I am so pleased to have Father Richard Valentine, the Pastor of St. Michael's Parish in Smithfield, offer a reflection on Advent. I hope you might join us for thirty minutes of prayer, song and reflection as we celebrate the true meaning of the Season of Advent. The mall can wait, join us on Monday night! The Lord is near, let us rejoice!
This week we move into what is traditionally known as the Late Advent Season as we begin to pray and recite the “O Antiphons” from December 17th through December 23rd. In the bulletin this week we have included an explanation of the “O Antiphons” as well as a prayerful reflection for you to use during this time. It is during these Late Advent Days that our preparation and prayer for the coming of Christ becomes more intense as we joyfully anticipate his arrival and the celebration of his birth on Christmas.
Advent is a season of vigil that calls us to remain vigilant for Christ in our lives. During the busiest days preceding Christmas we are called to watch in prayer and with patience for the signs of Christ’s coming to bring us His peace. Christ comes not in the past nor in the future but Christ comes to us in our everyday life and in our world today. Let us prayerfully prepare room for Him in our hearts, homes and world! We rejoice in the Lord on this Gaudaute Sunday because His arrival is near. May these next weeks be a time of rejoicing in the Lord with prayer and patience, charity and love, generosity and faith, hope and mercy! Have a great week, celebrate Advent! God Bless. Go Pats!