AA034250Dear Parishioners:Happy Advent!  We re one week into the solemn season of joyful anticipation of Christ’s coming.  How is Advent going for you? Have you taken a little time away from the “mad rush” to Christmas?  A little more time for prayer, a little more time for God and a little more time in prayerful preparation is not a bad way to truly prepare for the celebration of Christmas. In his homily on the first Monday of Advent, Pope Francis recalled that as we proceed towards Christmas, we embark on a journey of faith and prayer in preparation for our encounter with the Lord. “Because Christmas,” he said, “isn’t just a temporal celebration or the memory of a beautiful event.  Christmas is something more, Christmas is an encounter with the Lord. And as we make our way towards Him, we must go with open heart and faith, even though this is not  always easy in our times.” Pope Francis noted that the Lord does not always say to us what we want to hear, but: “He will tell me what is meant for me, because the Lord does not look at us all together, en masseHe looks each one of us in the face , in the eyes. His is not an abstract love; it is concrete," the Pope said.  And "letting ourselves be encountered by God means just this: letting ourselves be loved by God!”                               As we continue this  season of Advent, we  must continue to prepare spiritually for the coming of Christ.    Regular Mass attendance,  making a good confession, and making time for daily prayer, can  help us prepare the way.  Aso in the midst of this very busy and noisy world we can truly “encounter” our loving God with such practices.  So this Advent let us watch in hope and wait in faith for the coming of Christ. Many parishioners have commented on the new landscaping in front of the Church.  However, this project is quite complete as we are awaiting the placement of  two granite benches  on either side of the front doors.  Also we hope to soon light up the statue of the Sacred Heart.  The benches are available to be memorialized in memory of a loved one.  If you are interested, please contact me. We offer our thanks to the Reynolds Family at the Watson Mulch Company who generously donated the mulch and beautiful cobblestones for this project.  They are always very generous in supporting the landscaping  projects around the OLM physical plant,  in your name I offer my gratitude for their generosity. A few parishioners have also asked where the large Sacred Heart statue in the vestibule has gone.  Well, the statue has been taken out for repair.  We are fixing the broken fingers on the statue as well as  totally restoring and repainting it to its original condition.  The restoration takes a few weeks and I hope to get it back in the new year.  Once it is fully restored and the project completed we hope to find a prominent location for this statue inside the Church. I hope you enjoyed  Dominican Father Michael  O’Connor’s talk at Advent Devotions this past Monday.  We invite you join us again this Monday as our own, Father Connors is to offer a talk on the Christmas Scriptures at Advent Devotions.  These Devotions are  a wonderful opportunity for us to gather  before the Eucharistic Lord in  adoration and   reflect prayerfully on his Sacred Word. Part of preparing in Advent is marking our calendars for upcoming events.  I ask you to add the OLM School Pageant to your calendar.  It takes place this coming Friday night at 7:00PM in the Church.  It is always a festive season celebration of song and music.  Our OLM students and band have been diligently practicing and preparing for this big night so I hope you can join us.  I know you will truly enjoy it! This year the Second  Sunday  of Advent falls on  December 8th and as a result the Solemnity of the Immaculate  Conception has been moved to Monday, December 9th. Therefore, the Immaculate  Conception is not a Holy Day of Obligation this year. There  is a  Mass at 7:30AM only for the  Immaculate Conception. Have a great week.  Enjoy this Advent time of prayer and preparation.  Hope to see you at Advent  Devotions.  God Bless.