The Month of November 2017

My Friends,

We Cannot Live Without Hope
On Sunday, November 26, the Church round the world celebrates the Feast of Christ the King.  Though crowns and scepters and orbs and kingdoms are not familiar reference points for many of us, the true truth that this feast proclaims is a compelling one.  Jesus must be the center of our lives.  Jesus must be the turning point of our lives.  It must be, as the inscription in the wedding bands of a couple, friends of mine, asserts about their relationship: “You and no other”.  Is it so for you?  Our celebration of Christ the King turns on the truth that it is so!

The Season of Advent, then, begins on Sunday, December 3, when we inaugurate four-weeks-of-waiting for the three-fold-coming-of-Christ.  He came once in history.  He comes still in mystery. He will return ultimately in glory.  Spiritual writer Mark Searle puts the meaning of the mystery of the Advent Season into perspective.  These are his words:

“Human beings cannot live without hope.  Unlike the animals, we are blessed – or cursed – with the ability to think about the future and to gear our actions to shaping it.  So essential is this to human life that human beings cannot live without hope, without something to live for, without something to look forward to.  To be without hope, to have nothing to live for, is to surrender to death in despair.  But we can find all sorts of things to live for and we can hope for almost anything: for some measure of success or security; or for the realization of some more or less modest ambition; for our children, that they might be saved from our mistakes and sufferings and find a better life than we have known; for a better world, throwing ourselves into politics or medicine or technology so that future generations might be better off.  Not all these forms of hope are selfish; indeed they have given dignity and purpose to the lives of countless generations.

“One of the reasons why we read the Old Testament during Advent is to learn what to hope for.  The people of the Old Testament had the courage to hope for big things.  Clearly their hopes were no different from ours: lasting peace, tranquil lives, sufficiency of food, and end to suffering, pain and misery.

“We hope for the same things the people in Old Testament times, but we differ from them in two ways.  First, the coming of Jesus in history, immeasurably confirms and strengthens our hope.  It is sure and certain.  Secondly, our hope is different from that of those in the Old Testament, because Jesus has revealed to us that God is not far off.  God is already in our midst.  Hence the importance in the Advent liturgy of John the Baptist and of Mary.  They recognized this new circumstance.  They serve as models for the Church in discerning the presence of our Savior in the world”.

Giving Thanks
As we look to Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, 23 November 2017, a prayer attributed to Alcuin of York, dating from the eighth century, expresses well the gratitude we might all voice:

"Lord Christ, we ask you to spread our tables with your mercy.  And may you bless with your gentle hands the good things you have given us.  We knew that whatever we have comes from you.  And having received from your hands, let us give with equally generous hands to those who are poor, breaking bread and sharing our bread with them.  For you have told us that whatever we give to the poor we give to you."

Because of the Hungry Turkey Marathon beginning at 6:45 a.m. and the annual Downtown Thanksgiving Day Parade beginning downtown on Market Street at 8:45 a.m. Mass will not be celebrated here.  Thanksgiving Day Mass will be celebrated at the Old Cathedral, on the Riverfront, at 7:00 a.m. and at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church, at Lindell and Grand at 9:30 a.m.
“And counting…”

As in previous years, again this year, Archbishop Carlson has asked every parish in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to count the numbers of people attending each of the Masses celebrated in the parish church.  The purpose is two-fold.  One is to provide relevant information to our Priests Personnel Office about the numbers of Masses being celebrated in parishes, and the numbers of priests available to celebrate them, in light of the ongoing decline of active priests serving in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  The second is to begin assessing, realistically, how many Masses ought to be scheduled in each parish, according to the numbers of parishioners and the number of churches in close proximity to it where Masses are also celebrated.

The “count” dates this year were October 7-8, 14-15 and 28-29.  The numbers from our count have been forwarded after to the Office of the Archbishop.  We noted in the count the multiple marathons which impacted our attendance because of the street closures making access to the church difficult for those driving here.  The numbers we reported for the three weekends were: 5 o’clock Saturdays: 22, 16, 15; 7:30 Sundays: 12, 14, 15; and 10:30 Sundays: 7, 19, 59 (parish visit of Bishop Rivituso).

During our Parish Pastoral Council meetings, in recent months, we have considered what is the best path forward so that, when, as a parish family we gather on the Lord's Day, to celebrate the Eucharist, we best express the reality that we are, as the Eucharistic Prayer prays, "one body, one spirit, in Christ".  In the new year we will address this more specifically.

In Brief
We keep in prayer Dick Kirschman and John Hackett that God give them grace and peace in their ongoing recuperation from recent health challenges.

We share the joy of former parishioners Joe and Sara Harman Fisher, now members of St. Francis Borgia Parish in Washington, Missouri, following their marriage.  They welcomed on November 12th, Hazel Harman Fischer, their first-born.  She is proof-positive, in flesh and blood of the age old intuition of the Church, that “love creates life”.

On Sunday, November 26th, at 12:00 noon, we will baptize Hattie Rose Barker, daughter of Nick and Krystle Manini Barker and grandchild of Don and Kathy Barker. God keep them growing great.

Looking forward, Friday, December 8th the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Holyday of Obligation.  Mass will be celebrated here at 7:10 a.m.  For those preferring a noon Mass they are celebrated at the Old Cathedral on the riverfront and at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church.
Mark Your Calendars!
December 2nd & 3rd      Advent begins
                                        Food Pantry Collection
December 8th             Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception   (Holy Day of Obligation)  -  Mass 7:10 am
December 10th           Holiday Appreciation Brunch  -  following the 10:30 am Mass
December 17th           Decorate the church for Christmas  -  following the 10:30 am Mass
December 23rd           Vigil Mass of the Fourth Sunday of Advent  -  5:00 pm
December 24th           No 7:30 am Mass
                                                    Fourth Sunday of Advent   -  Mass 10:30 am
                                    Vigil Mass of Christmas  –  5:00 pm
December 25th           Christmas  (Holy Day of Obligation)  -  Mass 10:30 am
December 30th           Vigil Mass of the Feast of the Holy Family  -  5:00 pm
December 31st            No 7:30 am Mass
                                    Feast of the Holy Family  -  Mass 10:30 am
                                    Vigil Mass of the Feast of Mary the Mother of God  -  5:00 pm
January 1st                  Feast of Mary the Mother of God  -  Mass 10:30 am
 January 6th & 7th       Food Pantry Collection
January 13th  -  21st    “Fill The Hangers” Coat Drive

Monsignor Delaney