The Month of December 2018

My Friends,

“Are you ready…”
Archbishop Carlson reflects, in the piece that follows, on our Advent wait for the celebration of the coming of Christ, in history, in mystery, and in glory.  True to form he is characteristically brief and pointedly practical.  He asks, “Are you ready…”  And he offers reference points so that we can answer that with unvarnished honesty.  Take inventory:

“Advent is a time of preparation for the Lord's coming again at Christmas and at the end of time. Although Advent is not as strict a penitential season as Lent, the Church does call us to pray, fast and do good works while we ready ourselves for the future joy of Christ's coming.

“How do we know that our preparations have been successful? What are some of the signs of our being ready to once again welcome our Lord to our world and to our personal lives?

“I would like to suggest seven signs that we are ready for Christmas. If we do these things successfully, we can be confident that we will be prepared when Christ comes again

“1) Confession. Advent is a wonderful time to confess our sins and through the miracle of the sacrament of penance to receive God's forgiveness for anything -- and everything -- we have done to make ourselves unworthy of Him.

“2) Mercy. Once we have experienced God's forgiveness, it's important for us to forgive those who have sinned against us. Those who are closest to us are often hardest to forgive. Nothing ruins more Christmases than deep-seated family hurts that remain unforgiven.

“3) Communion. Celebrating Mass frequently during Advent allows us to be united with Christ in the holy Eucharist here and now, and this heightens our appreciation for His coming again at Christmas and at the end of time.

“4) Hospitality. The same warm welcome that we extend to our Lord Jesus Christ should be given to our family members, our neighbors and even to strangers -- the poor, homeless and infirm. Jesus welcomed everyone, and He calls us to do the same.

“5) Gratitude. During Advent we are called to thank God for the extraordinary gift-of-self that is the Incarnation. God so loved us that He gave us His only begotten Son. Are we sufficiently grateful for this miracle of God's grace and for all the gifts He has given us so abundantly?

“6) Generosity. In imitation of God's abundant generosity, we have the opportunity to give ourselves to others. The time we share with family and friends; the talents we use for the building up of God's kingdom; and the treasure we give away for the benefit of those whose needs are far greater than ours -- all are powerful signs that we are good stewards who will be ready when Jesus comes again.

“7) Joy. If we are faithful in doing the six things listed above, the anxious fears and heartaches that too often accompany this stressful time of year will be unable to rule us. If our preparation is genuine, we will experience the amazing joy and peace of Christmas. If we are people of mercy, hospitality, gratitude and generosity, surely God will forgive us our sins and enter our hearts and souls in a special way this Christmas!

“Are you ready for Christ's coming again this Christmas? I hope that you make good use of the Advent season!  But if you have not, it is not too late to assimilate those seven signs as the hallmarks that we are Alive in Christ!

“Find a quiet moment to examine your conscience. Ask for the Lord's forgiveness as you open your heart to Him. Be merciful to others. Welcome others (even strangers and enemies) into your heart by praying for them and helping them if you can. Be grateful. Share generously. And allow the incredible joy of this holy season to carry you beyond the commercial Christmas holiday to the depth and wonder experienced by simple shepherds on that most holy night 2,000 years ago!

“To be ready for Christmas, and, to be Alive in Christ, we have to set aside selfish and superficial things. With the help of God's grace, we have to shine the light of Christ into our dark and dreary world. And, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we need to let the love of Christ transform us -- and -- the world around us -- into people of peace and joy who are prepared to receive the Blessed Hope when He comes again!

You are invited
You are all invited to the yearly Appreciation Brunch hosted by our parish pastoral council with gratitude for your generous stewardship in support of our mission and ministry.  The date, this year, is Sunday, December 16th.  Brunch will be served in the parish hall, following the 10:00 am Mass.

Preserving the legacy
Thank you for your generous support – in all ways – of the mission and ministry of our parish. You know that our numbers – 55 households – are small, but your hearts are great!  Over and again you demonstrate that you are as generous to God as God has been generous to you!

This year marks my sixteenth, as pastor, celebrating Christmas with you.  As in previous years, I encourage you to consider a special year end gift to the parish.  We have been blessed by the generosity of those on whose shoulders we stand, and who provided, especially in the 1960 Plaza Square Renaissance here, a considerable reserve fund for preservation and restoration and improvements, to insure that ours is a future full of hope.  My aspiration is that we are able to grow that reserve fund through our own stewardship here and now, and so preserve that legacy.  Please, then, as the calendar year 2018 comes to a close, consider this possibility now!

Stewardship Offering Envelopes
Boxes of parish stewardship offering envelopes for the year 2019 will be available in the lobby of the main church entrance beginning the weekend of December 15th & 16th.  Boxes are labeled individually with the names of those of all households of record.  This distribution saves us the considerable expense of mailing the offering envelopes.  The envelopes are important for our record-keeping purposes, for those who do not make their offerings electronically, so that we can provide, at the end of the year, an accurate record of your stewardship offerings as you report them for tax purposes.

Keeping Time
Calendars for the Year of Our Lord 2019 will be available at the church entrances the weekend of December 15th & 16th.  You are welcome to take one.  We are grateful to the Kutis Family of Funeral Homes for generously providing them every year.

Archbishop Carlson has asked all pastors to acknowledge the catastrophic revelations of recent publication of details related to the abuse allegations made public, regarding now-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, the recent Grand Jury Report from the Pennsylvania State Attorney General.

You likely know that it was announced on August 20th, that Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has accepted Archbishop Carlson’s invitation that he review all files “for the purpose of making an independent determination of our handling of allegations of clergy sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.”
We acknowledged these catastrophic revelations last week, in the first intercession, which I personally composed, of the Prayer of the Faithful.  We repeated it again this week.  Join me, now, as we repeat, this prayer, yet again:

Rid the Church finally of the scandal & crime of abuse & the lack of effective response to this evil.
Impel bishops & all church leaders to right past wrongs & protect – especially – the most vulnerable.
Heal all who have been violated.  Remedy hurt & anger & disillusionment among the Catholic faithful.
Hasten the day that – soon – the Church will be more credibly Alive in Christ!
Let us pray to the Lord.

In Brief
Saturday, December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Holyday of Obligation.  Mass will be celebrated here at 9:00 am.

Copies of the Lector’s Workbook, with the Sunday Mass Readings for the new Liturgical Year which begins that day, are available in the sacristy.  The books are arranged in alphabetical order, by last name, listed on a label affixed to the cover of each book.  Lectors please claim your copy to prepare to proclaim effectively the Word of the Lord at Mass.
Monsignor Delaney