The Month of November 2019

My Friends,

A Time for Falling in Love

            As we “wait in joyful hope” to celebrate the Christmas-coming of Christ in history, in mystery and in glory, spiritual writer Joseph Difato captures the meaning of the mystery in a simple yet provocative way.  His words provide a context for reflection these holy days, this sacred season!

            “This is a time for falling in love.  This is the time when Mary and Joseph look up from the baby in the manger and invite us to gather around.  Even as they savor the moment, they are eager to share it with us as well, this ‘good news of great joy for all people’ as St. Luke proclaims it!

            “And so Joseph and Mary invite us to join them on their journey of discovery.  Here, says Mary, as she lifts her newborn from the hay.  He is yours too – He came for you!  Take him.  Hold him close.  Share in the love that Joseph and I have for this little one.

            “Like the angels’ birth announcement, the invitation is for everyone.  No one is left out – however unworthy, unspiritual, or unprepared we may feel.  So whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever your state today, receive this gift of Jesus.  Take the child in your arms.  Gaze on his face, and see how much he loves you.  Let him lock eyes with you, as babies will, so that he can search your heart and reveal you to yourself.  Let down your defenses, and fall in love with this Christ child – with God made flesh for you.

            “According to a wise and holy man, Jesuit Father Pedro Arupe, falling in love with God in this ‘absolute, final way’ is the most practical and far-reaching thing you could ever do.  He says:

            “’What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.  It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.’

            “Jesus comes!  The Word becomes flesh!  Fall in love with him.  Stay in love with him.  It will decide everything”!

A Simple Plan for Advent

            Recently, I read an article that suggests there are six habits to cultivate this sacred season so that we can better celebrate Christmas.  They are worth noting here!

            The first habit is: “Go to Mass more often”.  The writer is pointed.  “You might have to inconvenience yourselves a bit – get up earlier, give up a recreational activity, or have a quicker no-frills meal.  Offer the sacrifice for the sake of a friend or family member who needs God’s help.”

            Second habit is: “Pray together as a family”.  Among a number of suggestions, the writer encourages this one: “Pray the rosary, or pray just a decade at the end of dinner.  Short as it is, it builds family unity and launches the evening in a peaceful and orderly way.”

            The third habit suggests that we: “Offer short prayers during the day”.  Among them, he suggests verses from the Bible:  “Come, Lord Jesus” or “He must increase, but I must decrease” or “Increase our faith” or “Lord, let us see”.

            The fourth habit the writer encourages is: “Examine your conscience”.  He says: “Every night, take a couple of minutes alone, in silence, to look back on your day in the presence of God.  See how well you lived up to your calling, how far you have gone on your way to the goal.  Focus on growing in some particular virtue – peacefulness, humility, charity.”

            The fifth habit is: “Do some fasting”.  The writer explains: “Advent fasting is an appropriate way to express our longing that God’s kingdom be more fully revealed in us, in others, and in our world.  You can forego a favorite food or you can choose a non-food item to fast from such as television or the web.”

            Finally, the sixth habit is: “Make your home a haven of charity”!  The writer makes a simple suggestion: “Use Advent as a time to develop more charitable habits of speech.  If you have fallen into any negative patterns – yelling, nagging, blaming, sarcasm, fault-finding, gossiping – now is the time to regain lost ground!”

            Good ideas!  Sound simple?  Try just a few!  You will be the better come Christmas.  And so will all in your life and who get, in you, a glimpse of Jesus!

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 15th.  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 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 seventeenth, 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 2019 comes to a close, consider this possibility now!

Stewardship Offering Envelopes

            Boxes of parish stewardship offering envelopes for the year 2020 will be available in the lobby of the main church entrance beginning the weekend of December 14th & 15th.  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 2020 are available at the church entrances.  You are welcome to take one.  We are grateful to the Kutis Family of Funeral Homes for generously providing them every year.

In Brief

            Copies of the Lector’s Workbook, with the Sunday Mass Readings for the new Liturgical Year 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.

            Christmas decorating in the church will take place on Sunday, December 22nd, immediately following the 10:00 Mass.  All who are able to remain for an hour or so to assist will provide welcome help in preparing the House of the Lord for the Birthday of Life and of Love!

Monsignor Delaney