Thursday, December 8, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. This feast reminds us that Mary was conceived without original sin. Mary, under the title of The Immaculate Conception, is the patroness of the United States of America. The largest church in our country is the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C. Since this is such an important celebration in our country this feast day is always a HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION no matter on what day it happens to fall. So, we, as Catholics, are to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass under the pain of mortal sin. Please remember that it is a serious sin to deliberately miss Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. This means that one must go to confession before receiving Holy Communion. Please see the bulletin for the Mass schedule.
Since Christmas is still three weeks away, I ask that you and your family consider when you will come to Mass for Christmas. The vigils for Christmas are meant for those who cannot attend Mass on Christmas Day due to their work or job responsibilities. Unfortunately, they have become Masses of convenience and seem to be used to get Mass “done” so we can move on to the real celebration of Christmas. I would strongly recommend that you consider bringing your children to Mass on Christmas Day. We have been trying for several years to have our Children’s Choir sing at this Mass, but it is extremely difficult to put a choir together when so many go to Mass on Christmas Eve. This is an excellent way of teaching children that Jesus is the center of our Christmas celebration and not opening our gifts. When I was a child, we opened our gifts on Christmas morning, as many do, and then, when it was time, my parents told us to put the gifts away and get ready for Church which was at 8:30 AM. This taught me that Jesus is the center of our Christmas celebration and to worship Him on Christmas Day is a very important thing to do. Just something to think about.
We will have our Advent Communal Penance Service on Monday, December 12, at 7 PM in the church. As usual there will be visiting priests for this service. Please make plans to receive the Sacrament of Penance as part of your preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ.
The 35th Annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection will be held on December 11 & 12. Coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the appeal assists hundreds of religious order communities in providing for the ongoing needs of their aging Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests. The U.S. bishops initiated the collection in 1988, to address the significant lack of retirement funding among U.S. religious orders. Distinct from retired priest collections held in respective dioceses for the care of retired diocesan priests, this annual collection benefits eligible religious orders to help underwrite retirement and health-care expenses for nearly 30,000 elderly religious. Please be as generous as you can to help these religious women and men who have given their whole lives in service to the Church and her children.
SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, February 12, 2021, will be our annual World Marriage Day Celebration in McMahon Hall. The dinner will follow the 5 PM Mass and the blessing for married couples. This is a time for all of us to pray for those couples living within the Sacrament of Marriage and to thank God for the gift of this sacrament on which we build our families and the Church itself. So mark the day on your calendar and plan to be there. More information about tickets will be provided later.
CONGRATULATIONS: On November 20, I attended a Mass at the seminary with Bishop Malesic and Bishop Woost honoring Joan and Lou Perry. They received the Archbishop Edward F. Hoban Award for their generous support of all the good work done by Catholic Charities. Joan and Lou Perry have been members of Sacred Heart Parish for many years and have been extremely generous to our parish, especially the school. They are more than deserving of this award. We pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the Perry Family in all that they do.