Friday, 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 OBLGATION no matter 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.
PARISH COMMUNAL PENANCE: On Monday, December 11 we will have our Advent Communal Penance Service at 7 PM, and there will be several visiting priests here to help hear all the confessions. Please take this opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that you can prepare your heart to receive our Savior in Holy Communion on Christmas Day. Through confession we are reconciled to God and to the Church so that we can have the grace and power to do well in our daily lives by loving God and our neighbor.
On this First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year in the Church. It is a time of eager anticipation for the coming of Jesus Christ which we celebrate on Christmas Day. This is not just about celebrating a holiday with all the trimmings, parties, gifts, and a time of good cheer. This is about celebrating Jesus coming to us and dwelling among us. Jesus is with us all the time, but the world seems to be much more aware of His presence at this time of the year. We need to take advantage of that and try to direct our celebration by helping friends, family, strangers, co-workers, as well as those we do not see eye to eye with on various issues in our lives. Truly it is a time of evangelization, spreading the “Good News” of Jesus to others.
I hope that we can all make this the best Advent ever by using our time in the best possible way and not letting ourselves get swallowed up in all the “craziness” that this time of year can bring into our lives. We can make it a time of prayer and reflection concerning the true meaning of Advent and preparing for the coming of Christ.
As I have done in the past, I would highly recommend the web site of Dynamic Catholic to help you and your family make this Advent the best ever. Simply go to the web site BestAdventEver.com and sign up. You will receive helpful reflections and prayer ideas as well as practical things that can help you and your family rediscover Christmas. These daily emails will help you to slow down in the midst of all the busy things to do so that the Advent Season does not slip by without helping you to prepare to encounter Jesus as He comes into our world again and again.
FORMED: Seven years ago, we introduced FORMED to our parish. FORMED is a program that our parish is embarked upon to help all of us to grow and be formed more and more in our Catholic Faith. It may be best described as Netflix for Catholics. It enables you to access Catholic audio and video series that can teach you more about our Catholic Faith, Sacred Scripture, Sacraments, living our faith in our daily lives, and so much more. There are also good movies that the entire family can enjoy and find inspiration in viewing. There are programs for children of all ages that you can use at home to teach your children about our Catholic Faith. New resources are always being added so there is always much to look forward to as we grow in our faith. Another idea might be to gather friends at home and to form study groups that you can set up on your schedule. FORMED offers many options for individuals, families, groups of friends and neighbors, parish groups, and many others to come together and share their faith. I hope that everyone will take advantage of this great opportunity. The best part it is FREE! There is no cost no matter how often you use it. The parish pays a yearly subscription rate that covers everyone in the parish. I urge everyone to use the FORMED (formed.org) web site too where you will find many great resources for the whole family. Please take some time and check it out. Our parish code is 2QC77G. I am sure you will be FORMED in Christ.
Again, I want to say thanks to everyone who participated in the Baby Bottle Collection sponsored by the Knights of Columbus to benefit the Embrace Clinic in Barberton. We collected $4,886, which will be a great help to many people. Thanks also to Chuck McEvoy for organizing this effort. God bless all for their kindness and generosity.