Fr. Joe's Letter

Fr. Joe’s Letter

Dec 6, 2023

PARISH COMMUNAL PENANCE: On Monday, December 11 we will have our Advent Communal Penance Service at 7 PM, 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.

COLLECTION for RETIRED RELIGIOUS:  Next Sunday there will be a second collection for the Retired Religious.  Religious brothers, sisters and order priests have dedicated their lives to ministering to those in need. Today, with longer life expectancies and rising health care costs, the challenge to provide retirement funding is compounded. Now, parishioners across the diocese can help in their hour of need.  Please be generous to these retired religious who spent their lives teaching the gospel to our children, caring for the sick, and witnessing to Jesus in our parishes, for very little pay.

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  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 ( 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.

Invite someone back to Mass for Christmas.  We all know that Christmas is a time when many people choose to come to Mass even though they may not come every Sunday. We need to be welcoming to these brothers and sisters of ours and by our kindness encourage them to come to Mass every Sunday. If you have friends and relatives who don’t regularly come to Mass, please encourage them to start coming each Sunday by sharing with them how important Mass is in your own life. Let them know that coming together to worship God and give Him thanks for all He does for us really helps us through the week in ways that we do not even realize. Coming to Mass every Sunday is still the most important thing we do in our lives because nothing can bring us closer to God in this life than participating in Mass and receiving our Lord in Holy Communion.

11 AM CHRISTMAS DAY MASS. I have long been an advocate of celebrating Christmas Mass on Christmas Day, especially for children.  Please remember that vigil Masses were permitted by the Church to allow those who have to work on Sundays and holydays to attend Mass the evening before.  It was never meant to become a Mass of convenience and with that a growing attitude of getting Mass out of the way, so we concentrate on the more secular celebration of Christmas.  This is happening everywhere with multiple vigil Masses and some even beginning as early as 3 PM.  The first Mass of Christmas used to be midnight Mass and now even that has been moved up to 10 PM.  We should all make the effort to come to Mass on Christmas Day so that our celebration is truly centered on Christ and all our other plans are secondary.  Very few people work on Christmas Day so the vigil Mass should be smallest in crowd size and not the largest.  The word Christmas comes from “Christ Mass.”  Jesus is the reason for the season.  We need to teach our children that Jesus is the center of Christmas Day and every day of our lives.

SAVE THE DATESaturday, February 10, 2024, 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.

Fr. Joe Labak