Celebrate God’s Love For Us!
We have prayerfully entered into the Jubilee of Mercy just a few days ago with the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. Throughout the coming year, Pope Francis has encouraged Catholics to become more aware of the ways that we can encounter God’s unconditional love for us. He writes, “At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives.” This is a great gift that is given to us by our God, over and over again.
One way to receive God’s love and healing grace is through the sacrament of Reconciliation. Celebrate the sacrament this Advent as part of your spiritual preparation for Christmas. Priests will be available to hear confessions at both churches next weekend. I encourage all to take advantage of this special Advent opportunity; especially parents who can bring their children to church to celebrate the sacrament.
Our Advent Reconciliation Schedule is:
- Saturday, December 19th
- 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Immaculate Conception
- Sunday, December 20st
- 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Immaculate Conception
- 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph
All will be graciously welcomed by the priest. Reconciliation should always be positive and joy-filled celebration. It doesn’t matter if it has been a long time since one has been to confession. Even if it has been years, come to the sacrament this Advent. God is always there, waiting to embrace us with mercy, and free us from all our sin.
At the right are a few pictures from the First Reconciliation for our children in Second Grade. It was a beautiful moment for our children and their parents.
Join Us for Christmas?
I hope you and your family will be able to celebrate this Christmas at Immaculate Conception or at St. Joseph parish. Our complete Christmas Mass Schedule is included in today’s bulletin, and posted on our parish website, to help families make their worship plans.
Please note that the 4:00 PM Mass on Christmas Eve at St. Joseph is our annual Christmas Children’s Liturgy. This is our most attended Christmas Mass. The church will be filled with young children. If you happen to be allergic to kids, I would recommend skipping the 4:00 PM Mass and instead attend the 7:00 PM Mass at Immaculate Conception on Christmas Eve. The 7:00 PM will be a nice quiet Mass celebrated by Fr. Bill O’Shea.
Kolbe House Jail Ministry
Fr. Arturo Perez, who is the pastor of our Sharing Parish, Assumption, BVM, is also the Director of the Kolbe House that ministers to those who are in jail and prison. The Kolbe House ministry is based in Assumption parish.
In the recent letter from Fr. Arturo, he mentions that, “The sad fact is that there is too much violence going on in our streets. Those who work in the jail ministry see the effects of this violence as arrests are made and the judicial system moves along slowly. Families are hurting. The Kolbe House ministry is one of presence and listening. They are present to those they visit. They listen to them, and pray with them.”
The Kolbe House helps men and women just out of prison by providing them with clothes and Ventra bus cards. They especially need men’s boxer shorts and T-shirts sizes M, L, XXL.
Every Christmas, they give two stamped Christmas cards to as many detainees as possible. Last year they distributed 8,000 cards. They have cards, but are in need of stamps. They are also in need of English, Polish, and Spanish paperback books and novels to distribute in jail.
More information and how you can support the Kolbe House ministry can be found on their website. Donations for the Kolbe House can also be dropped off at either of our Parish Offices.
We will begin to decorate our churches for Christmas next week, which is no small project. We are in need of volunteers who can help on Sunday, December 20th , after the 11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph. Decorating for Immaculate Conception Church will take place on Tuesday, December 22nd at 3:00 PM. There is a sign-up sheet in the back of church today. Let us know if you can help, even if it is for just one hour.
“What’s Your Name?”
You may recall that some diehard coffee drinkers were disappointed when Starbucks revealed their holiday red paper cups that were going to be used as they dished out coffee before Christmas. There was a stir from the caffeinated crowd that there was no mention of “Christmas” on the outside of the cup. It’s seemed like they watered down the holiday.
My friend told me how some folks created a plan to restore the spiritual part of the holiday with their morning ritual. After placing their order, when a customer would be asked, “What is your name for pick-up?” they would simply say, “Merry Christmas.”
Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season.