“Gaudete” Sunday! As we approach Christmas on this Third Sunday of Advent, our hearts swell with joy because our waiting is shorter, our anticipation grows, and our preparation for this day has not been in vain. The Lord has promised that He will come, and He is fulfilling that promise.
John the Baptist invites the crowds, tax collectors, and soldiers to leave behind their sins in order to be prepared to receive the Messiah. We too are invited to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Messiah. Advent might be half over, but there is still time to prepare. Next week on Thursday, December 16, 9:30am—12 Noon and 5:00pm—7pm, our parish will have extended hours for the Sacrament of Réconciliation in the Church. I encourage you to come, even if you have not celebrated this Sacrament for many years. I promise to make the celebration of Reconciliation (Confession) as easy and painless as possible. I invite you to experience the mercy of God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and prepare yourself to receive the Messiah who wants to come and abide in your heart.
Our Year of the Eucharist Exhibition starts tomorrow in the Parish Center. While you are here, spend some time with the Blessed Sacrament in quiet Adoration and explore items used in liturgical celebrations of the Eucharist. Click here for more information, exhibit hours and read about the life of Blessed Carlo Acutis (A-coo-tis), a teenager who catalogued Eucharistic Miracles from around the world on the internet. We will have a first-class relic of this young man who died from leukemia at the age 15 in 2006.
The Blessing of the Bambinelli returns at all Masses this weekend! This Blessing was first instituted by Saint (Pope) John Paul II. On the Third Sunday of Advent, the children of Rome are encouraged to bring the baby Jesus (Bambinelli) from each of their Nativity sets to St. Peter’s Square. Following the Sunday Angelusaddress, the Pope blesses the figurines. Now celebrated in other churches around the world, this Advent tradition is a way for children to connect their Nativity scene at home to the celebration of Christmas at church. Bring the infant Jesus to Mass (wrap it in Christmas wrapping or in a decorative box or a gift bag). When you return home, place it under the tree and let that be the first present you open on Christmas Day!
I call your attention to a special collection this weekend for the Retirement Fund for Religious. Please be generous in supporting the elderly sisters, brothers and priests in Religious Orders. Perhaps you were taught by one in a Catholic School! Envelopes will be in the Narthex or you can give online through GiveCentral
Please monitor your heath! If you are not feeling well, have a temperature over 100 degrees, sore throat, have a persistent cough or generally not feeling well, please stay home. Please utilize the hand sanitizers when you enter the Church and the Parish Center. Masks are always available in the Narthex. Daily Mass and the 9:30am Sunday Mass are live-streamed and then archived here on the Parish Website.
For a number of weeks, we have been publishing the Mass schedule for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the Sunday after Christmas.
Friday, December 24 (Christmas Eve):
4:00pm in the Church—live-streamed, with overflow seating in the Parish Center,
Saturday, December 25 (Christmas Day):
(No Confessions and 4:30pm Mass)
Sunday, December 26 (Feast of the Holy Family):
Rejoice, the Lord is near!