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First Sunday of Advent

December 3, 2017

Dear People of God,

Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. Happy New Year! Advent begins a new Church year, a new opportunity to encounter our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to grow in grace and in discipleship. In this Liturgical year our Gospels are from both St. Mark and St. John. The commercialism of Christmas, (i.e. Christmas decorations on sale even before Halloween), has so overshadowed Advent that it seems a poor stepchild to the event of Christmas. But as we’ll hear in our Scriptures during this very short season, Advent is a profound and significant period of preparation to welcome Christ in history, mystery, and glory. Every Advent recalls Christ’s first coming, looks to His return, which could occur at any time, and prepares us to celebrate His becoming flesh on Christmas. Baptism makes us sharers in His first coming. We put on Christ and have what we need to experience God’s saving love today. It’s up to us to make Christ’s coming known. In Advent we prepare God’s way by placing ourselves into the hands of our potter, by becoming more mindful that we constantly live in His presence. In Advent we call upon God’s Name to make a difference in our world. We experience that difference by living the peace we seek, become the nonviolence we seek. God rouses power and comes to save our world through us. When we turn to God we become more aware of His presence in our midst. This Advent pray, listen, and watch so that God finds us doing right. Be clay in hands of a God who wants to transform us more and more into the face of Christ incarnate, who came to reveal the power of God’s saving love. Happy Advent.

One special way we can make Advent a season of waiting in joyful hope is to share our treasures with the less fortunate by our annual “Giving Tree” which will go to a St. Vincent de Paul or Birthright family. This annual tradition helps us to share the spirit of Christmas and always makes a difference in helping us “feel” the spirit of the season.

This coming Friday, Dec. 8th, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a Holy Day of opportunity. Nine months before Sept. 8th, the birthday of Mary, we celebrate the singular grace given to her by God to be the mother of our Redeemer. Today’s feast celebrates our belief that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin in the womb of her mother, St. Anne. According to Catholic belief we find this in the story of the Annunciation as the angel Gabriel greets Mary with the words, “Hail, full of grace.” Masses will be on Friday at 8:00am and 7:00pm.

“Come one, come all,” to help clean the Church for Christmas. This coming Saturday, December 9th, we will be cleaning the Church and “All Hands on deck.” We would like to get the Church Spic & Span for Christmas by washing down the kneelers and pews. 8:30am is the start time and our wonderful ladies will have coffee and goodies to entice you to give a bit of time, talent, and good old elbow grease.

With the approval of the Parish Finance Council, we will be changing our current seasonal missalettes which require changing several times throughout the year published by World Library Publications. Beginning with Lent 2018 we will begin using the Breaking Bread annual missalette published by Oregon Catholic Press, (which was used here at St. Luke’s in the past.) It is a much more comprehensive worship tool used in the majority of parishes around the country for its versatility and yearly updates. It also happens to be less expensive, so better stewardship of our resources. As we draw closer to Lent, I will speak further on introducing the Breaking Bread to our worshipping community.

God Bless! Have a great week!

Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)