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Third Sunday of Advent

December 17, 2017

Dear People of God,

Today we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent. Traditionally this Sunday is called “Gaudete Sunday,” from the Latin word, “Rejoice.” As we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas, and anticipate His return in glory, we are called to be prayerful people of joy. Our readings this Sunday invite us to rejoice in the various advents of Christ, first in the flesh, now present in the Spirit, and soon to return at the glorious end. While the first reading from our Advent prophet, Isaiah, will be quoted by Jesus as He begins His ministry, here the prophet announces a word of joy to the exiles who have recently returned to Jerusalem. The vision depicted has Israel celebrating a Jubilee Year where things lost are now restored. The reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the young Church at Thessalonika describes how the faithful are to live in anticipation of the final Advent of Christ, His second coming. They are to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and not hinder the gifts of the Spirit. The Thessalonians expected Jesus’ return to be immanent. As time went on, Paul needed to encourage them to stand fast and not grow weary in waiting. The joyous anticipation is also evident in today’s Gospel. The Gospel readings tells us that John the Baptist came to give testimony to the one coming after him, (Jesus), whom the people do not recognize. As we spend this coming week preparing for Christmas and putting the finishing touches on the feast just over a week away, let us open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts to the joy around us. Rejoice!

This Sunday, we will be decorating Church immediately following 10:00am Mass. There is a lot to do and we are once again asking for your help. There is the Creche to set-up, trees to arrange, flowers to set out, outside decorations to be put in place, etc. If you can come and lend a hand, even for just an hour, your participation will be greatly appreciated.

Just a reminder that all of our Christmas flowers this Christmas will be a special remembrance of our loved ones celebrating Christmas in glory, or in honor of someone special to us. Please be sure to get your envelopes in to be included in the bulletin…the deadline is Monday, December 18th.

Beginning in January we will be suspending our weekly Adoration/Holy Hour on Thursday evenings. The weekly attendance has been small (sometimes just one person). In order to continue extra time for confessions, Msgr. Morris and I will begin hearing confessions on Tuesday mornings from 7:15 to 7:45am. We will revisit some form of Adoration in June.

I want to once again encourage all parishioners to make good use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Christmas. It is the “best” way I can suggest to prepare for Christmas and might be the best gift ever this season. If it has been a while since you have gone, don’t let that stop you. The priest who celebrates the Sacrament with you will be happy to guide you through and help you to encounter the forgiveness, love, and mercy of God. Regularly scheduled confessions at St. Luke’s will continue on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:00pm this Advent, and on Saturdays from 4:15 to 4:45pm. Confessions are also always available by private appointment.

Finally today it is with sadness that I announce the resignation of our Music Director, Mrs. Donna Owen. In speaking with Donna, and in her letter of resignation, she cited that when she began here at St. Luke she was working several part time jobs. In August of this year she began a full-time position at Duchesne High School which has brought her more responsibilities. Donna also expressed her belief that her family needs and deserves more time than she is currently able to give to them. (I have always believed that family comes first.) Mrs. Owen’s final Sunday with us will be December 31st, the Feast of the Holy Family. I invite you to join me after the 10:00am Mass on the 31st to show our appreciation to Donna and her family for their brief time with us. We are currently searching for a new Music Minister for our parish. (Please join me in praying to St. Cecelia, patron of music.)

God Bless! Happy Advent!

Remember those 3 Hail Marys (Fr. Pete)