Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, Dec. 7

            It is a busy time of year, and many things are going on.  I usually find it difficult to keep track of them all, so I am doing myself a favor and reminding me (and also you) of a few of the events going on here over the next week. 
            This weekend is the Holiday Fair.  Please stop by the gym and check it out.  You can do some shopping for gifts, treat yourself to some goodies, spend a little time chatting and conversing with other parishioners, and generally have a good time.  In addition, this year I ask you to stop by the booth that displays the next generation of a concept scheme for the renovation of our church and rectory.  We received a lot of good input and suggestion from parishioners since the three schemes were put out a month ago.  It is now time to move it forward and narrow down just exactly we want to do.  We need to get some pricing done so we know exactly what we are asking for when we approach donors.  So your reactions, suggestions, and input on this next level of refinement of the renovation plans is needed.  Members of the Parish Property Committee, or Pastoral Council, or Finance Comm. will be there to answer questions and solicit comments.  So please plan to take a few minutes, stop by and check it out, and make your comments.  THANKS.
            Tomorrow, Dec 8, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  This year it is a Holy Day of obligation.  We have Masses scheduled at 8 a.m., 10:00 a.m., and 6:00 p.m.  All are, of course, most welcome.  This Feast celebrates that Mary, from the first moment of her being, was always full of grace. She was never tainted by sin.  This was a special favor given to her in view of her becoming the Mother of God.  However, we all hope that when all things are made new in Christ, that we too shall indeed be “full of grace,” that is, totally in harmony with God’s will.  So in celebrating this special favor that Mary has already enjoyed we are anticipating what we hope one day to be, that is, totally in harmony with God.
            Friday December 12, at 7:00 p.m. is the St. Austin School Advent Cantata.  Always a joyous, lovely affair it fills up early.  The children do a wonderful job.  All are welcome.
            Saturday, Dec. 13 at 3:00 p.m. is when we have our Advent Communal Reconciliation Service.  There will be several priests, and after a short communal liturgy there will opportunity for individual confession and reconciliation.  What better way to prepare spiritually for celebrating the true meaning of Christmas?  All are welcome!
            And Monday, December 15 at 7:30 the Austin Handbell Ensemble will perform their Christmas Concert.  What sounds more Christmasy than handbells?  This is always a great concert for the whole family.  A freewill offering is accepted.

And that just takes us ahead about a week.  After that is the Christmas Basket Project, decoration of the church, and then the wonderful Christmas celebrations themselves.
I get tired just thinking about it all, but I also get excited about all the positive and joyful events (even Reconciliation!) that go on here.  With so much anger, division and hatred in the world, we all need to focus on what gives life and affirms our deepest beliefs.  Advent is truly a wonderful time of year.  God bless!

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