12-01-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! Bulletin deadlines required me to write this column before Thanksgiving, so I can’t tell you how mine went. I can tell you that I was looking forward to it as I wrote these words!

Today we begin the holy season of Advent. While it’s easy to think of Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas, it’s really much more than that. The word Advent means ‘coming’ – and Advent is indeed a time to get ready for the coming of Christ.

As Catholics, Advent makes us think about not just one – but two – of Christ’s comings. While we are certainly getting ready to celebrate His First Coming at Christmas, Advent also reminds us to get ready for His Second Coming on Judgement Day. Indeed, it is that Second Coming that is the main focus of today’s readings. In the Gospel Jesus tells us to be ready for His Second Coming. He reminds us that we don’t know when it will be – so we should be ready for it all the time.

We do this by living by His teachings each day. Praying and worshipping Him, practicing honesty and purity in relationships, and showing compassion and mercy to the poor are just a few ways we get ready for Jesus’ return. So is seeking His forgiveness for our sins – especially in Confession.

We will have two priests on duty during the regular Saturday Confession times (9 – 9:30am and 3:15 – 4:15pm) this Advent. We will also have a Penance Service on Monday, December 16th at 7pm with lots of priests to help hear Confessions. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities to prepare your heart and soul for Christ’s coming.

To help you prepare for Confession, I have placed pamphlets about making a good Confession around the Church. I hope you find them helpful. We will also insert an Examination of Conscience in the bulletin before the Penance Service, to help you prepare for that, too.

I also placed some nice pamphlets about Advent in the pamphlet racks around the Church. I hope you will find them helpful. You can also find all kinds of good Catholic resources at FORMED – a kind of Netflixs for Catholics. Information to use it can be found elsewhere in the bulletin.

Remember that Thursday, December 12th, is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On that day our Bishop will Consecrate our diocese to our Blessed Mother’s maternal care during a special Mass at the Cathedral. A Mass will be offered at the same time in our Church that evening, to which everyone is most certainly welcome. Fr. Wojciech will offer the Mass here in our Church, while I will join the one at the Cathedral with a small group from our parish.

We have been preparing for this consecration all year. In addition to the Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe we say before our Sunday Masses, many people also completed the personal consecration program this past year. Still others took part in the beautiful Nigh of Spiritual Awakening that kind of ‘kicked off’ our year of preparation. My hope is that this consecration of our diocese to our Blessed Mother will remind each of us to do what she did – place ourselves generously at the service of Almighty God. May each of us say to God each day, what Mary said when the Angel came to her: “I am the servant of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to His will.”

Have a great week!

Fr. John