Gaudete Sunday

12-15-2019From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

This past Thursday, our Bishop consecrated our diocese to the Lord thru our Blessed Mother, Mary, under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This weekend, we will join ourselves to that consecration by saying a special prayer at all our Masses. The prayer is a special consecration to Our Lady.

It is important that, as we move forward, we remember that we are consecrated to our Lord and His holy Mother. To be consecrated means that we belong to Jesus and Mary in a very special – indeed in a sacred – way. We should do our best to live our lives according to Jesus’ teachings and Mary’s example – and help others do the same.

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent. In the ‘old’ days, this Sunday was called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete basically means ‘be happy’ or ‘rejoice’. On the surface, we are rejoicing because Christmas is almost here.

On a deeper level, we are rejoicing because Jesus – Who came as our Savior long ago – is coming again to bring us to the fullness of His Kingdom. In spite of all the troubles in our world, we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Christ and His Eternal Kingdom of Peace and Justice.

The brightly colored rose candle we light today, like the rose-colored vestments the priest wears today, are a reflection of this joy. They are also a reminder that – as we wait for Christ and the joy of His Kingdom – we should bring joy to others by our works of charity and compassion. I want to thank all who did so by bringing gifts for the Giving Tree!

Last weekend was a busy one in our parish. The School hosted a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning. Parent’s cooked and served a great breakfast and Santa came to see the kids. Special thanks are due to the Home School Association and everyone who took part.

Remember that there will be a Penance Service this Monday, (December 16) at 7pm in our Church. About 10 priests will be there to hear Confessions, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long. The priests will hear Confessions as long as necessary that evening.

The Confessions will be preceded by a very brief prayer service to help everyone examine their conscience and prepare for Confession. If you missed the Examination of Conscience in last week’s bulletin, you can find a good one in the How to Make a Good Confession pamphlets near the Church doors. Read it over prayerfully in preparation for Confession.

With Advent moving along so quickly, this would be a good time to start thinking about what Mass you will attend for Christmas. Please remember that the 4pm on Christmas Eve is generally very crowded. If you need a good parking spot, or a little more space in Church it might be wise to go to Mass on Christmas morning – when there is generally a lighter crowd (especially at the 7and 9am). Of course, the main Mass of Christmas is the Solemn Mass at Midnight. I love to celebrate this joyful and beautiful Mass, and hope many of you will join me at it. If you can go to Midnight Mass, please do. There is something very moving about celebrating our Savior’s birth at Midnight on Christmas Eve!

Have a great week – and pray a Hail Mary for me!

Fr. John