11-29-2020From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. John Barbella

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! As often happens this time of year, 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, even though it will be a smaller gathering than usual this year.

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 (9–9:30 AM and 3:15–4:15 PM) this Advent. We will also add additional times for Confession on the Fridays of Advent. Confessions will be heard on December 4th, 11th, and 18th from 7:15 AM–7:45 AM (between the weekday morning Masses) and from 3 – 4 PM (during the last hour of adoration). These additional times for Confession are being scheduled in place of our usual Penance Service, which will not be held this year due to concerns about crowds. Those who need a special time can also call or approach any of our priests to schedule a time for Confession.

An Examination of Conscience has been inserted in this bulletin to help you prepare for your Advent Confession.

To help prepare myself for Advent, I watched a nice series about Advent on FORMED. You can find information about how to log onto FORMED elsewhere in this bulletin, or access it via the parish website. Under the heading search, I typed ADVENT and found a series of four really nice presentations.

I especially enjoyed the first episode by Bob Rice entitled ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.’ Another entitled ‘Watch and Pray’, presented by Dr. Edward Sri, was also quite good. Each presentation lasted less than 20 minutes. They made for a nice little Advent Retreat!

FORMED also has some nice Advent and Christmas Bible studies and movies – for adults and children, in English and Spanish. It’s a great place to find spiritual nourishment for you and your family. And it’s a free service available to all our parishioners.

As always, I end by asking you to pray a Hail Mary for me today and every day. You are all in my prayers each day. I believe that our prayers for each other are a source of great blessing and strength for all of us.

Have a great week!

Fr. John