Dear People of St. Mary’s, Holy Family and St. Anthony’s:
“Stay Awake! You do not know the hour when your master is coming.”
To be “awake” to the present, we cannot be living in the past nor caught up in the future. Having learned to walk with God in the past, we have Faith. The power to put the future in God’s hands is called Hope. Being at peace with the past and the future allows us to open our hearts and live fully in the present, which is Love. Our Advent Gospel calls us to wake from the unconsciousness of fear and anxiety, to a life of Love.
We are an Advent people! That there are many “awake” people living lives of love is easily seen! The Holy Family PCCW voted Monday to support the “Gift of Love” program that supports families dealing with the death of an infant. They provide caskets and other resources that bring dignity and compassion to families at a difficult time in their lives.
The St. Anthony Liturgy Committee has chosen as their Advent theme: Love, the rebirth of Christ. When we open our hearts in the present God pours through us into the world in a way not unlike he did through Mary. To make this love visible the St. Anthony Social Concerns Committee is inviting everyone to touch families all over the world through the Heifer International program. The Ark you see on the Church lawn and the Ark you see in the Sanctuary are an invitation to give a family a source of food and income by giving them an animal. On behalf of the PCCW June Noeldner has the Giving Tree up in the Sanctuary as well. It bears the needs of community memebers who could use some waking up to love.
This Thursday the St. Mary school children will be traveling to Loyal to celebrate Mass with the St. Anthony School children and then share morning classes. Early next year St. Anthony students will travel to St. Mary’s to celebrate with them. Is not this turning of strangers into friends also the work of love among us?
The Catholic School Committees for both parishes are studying the requirements for becoming accredited schools. They are doing so to assess how much work would be involved in becoming able to participate in the Voucher program through which qualifying families would have their children’s tuition paid and the school would receive the family’s tax contribution instead of the public school. The list of standards a school must meet to be accredited is also giving us a way to identify those things our two schools could do better if we did them together.
Next Saturday Bishop Callahan will be coming to Greenwood to preside over the Sacrament of Confirmation for our three parishes. Neillsville normally joins us, but because they are moving the age of confirmation to the junior year as well, they do not have a Confirmation class this year. With 28 being confirmed each candidate will have one whole row reserved for family. And there should be a good number of pews available on a first come first serve basis. All are welcome of course to come and hear the profession of faith of these wonderful young men and women and then to join Bishop Callahan in calling the Spirit down to seal and strengthen them in their young faith. St. Mary’s is providing a reception with light food after the 4:00pm liturgy. Candidates and sponsors, please remember our practice this Wednesday at 7:30pm at St. Mary’s.
Next Sunday, December 8th
, is normally the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Because the Second Sunday of Advent takes precedence over it, it is moved to Monday December 9th
. In the United States, when this Holy Day falls on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the obligation to attend is lifted. This is to guard the health of priests by not requiring too many Masses. Even though there is no obligation to attend, I know this feast is dear to many and so we will have Mass at 8”15am Monday morning at St. Anthony’s.
In so many ways, let us awaken one another to Love, to the coming of our Master.