Today, the First Sunday of Advent, inaugurates the new Church year. The Church, in Her liturgy, expresses what we believe, so it makes good sense that we begin with preparations for the coming of the Lord. The liturgy of the first two weeks of Advent serves as a kind of transition from the end of the previous liturgical year. Throughout November – and especially in last Sunday’s celebration of the Feast of Christ the King – the Church draws our attention to the second coming of the Lord, and our need to be prepared for His coming. This is a time when the Lord will judge the living and the dead, as we proclaim each Sunday when we recite the Creed. Now, in Advent, our focus shifts to our preparation to celebrate Christ’s first coming. It is good for us to reflect upon both these events, since it was necessary for the Lord to come to us first as a man and our Redeemer in order to prepare us for His coming later as Judge. So, during these first two weeks of Advent, the readings of Scripture at Mass will speak more of His second coming. This should help us to understand and appreciate better the meaning of His first coming, which we will celebrate on December 25.
I mentioned two weeks ago in the bulletin some ways in which we can better prepare ourselves and our families during this Advent season. Let me remind you again that the Christmas season did not start on Friday after Thanksgiving! It is so easy for us to be drawn into the habits and customs of the secular and commercial culture around us. To make this month of Advent truly a time of spiritual preparation demands a certain discipline from us. It won’t be a time of preparation by accident; rather, each of us must choose to adopt an attitude of waiting, watching, and preparing. On a practical level it means decorating our homes with the symbols of Advent – the Advent wreath with the four candles – and delaying the Christmas decorations until we approach the actual Feast of Christmas. It means waiting for Christmas before playing Christmas music in our homes (even though the stores and radio stations will be playing it non-stop). And, of course, it means a more fervent participation in the Liturgy of the Church. Our attentive participation at Mass also serves as a great teacher: we are formed according to the mind of the Church by the Word of God and the celebration of the Liturgy. Throughout Advent please refer to this bulletin for opportunities for the Sacrament of Penance here, and at other area parishes. I also invite you to join me for Solemn Vespers (evening prayer) each Sunday. We begin with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 3pm, with Vespers beginning about 3:30pm, and conclude with Benediction at 4pm. Have a Holy Advent!
May God bless you!
St. Nicholas Family Social/Potluck
4pm, Sun, Dec. 5 @ SSPP
All parishioners are invited to bring a dish and join us in celebrating the feast of St. Nicholas with a potluck.
The parish will be providing disposable tableware & cups as well as milk, juice, & water.
St. Nicholas will be making an appearance!
Food Basket Item Collection - 54th Annual!
We are collecting non-perishable food items for area families that could use a little help this holiday season. Collection boxes will be located at the church entrances Dec. 4-Dec. 11.
We are also accepting monetary donations at the parish office for perishable items.
If you know someone who could use a little help this Christmas, please contact the parish at 715-423-1351.
Mitten Tree - Nov. 7 - Dec. 12
The PCCW of SSPP will again be sponsoring a Mitten Tree. We will be collecting hats,
mittens, socks, & scarves for our area grade-school children. Items can be placed in
donation box located in the Cenacle.
Yarn Central Gathering
6-8pm, Nov. 18 @ SSPP School (1st & 3rd Thursdays)
Knitters, spinners, crocheters: drop in with a project & spend a couple hours with other fiber artists to gather, work, & share projects.
All skill levels are encouraged to drop in. Adults only. For more info, contact Teri Jaeger at email@example.com. See you there!
The Church’s Liturgical year expresses the mysteries of the Faith through the various feasts and seasonal celebrations. The end of the Church year, which concludes next Sunday with the Solemnity of Christ the King, always provides the occasion to focus on the end times. Even nature expresses this reality in the death of all vegetation. Each year at this time, it is good for us to re-evaluate our lives and to contemplate our death. This should not be a morbid exercise but rather a time to recall the glory to which God is calling each one of us. As we continue to pray for all our beloved dead during the month of November, so should we pray that God strengthen us to be well prepared to meet Him when our life on this earth ends.
For some time now the stores have been gearing up for the “Christmas Sales Rush”. While most of these activities are OK, the cumulative effect on us is to ignore the religious preparation necessary for us to properly celebrate the birth of our Savior. The First Sunday of Advent is two weeks from now, so it makes good sense that we begin with preparations for the coming of the Lord. The Church wisely observes Advent with a spirit of watchfulness and anticipation. In our church you will notice it by the presence of subdued decorations and the Advent wreath (the four candles marking the four weeks of Advent). The music will be the familiar Advent hymns, which help us prepare for Christ’s coming. I strongly encourage you to observe the Advent season in your own homes. Don’t put up the Christmas decorations yet! Or, perhaps you may mark the passage of Advent by putting up the Christmas decorations gradually, beginning on the First Sunday of Advent – one every day until your home is completely decorated by Christmas Eve. Put a small Advent wreath in your home where it can be seen by the whole family (the dining room table, perhaps. You can mark the progress of Advent in your home as you light an additional candle each Sunday of Advent. And, most importantly, you can use this season to deepen your spiritual life by more fruitful participation in the Liturgy. Advent is a season of grace and an opportunity to grow in your faith. Make good use of it!
I encourage all our parishioners to generously support the Diocesan Annual Appeal. A substantial portion from the DAA goes to support Catholic Charities and seminarian formation. I’ve made my pledge. Have you made yours?
May God bless you!
Our parish’s next scheduled week to work is: November 22-24, 2021
At least 16 volunteers are needed for each week!!!
Donations should be taken to 331 12th Ave S. Children’s books, food, brown paper bags, & egg cartons are also appreciated. For more info, call 715-424-1776.
Community Thanksgiving Dinner
Meals available Thanksgiving Day, delivery & pick-up
Registration for meals:
9am-4pm, Tue.-Mon, Nov. 8-15 @ 715-301-0066 No cost. Last year we served 530 meals.
Volunteers Needed to help serve, clean up, & deliver: Wed. afternoon, Nov. 24, & 10am, Thu, Nov. 25
Please donate any cookies or bars by Wed, Nov. 24. (NO NUTS, PLEASE!) Thank you!
It should be evident that a pastor’s primary responsibility is the spiritual welfare of his people. He is not a business manager, nor is he a building contractor (though it sure doesn’t hurt to have some of those skills, too!). In his care for his people, a pastor must model himself after the Lord Himself, Who taught, healed, reprimanded, comforted, and encouraged the people. Yet, in all His teachings, it may come as a surprise to many, that – of all the things that Jesus spoke about – He talked about money the most. Think about it – the parables of the Prodigal Son, the Talents, the Unforgiving Steward, and many more all deal with money. And then there is the account in today’s Gospel of the Widow’s Mite. The Church, following the example of the Lord, needs to teach strongly the dangers of the undue attachment to money and material things. It is not that these things are evil in themselves, though they can become a temptation for us to be selfish. Rather, God gives us these things so that we might demonstrate our generosity towards one another. That is why our financial stewardship towards the Church is so important. It fulfills two important Christian ideals: it demonstrates tangibly that one is not attached to material things, and it assists the Church in fulfilling Her mission. And, like the widow in today’s Gospel, one doesn’t have to be rich. Everyone has the opportunity to be generous.
All our parishioners should have received their letter from Bishop Callahan along with the Diocesan Annual Appeal materials. The DAA funds many important works of the Church around the world, in our country, and in our diocese. Key support is given to Catholic Charities and seminarian formation. That is why I support the DAA. I have already made my pledge and hope you will also generously support the Diocesan Annual Appeal. Remember, every dollar over our target of $46,650 is returned to SSPP for our own needs.
May God bless you!