The Church has traditionally called the Third Sunday of Advent Gaudete Sunday, or Joyful Sunday. The first reading of today’s Mass, from the prophet Isaiah, expresses the great joy which the arrival of the Messiah will bring. The coming of the Lord will be demonstrated by great signs: “Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared...” The reading from the Gospel again focuses on John the Baptist as the precursor to the Lord; that is, he is the one who guides us in our preparation for the Lord’s coming. Are you and your family preparing to celebrate the Lord’s birth at Christmas? Make good use of this Holy Season of Advent.
May I suggest a few ways to help you prepare better for Christmas? One way is to make a good confession. You’ll find in this bulletin the schedule of opportunities for confessions at area Churches, as well as when confessions are heard here at SS Peter & Paul. Another way to help you prepare for Christmas is to spend some time praying before the Lord during a Holy Hour of Adoration the last two Sundays of Advent from 3 - 4pm (with Solemn Vespers beginning at 3:30pm). I hope that the Magnificat Advent Companion and other resources which I made available for you have been helpful as well. (There are still copies available!)
Many families make an accounting of their charitable giving before the end of a calendar year for, among other reasons, possible tax implications. I hope you will consider placing your parish at the top of that list. And, of course, I still encourage and welcome pledges to the Diocesan Annual Appeal. My thanks to all who have contributed to the DAA and to SS Peter & Paul Church!
May God bless you! Fr. Schaller
The Second Sunday of Advent always includes the Gospel account with John the Baptist. The prophets in the Old Testament served an indispensable service on behalf of God: they were His messengers who brought comforting words to the suffering but stern words for the rebellious. John the Baptist is the last, and the greatest, of the prophets. What would Advent be without him? He is the one who announces the arrival of the Messiah. Although, strictly speaking, John announces the public ministry of the (now) 30-years-old Jesus, the Church has always seen the words of the Baptist as also applying to us and to our preparation for the Lord’s birth. The Baptist’s call for repentance certainly applies to us, as it applied to the contemporaries of Jesus. It is good that the Church observes the different seasons of the liturgical year so that we might use these opportunities to be renewed in faith. The Advent season – if we take our cue from John the Baptist – is a most proper time to reform our lives, to repent from sin, and to seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Has it been a long time since you went to Confession? Maybe even many years? Now is the time to be reconciled to the Lord through this beautiful sacrament of mercy. You will find our parish schedule for confessions (as well as area parish penance services with individual confessions) in this bulletin.
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is typically observed on December 8. Since it falls on a Sunday this year, the Church transfers its observance to the following day. Though the obligation to attend Mass is lifted, nevertheless, we will observe this Patronal Feast of our nation tomorrow (Monday), December 9, with Mass at 8:00 A.M.
Many families make an accounting of their charitable giving before the end of a calendar year for, among other reasons, possible tax implications. I hope you will consider placing your parish at the top of that list. And, of course, I still encourage and welcome pledges to the Diocesan Annual Appeal. My thanks to all who have contributed to the DAA!
May God bless you! Fr. Schaller
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 to celebrate the Lord’s first coming. The problem with observing this season of Advent is that the rest of the culture is celebrating Christmas already! There are even Christian churches that begin decorating their churches for Christmas and singing Christmas hymns by the beginning of December. I suppose some of this is understandable – we just can’t wait for Christmas! We want to start celebrating now. But 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 – 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 (on the dining room table, perhaps). You can mark the progress of Advent in your home as you light an additional candle each Sunday of the season. And, most importantly, you can use this Advent season to deepen your spiritual life by more faithful reception of the Sacraments. (You should have received my Advent Letter along with the Parish Advent Calendar listing the Mass and Penance schedule.) Advent is a season of grace and an opportunity to grow in your faith. Make good use of it!
Many families make an accounting of their charitable giving before the end of a calendar year for, among other reasons, possible tax implications. I hope you will consider placing your parish towards the top of that list. And, of course, I still encourage and welcome pledges to the Diocesan Annual Appeal. My thanks to all who have contributed to the DAA!
May God bless you! Fr. Schaller
The Church offers Her prayers for all the dead in a special way during the month of November. The readings during this month also draw our attention to our death and to judgment at the end of time. While we avoid any unhealthy (and theologically skewed) pre-occupation with the “end times”, the Church has always reminded us (especially during November) of the necessity to be ready to meet the Lord. Today’s readings teach us about the doctrine of the resurrection of the body. This teaching really has two facets. First, that death is not the end of us, but that our soul continues to live on. Second, that we will be re -united to our bodies in a glorified way when the Lord comes again. In other words, since in this life we consist of body/soul, so too will we live in the life to come as a (glorified) body/soul. Though sometimes people will use some poetic language in describing the dead, especially infants who die, as “angels”, those who die are, and remain, human persons. When we die we are “like angels” because our souls are separated from our bodies. But when the Lord comes again at the end of time, and there occurs the resurrection of the dead, we will be “complete” humans again when our soul is re-united to our glorified body.
Our nation properly honors on Memorial Day those who have died in defense of our country. On Monday, November 11, Veterans Day, we honor those living who served honorably in our Armed Forces. In doing so we acknowledge that it is a virtuous thing to defend the innocent and fight unjust aggressors. Having served as an enlisted Marine (1975-1979) and as a Navy Chaplain (1992-1995), I can say that I met some of the best, bravest, and good men while serving in the mili- tary. That which applies to our Armed Forces applies to the nation as a whole: America is best when America is good. God bless our Veterans, and God bless America! (And Happy Birthday USMC, founded November 10, 1775! Semper Fi!!)
May God bless you!