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  • Writer's pictureFather George

From Father George's Desk 12/10/23

On the middle two Sundays of Advent each year, St. John the Baptist, takes center stage.  In today’s gospel reading, Mark begins his Gospel quoting from Isaiah the Prophet (today’s first reading) “Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.  A voice of one crying out in the desert; ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’”  This is the essence of John’s preaching and meaning of the baptism he administers.  As Mark says, the Baptist “appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”  To repent means to feel such dissatisfaction over our past actions or ways of life that we resolve to change our ways.  As we continue the Advent journey we, too, must be sincere in our desire to reform our lives and our world.  We should feel such genuine dissatisfaction with the sinfulness in our lives and in our world that we commit ourselves to authentic transformation.  We can and should never be satisfied with the status quo.  We must open ourselves more fully to the grace of Jesus Christ that his light may shine into the dark corners of our lives to dispel our sinfulness.  Then, with Christ’s light shining in us, we may bring that light to bear in our world that injustice, violence, and hatred may give way to the peace, love, and joy of God.


 Regional Penance Services begin this week, including the one we will host at Holy Family next Saturday, December 16 at 11:00AM; all the priests of our region will be present to hear confessions at this service.  In addition to the penance services, individual confessions are scheduled for St. John as usual at 4:15PM next Saturday; there will be no 3:00PM confessions that day at Holy Family because of the penance service.  Please note that because of the extremely busy and condensed schedule on Christmas weekend, there are no confessions scheduled at either parish on December 23.  The last scheduled opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Christmas will be at the Regional Penance Service at St. Rose on December 21.


 Volunteers are needed to help decorate our churches for Christmas...Holy Family on Thursday, December 21 at 6:00PM and St. John on Friday, December 22 at 9:30AM.  Even if it’s only for a little while, you help is greatly appreciated.  More hands makes for lighter work!


 I was chatting with the crew putting up the outdoor lights on the grounds at Holy Family last month and I made a casual reference to using St. Lucy Day as an unofficial “light up night” in some of my previous assignments.  From the kernel of that brief discussion came the idea for Wednesday’s Light Up Night on the grounds of Holy Family at 6:00PM.  All are invited to come enjoy the festive light display and enjoy some seasonal refreshments and fellowship.  Why St. Lucy Day?  Well, read on…

 On Wednesday the Church honors St. Lucy.  There is little that we know of her with historical certainty other than that she was born in the late third century in the Sicilian town of Syracuse of a noble family and was martyred around the year 304 during the vicious persecution of the Roman emperor, Diocletian.  It is generally believed that she vowed herself to a life of perpetual virginity and that she was martyred rather than forsake her vow to God.  There is great devotion to St. Lucy in many parts of Europe, especially in Scandinavia, where her feast day is celebrated as a feast of light, given the incredibly long nights at this time of year—the name “Lucy” comes from “lux” the Latin word for “light”. 

 

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