Dear Friends in Christ:
HOPE IS NEVER CANCELLED…Jesus is still coming! We chose this as our Advent theme for this year! We all need HOPE as we continue to deal with this pandemic. More and more each day I hear from people that they are experiencing the thing I call “pandemic fatigue.” We are just so tired of everything related to this pandemic. And yet we have to continue to do what we can to deal with this pandemic and the many changes it brings to our daily routines.
A pandemic does not stop us from entering into this holy season. A pandemic does not stop us from using the weeks of this holy season to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ, both His coming at Christmas and His coming at the end of time. We have to seek ways, within the limits placed upon us due to this pandemic, to prepare our hearts and our souls for the coming of Christ.
Advent is a season that is often not given much attention partly because of the commercialization of Christmas, but also because of the busyness of preparing for family gatherings, the many parties for pre-Christmas celebrations. But this year is different as many of these gatherings will not be able to take place. So perhaps this year we can really focus more on this short season of grace and find ways in which we can all prepare for the coming of Christ.
We chose this theme, Hope is never cancelled…Jesus is still coming, to highlight that even in the face of these long months of pandemic there is still HOPE.
This year has already felt like an awful lot of waiting and now we are starting this season of Advent, a season of waiting. Hope in God is not to wait but to “keep awake,” as we are so often reminded by the scriptures during this season, it is a call not to lose hope when faced with challenges like this pandemic but to work together and confront them together. To hope in God is to know that the coming of Christ happens amid our daily life and all its struggles.
I love Advent, and I love all the planning we do as a Pastoral Team to find ways to help others and ourselves prepare for the coming of Christ. This doesn’t change as we face this pandemic. We still want to help each of us to encounter the hope, the joy, the peace, and the love of Jesus Christ.
So what can we do? We can do our part to adhere to the continued safety guidelines and protocols established in our state. We can maintain family rituals and traditions. We can find ways as a family to speak about Advent and to help our family members to set aside some time to prepare for the coming of Christ. We can find useful resources online to help our young people learn the importance of Advent and get excited to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. In a year such as we face, where the usual holiday expectations of years past are not possible, we can take more time to prepare our hearts.
SO how can we be certain to be ready for the coming of our Lord Jesus in His birth on Christmas, and in His second coming in glory? Here are some suggestions for using this time of Advent to its fullest potential:
1. COME to our Advent Evening of Adoration and Reflection. Open to the first 100 people to sign-up. Wednesday, December 2nd, that is THIS WEDNESDAY. Father Ryan Lerner, Chancellor of the Archdiocese and Catholic Chaplain at Yale, will lead us in reflecting on preparing for the coming of Christ in a time of pandemic. I am confident it will be a very spiritual and practical evening of reflection. We will be livestreaming this event as well for our virtual parishioners. Please join us!
2. Visit our Social Media daily as we will be offering a daily reflection through the Season of Advent offered by a variety of people from the life and ministry of our parish and school.
3. Also on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays we will be posting videos on our social media about the Old Testament Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. Don’t miss these opportunities to grow in our knowledge and love of scripture and learn more about Jesus!
4. Make an Advent Wreath for your home. The simplest way to make a wreath is to arrange greens on a round tray or in a ring mold that holds water. Nestle four candlesticks, pillar candles, or votive candle-holders in the greens or set them just inside the ring. Add water if possible. Insert four candles, one rose and three purple, or four white or ivory candles, if you don’t have the colored ones, with colored ribbons.
5. Join us for Adoration on Fridays from 1-2PM in Saint Bridget Church.
6. Come to daily Mass once, twice, or more each week. Come on your way to work. Remember to sign-up through our parish website or call the parish office and they can assist you.
7. Celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and be freed from the weight of sin. We are still offering Drive-Up Confessions on Saturdays from 3PM until heard. You don’t even have to leave your car!
With all that is going on in our church and our world today it is easy for us to understand that we may feel weary, worn down, beaten, fatigued by it all. BUT we have a cause to rejoice for in the coming of the Light, Jesus Christ, comes a reason for Hope, for Joy, for Peace, and yes for Life! In the words of the popular Christmas hymn, O Holy Night, we hear “O holy night the stars are brightly shining…it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth…Long lay the world in sin and error pining…till He appeared and the soul felt its worth…A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices…it is the night of our dear Savior’s birth!”
Don’t allow this season, these short weeks of Advent, to simply pass by without doing something to prepare for the coming of the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace, God-is-with-us!
Remember it is up to us, even in the midst of a pandemic, to make this season a time of spiritual growth and renewal.
KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS…you have been hearing a lot lately of the Beatification of Father Michael J. McGivney, Founder of the Knights of Columbus and a parish priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford. It is a cause of great joy! It is also an opportune time to remind you of who the Knights of Columbus are and how you can join this fraternal organization!
I joined the Knights of Columbus as soon as I turned 18 and have been active in the Knights ever since. This was especially true in my first assignment in Glastonbury. The Knights were a very active part of parish life in Glastonbury. They were active in every facet of parish life and we (the priests) knew we could always call on them to help out with any tasks at any time.
A parish priest, the now Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus right down the street in New Haven, on March 29, 1882. He founded the Knights to help the men of his parish to grow in their faith, to provide financial security for the widows and orphans of deceased members, and to perform acts of charity! The Knights are based on four guiding principles: Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. Charity is at the heart of what it means to be a Knight. The commitment of the Knights to works of charity is just one of the many ways that we express our Catholic faith. Today the Knights of Columbus number over 2 million members in the world and last year alone donated $187 million dollars to charity and 77 million hours to works of charity.
It is time for ALL Catholic men in our parish over 18 to consider joining the Knights of Columbus. Our local Council 2978 Sante Fe Council is in the early years of becoming more and more involved in the life of our parish and in our community; join us and help make a difference! And to join TODAY is FREE!!! In celebration of Blessed Michael McGivney's Beatification on October 31, 2020, the Knights of Columbus are offering Free E-Membership to all Catholic Men over 18. The Knights are proud defenders of the faith and the church. In times of tragedy, the Knights take the lead in providing support to communities in need. Help us help others. Become a member of the Knights of Columbus. Join today at KofC.org/joinus. Use code: MCGIVNEY2020. Offer ends December 31, 2020, so join TODAY!
KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS POSTER CONTEST…our own local council, Sante Fe Council 2978, is sponsoring a contest for all children of our parish and school. All children ages 5-14 (as of November 1st) are invited to submit a poster centered around the theme "Keep Christ in Christmas". This is a wonderful opportunity for children to be creative, to be involved in their faith, and to have fun while experiencing the true meaning of Christmas. Posters must be 11x17. If pastels, chalk, or charcoal are used, the poster must be laminated or covered in clear plastic before being submitted. Posters must be submitted to the parish office by December 15th. Prizes will be awarded for winning entries. Winning entries will also be advanced to the district and then to the state. Let’s see those young artists from our parish get to work on reminding us all to Keep Christ in Christmas!
As always, please remember to pray for our parish family and ask God’s blessings as we build His kingdom here. Please know that I am praying for you, and I ask for your prayers for me, that together through the intercession of Saint Bridget of Sweden, our Patroness, and Blessed Father Michael J. McGivney, and united in the Eucharist, we will reflect the presence of Jesus to the world.