I. Happy New Year! Having celebrated the Solemnity of Christ the King last weekend, we now begin a new liturgical year. (Soon, December 8, we begin the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy!) As we begin this new year with the first Sunday of Advent, Jesus reminds us that we have our spiritual “feet” in two ways of living, what Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr calls the “true self” and the “false self.” This “new year” is an opportunity for a fresh spiritual start! Perhaps we need to take a moment to reflect on the past year. Consider whether and how we have grown. It is hard to surrender the “false self” of obstinate mistrust to the “true self” of authentic openness; so let us ask for the grace to start all over again, if that’s what it takes, and come to trust Jesus completely in this Jubilee Year of Mercy! (NPM Sunday Word)
II. Communal Anointing of the Sick: The sick among us may be suffering from the spiritual pain of loneliness or depression; they often welcome the healing touch and presence of members of the community who reach out to them. This Wednesday, December 2, we will offer the Sacrament of Anointing at the noon Mass, followed by a light lunch. Do you know someone who may need transportation?
III. Walking With You: You are invited to an informational gathering, with dessert, on December 1, at 6:30PM, in the Fr. Vaughan Community Center. The Stephen Ministry program will be explained so that our parish can have a better understanding of this ministry. A Stephen Minister is one who will “walk” with someone during a time of challenge/change in his/her life. Our active Stephen Ministers will be present to share and to answer any questions you may have. Are you being called to become a Stephen Minister or prayer companion?
IV. Gifts “Wrap Up”: A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has participated in the Saint Stephen Cathedral stewardship drive November 8-26. It’s an opportunity for everyone to share his/her Time, Talent, and Treasure in service of our community. We, each one of us, are Church! Our faith community here at Saint Stephen will be as strong as we want it to be. It’s about putting our faith into action. Talking about faith, even coming to church every Sunday, is easy; the challenge and the enrichment of our faith comes when we give of ourselves, even in a small way. Am I a better receiver or giver?
V. The Word of God Alive: I am convinced that if one reads and reflects upon God’s Word before arriving at Mass, God’s Word will come alive in a new way! For those who do not already have the Sunday Scripture readings, I would like to give each family, as a gift, At Home With The Word; it contains the Sunday readings for the liturgical year, reflection questions, and some helpful comments on the readings. One per family/household!
In Joy and Hope,