I. Merry and Blessed Christmas to Everyone! The mystery of Christmas/Incarnation invites us to open our senses to the Word made flesh, Jesus. Let this Christmas be a time not only for family and friends but also for the Lord to be born more deeply into our hearts and lives. What a difference it makes to see and experience everything through the lens of faith! Please note the Christmas Mass schedule elsewhere in the bulletin. Our music ministry will sing a half-hour before Mass. Invite a friend! On behalf of the Parish Pastoral Team and Council, I wish you a Christmas season that makes a difference!
II. Welcome College Students and Visitors! On behalf of our St. Stephen Cathedral Pastoral Team and Council, I welcome everyone home for this significant feast. It is always good to celebrate Eucharist with you!
III. Is It Time To Re-Connect? There are many reasons, I find, why people have left or wandered away from the Catholic Church: Some have been hurt, some are disillusioned, some lack information or formation, some have grown slothful (spiritually lazy), etc. Whatever the reason, it might be time to re-connect with the Catholic Church. If this is the right time for you, do not hesitate to contact me, Fr. Suneesh Mathew, or Donna Murphy (Director of Faith Formation). We consider it a privilege to sit and listen. Think about it. Talk about it. Pray about it.
IV. Our Advent Reconciliation Service is Sunday, December 20, at 2:00PM. As we begin the Jubilee Year of Mercy, officially set in motion by Bishop Medley on December 8, we are grateful to the twelve priests who will be available as confessors. Make it a point to bask in God’s extravagant compassion and mercy!
V. Rectory Open House: Fr. Suneesh and I invite you to our Open House on Saturday, December 26, the patronal feast of our parish, the feast of St. Stephen, martyr, after the 5:00PM Mass. We will celebrate the Christmas season and the life of our Church’s first martyr from 6:30-9:00PM.
VI. Cathedral Restoration and Renewal: Many people have told me how beautiful our renovated church is. I hope its beauty raises our hearts and minds to God. The next step is to pay for the cost of this beautification, and that seems to be happening, thanks to your generosity. To date, less than $200,000 is owed on the Restoration and Renewal, which cost a total of $2.8 million. An additional $98,000 will be received from pledges made through Memorials. We are repaying our loan at the tune of $11,230.90 per month. Aware of the sacrifice this calls forth, I once again appeal to your generosity.
VII. Stock Options: Several people have contributed to our church lately through stock options. Thank you! If you are interested in utilizing this option, call our Business Manager, Joey Beatty, at 270-683-6525.
VIII. Epiphany Hymn Festival and International Potluck: Everyone is invited to our third annual Epiphany Hymn Festival, in church, on Sunday, January 3, at 4:00PM, followed by a potluck in the Community Center, at 5:00PM. We ask you to bring a dish from your country of origin! The parish will provide drinks, unless you would like to bring your own bottle of wine! We just might be visited by the three Kings with a traditional King Cake! We will also honor Ruth Ann Carrico, who is retiring after eleven years as office assistant at SSC. Deacon Dirck is coordinating this part of our celebration. If you would like to assist in this fun gathering, contact Lupe Ellis, who is coordinating our Epiphany Potluck, at 270-240-2153.
IX. Wedding Bells Are Ringing! Congratulations to those who become engaged this Christmas season. It is an exciting time! If you choose to be married within the Sacrament of Marriage, the best response is to call your parish immediately after you are engaged to ask for an appointment with one of us priests. Even though our official diocesan policy states a six-month preparation period, that is the minimum. It is much better to contact the Church sooner, so that you are not rushed in preparing for the most important commitment in your life. You may also find www.marriagepreparation.com helpful.
X. Quintuplets! On December 14, 2015, Meghan Payne adopted the five Gonzales brothers, whom she has fostered for the past year. Prior to that time, Meghan’s parents, Amy and Tom Payne, had fostered them. What a gift for these wonderful boys, ages six to fifteen. Judge Joe Castlen’s Court Room was packed to witness this official adoption. Congrats, Meghan! Congrats, to the Gonzales Payne boys: Kevin, Dustin, Romer, Kennedy, and Brian!
In Joy and Hope,