December 22, 2019 – 4th Sunday of Advent

I.  Welcome College Students and Visitors!  On behalf of our St. Stephen Cathedral faith community, I extend a hearty welcome to everyone as you return home, whether geographically or spiritually, for this significant Feast of the Incarnation—God becoming one of us through Jesus. It’s always good to celebrate Eucharist with you at our Cathedral!  EVERYONE is welcome!

II.  Blessing Expectant Families:  God is present in the lives of every expectant mother, regardless of the situation. This week’s Gospel, Matthew 1:18–24, tells how the birth of Jesus Christ came about, with special emphasis on Joseph, a man of trust and openness to God’s plan. At all the Masses this weekend, there will be an opportunity for a “blessing of the child in the womb” for safe delivery, health, and well being of the child within, as well as that child’s parents and siblings. Congratulations!

III. Send a Christmas Card to our Homebound and Nursing Home Parishioners:  inserted in this weekend’s bulletin (and at the church doors) you will find a list of parishioners who are homebound or living in nursing homes. Why not “lift up their spirits” with a card from you and/or your family, mentioning you are also members of St. Stephen Cathedral. We want them to know that they are not forgotten by our faith community.

IV.  Open House at the Cathedral Rectory: while many folks will take down their Christmas tree and decorations on December 26, we are just getting started!  Fr. Sinoj and I invite you to an Open House at our rectory on Saturday, December 28th from 6:30-8:30PM. We will serve heavy hors d’oeurves and assorted beverages. Drop by 614 Locust Street to celebrate our blessings of friendship and faith!  

V.  Wedding Bells Are Ringing!  Congratulations to those newly engaged this Christmas season. It’s an exciting time for you!  If you choose to be married within the Sacrament of Marriage, the best response is to call the parish office immediately after you are engaged to ask for an appointment with a priest.  Even though our official Diocesan policy states a six month preparation period, that is the minimum, and it is much better to contact the Church sooner, so that you are not rushed in preparing for this most important commitment in your life. You may also the following website helpful:  Congratulations!

VI.  “LOVE makes our Friends a Little Dearer.” “JOY makes our hearts a little lighter. FAITH makes our paths a little clearer. HOPE makes our lives a little brighter. PEACE brings us all a little nearer.”  The mystery of Christmas/Incarnation invites us to open our senses to the Word made flesh—Jesus. Let this Christmas not only be a time for family and friends but also a time 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. Invite a friend! On behalf of the Parish Pastoral Team and Council, and Fr. Sinoj, I wish you a Christmas season that sinks deeply into your soul! Christmas Mass schedule at the Cathedral: Tuesday, December 24, 4:00pm and 11:00pm, and Wednesday, December 25, 8:00am and 10:00am. (There will also be a 7:00pm Mass on Christmas Eve at Blessed Sacrament Chapel at 7th & Sycamore Streets).