Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 20, 2020

I.  Plenty of Room! The Mystery of the Incarnation: God sending His only begotten Son to us as a baby, born of Mary; God taking on our humanity so that we can share His Divinity. Jesus born 2000+  years ago, Jesus will come in glory at the end of time, Jesus with us now as Emmanuel, “God with us” always. The Christmas Mass Schedule at Saint Stephen Cathedral is as follows: Thursday, December 24th, 4:00PM and 11:00PM, and Friday, December 25th, 9:00AM. We believe there will be plenty of room with the overflow in our Community Center downstairs, and in the McRaith Catholic Center. We will livestream so you can see and hear the Mass. Ministers of Holy Communion will be sent to both locations. Please remember, the OBLIGATION is still lifted. You may choose any Mass during the Christmas Season (ends January 10th) to celebrate Mass with your whole family.  This is the best gift of all!

II.  Welcome College Students and Visitors! On behalf of our Saint Stephen Cathedral faith community, I welcome everyone 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!

III. Expectant Family Blessing: 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!

IV.  Send a Christmas Card to our Homebound and Nursing Home Parishioners:  inserted in our recent mailing,  you received 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 Saint Stephen Cathedral. We want them to know that they are not forgotten by our faith community! 

V.  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 simply have grown slothful (spiritually lazy), some are searchers, etc. The pandemic has not helped. Whatever the reason, it might be time for you to re-connect with the Catholic Church. If this is good timing for you to join us, do not hesitate to contact Fr. Sinoj Pynadath HGN (Assistant Pastor), Rick Rhodes (Director of Adult Ministry), or myself. We would consider it a privilege to sit and listen. You may also simply call our Parish Office (270-683-6525).

    You are also invited to an informal gathering on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, at 6:00PM in our Community Center  (enter from the parking lot behind our church building; use the downstairs nearest the parish garages/storage). Wear a mask please. Bring a friend! Think about it. Talk about it. Pray about it.

VI.  Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr, Patron of our Cathedral, December 26: Saint Stephen was arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy. His fate was sealed when he had a vision during his trial and cried out, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts of the Apostles 7:56). Stephen was taken out to be stoned to death by a mob, which included Saul of Tarsus, who would soon experience a radical conversion and become a zealous apostle to the Gentiles (St. Paul). Stephen was the first martyr, the first to give his life as witness to the faith! Join us for 9:00AM Mass on Saturday. Saint Stephen, protomartyr, pray for us!

VII. “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, Pastoral Council, Fr. Sinoj Pynadath HGN, and Deacon Richard Murphy, I wish you a Christmas season that sinks deeply into your soul!