Pastor’s Letter Nov. 27, 2016: Preparing for Advent

Dear Parishioners,

Advent is upon us! O come, O come Emmanuel! This is the Season that helps us get ready for the coming of the Savior at Christmas. The Season is symbolized by the Advent wreath with four candles. As the light on the wreath gets brighter as we approach Christmas, so should light and hope grow in our hearts; that light and hope that only Jesus can bring. There is a reason why Christ had to come into this world: to be a light in the darkness.

I would encourage everyone to make an effort to make that space in one’s heart for Christ to come. If the heart is crowded with so many concerns, preoccupations and all the stuff that happens during the “holidays,” it may crowd Him out. The Inn at Bethlehem was so full of other guests and crowds it could not receive our Lord that Christmas night. Mary and Joseph had nowhere to go. But the stable received him, that poor, simple cave/structure received him. May our hearts be like that stable, removed somewhat from the busyness, crowds and traffic of the world, a quiet out of the way place.

A few things to consider during this Advent to make space in one’s hearts: Setting aside time for prayer. Reading Scripture, especially following the Mass readings; praying the Rosary every day of Advent, especially the Joyful mysteries. Spiritual reading is an excellent Advent practice. Caryll Houselander’s book “The Reed of God” is a favorite Advent read of mine.

A very appropriate and excellent practice during Advent is going to confession, a cleansing of the soul and conscience, The Sacrament of Mercy, reconciliation, peace. On December 13th at 7pm this year the parish will host an opportunity for private confession. There will be a brief penance service prior to confessions that will consist of Scripture reading, a reflection and an examination of conscience. At least eight priests from neighboring parishes will be joining us to hear confessions, so things should move right along. In addition we always have confessions at 3:30 to 4:30PM on Saturdays, and during the week before Christmas I will make some times for confessions.

I wish everyone a hope filled Advent.

In Christ, Fr. Vincent