The First Sunday of Advent December 2, 2018
THIS WEEK’S REFLECTION
“Be vigilant at all times and pray.” Luke 21:36a
Advent begins with a call to vigilance as reflected in the passages above. There are numerous Scripture passages that call us to this vigilance and anticipation of the Lord’s coming; these are only a few. Being vigilant means, also, that we are prepared. We are not caught off guard. Imagine if Christmas morning came and you woke up suddenly realizing that you forgot to prepare! Imagine if you had no gifts, no food purchased and no plans were made. Of course you wouldn’t allow that to happen, but we do sometimes allow it to happen spiritually speaking. We often are not prepared to celebrate the birth of Christ within our hearts.
The first week of Advent also offers the focus of the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus will return again, in all splendor and glory, to judge the living and the dead. We profess that fact every Sunday in our Creed. So, even though Advent is a time for the preparation of the celebration of the first coming of Jesus in the flesh, it is also a time to acknowledge that His first coming is ultimately fulfilled in His final glorious coming.
As Advent begins, reflect upon how ready you are for Jesus’ coming. Are you preparing for it with the same fervor that you prepare for Christmas through shopping, cooking, decorating, etc? Are you looking forward to that day when He will return? Are you preparing for the spiritual celebration of His birth? Are you awake and attentive to the numerous ways that God speaks to you on a daily basis?
If you find that you are not as prepared for His return in glory as you’d like to be, make this Advent a time when you get your heart ready. Commit to prayer, spiritual exercises, reflection and attentiveness to His gentle and glorious voice.
PASTORATE PASTORAL VISITATION
Today, on this First Day of Advent, the Pastorate Community of St. Ann, St. Wenceslaus and St. Francis Xavier join together as family and friend as we welcome Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore on his Pastoral Visit to our Pastorate. A luncheon celebration will be held immediately following Mass in St. Francis Xavier’s Church Hall where the Archbishop will meet and speak with parishioners. We pray for God’s Spirit to bless and inspire us as we honor Him with prayer and praise!
St. Ann’s Pastoral Council meets this Tuesday, December 4, 6:30 pm. All members are encouraged to attend.
St. Ann’s Sista Circle presents their Holiday Tea this Saturday, December 8 at St. Matthew’s Church, 5401 Loch Raven Blvd. 1 pm – 5 pm. See the Sista Circle members for ticket inquires. Proceeds benefit the St. Ann Health & Wellness Fair.
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION FEAST
The feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is Saturday, December 8. The Blessed Mother under the title of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States. Especially at these challenging times for our country and throughout the world, we ask Mary to intercede with her Son so that we may know peace and harmony in our global community. Mass for our Pastorate will be offered at St. Francis Xavier Church 5pm.
BREAKFAST WITH SANTA
A Breakfast with Santa for our Pastorate will be held on Saturday, December 15th from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall 1501 E. Oliver Street. Tickets are $7 and are available to obtain from Antoinette Shannon of St. Wenceslaus Church. If you are interested in attending, please notify the parish office. Each child 12 years and younger will receive a gift from Santa and everyone will enjoy a full breakfast, songs, games, etc. Tickets are limited and will not be sold at the door.
RETIRED RELIGIOUS COLLECTION
Next Sunday, December 9 is the date for the annual collection for the retirement needs of religious sisters, brothers, and priests. These dedicated religious served our parishes for generations with little compensation. Now, with so many retired and so few active members, they need our help. Please be generous in your support. Donation envelopes are available in the back of the church.
ADVENT PRAYER BOOKS
Copies of “The Word Among Us” for the Advent season are now available in the back of the church. They contain readings and reflections for each day of the season. Please remember to take one with you as you leave the church.
ADVENT PRAYER SERVICE
A combined Evening Prayer and Penance Service for our Pastorate Parishes of St. Ann, St. Ann, St. Wenceslaus and St. Francis Xavier will be held at St. Francis Xavier Church (1501 E. Oliver Street) on Monday evening, December 17th at 7 pm. This is a great way to “prepare the way of the Lord.” Please join us!
Our Christmas Eve Celebration Mass will be Monday Evening, December 24 at 8:00 pm. Caroling with the Choir will begin at 7:30 pm prior to the evening Mass. Mass will be held on Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25 at St. Wenceslaus at 9:00 am and also St. Francis Xavier at 10:00 am. Be sure to invite family and friends to worship with us as we gather as a faith community and proclaim the greatest gift ever given to our world.
Memorial flowers will soon be available to place on the altar at Christmas to honor a loved one, living or deceased. The suggested offering is $8.
Please also continue to pray for all of our sick and homebound, especially Florence Barber, James Butts, Augustine Christian, Elaine Cousin, Elaine Edmonds, Gregory Epps, John Frederick, Pat Haley, Rita Hardy, Odessa Johnson, Tom Lutz, Josephine McCoy, Penny Palmer, Bernadette Wallace, Nelson Outlaw, Jeannette Rice, Rita Watkins, and Harry Wheeler and ask that God grant them strength, comfort and healing.
Sun., Dec.2 Pastorate Pastoral Visit
No Mass 11 am Mass at
9 am Mass, St. Wenceslaus
11 am Mass at St. Francis Xavier
Luncheon Celebration to Follow
No Sunday School or Adult
Tues., Dec.4 Pastoral Council Meeting
6:30 pm, Anchorage
Sista Circle Meeting, 5 pm Anchorage
Thurs., Dec.6 Evening Mass (confession before/after) Bible Study 7-9 pm
Sat., Dec.8 Feast of The Immaculate
Conception of The Blessed
5 pm Mass, St. Francis Xavier
Church, 1501 E. Oliver Street
Sista Circle Holiday Team
St. Matthew’s Church Hall
5401 Loch Raven Blvd. 1pm – 5 pm
Sun., Dec.9 2nd Sunday of Advent
11 AM Mass, St. Ann’s
Sunday School 9:30 am
2nd Floor Youth Room
Adult Bible Study after Mass
Thurs., Dec.13 Evening Mass (confession before/after) Bible Study 7-9 pm
Sat., Dec.15 Breakfast with Santa, St. Francis Xavier Church Hall
READINGS FOR NEXT SUNDAY
1st Reading Baruch 5:1-9
2nd Reading Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Gospel Luke 3:1-6