The Fourth Sunday of Advent December 23, 2018
The Witness of Mary and Joseph
“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” Luke 1:45
As we enter into the fourth week of Advent, we are given our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph to reflect upon. Though our Blessed Mother was perfect, and St. Joseph was a deeply virtuous man, they were both still fully human and would have walked through Mary’s pregnancy and Jesus’ birth with every human emotion and experience.
St. Joseph was faced with an extraordinary mystery as he discovered his wife was pregnant. He knew her to be a woman of exceptional virtue and holiness and had to reconcile that with her surprising pregnancy. Even after the angel appeared to him in a dream he would have had questions arise in his mind as he faced this situation.
Our Blessed Mother was also invited by God to face her pregnancy in faith. Her response was perfect, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” She could not explain nor understand what was happening but, nonetheless, she knew deep in her soul that God was in charge leading all to His glory.
Both Mary and Joseph are wonderful models of faith and obedience. They were obedient to the will of God despite the fact that the will of God drew them into an incredible and unfathomable mystery. They were first-hand witnesses to the salvation of the world and to the greatest act ever known. And they both embraced this mystery and accepted it in faith.
Reflect, today, upon your own invitations from God to embrace the mysteries of life. God’s ways are often more than we can comprehend and figure out. Mary and Joseph give us the witness of how we are to handle every mystery God invites us to participate in. Say yes to the will of God just as this holy couple did.
During the days leading up to Christmas and throughout this holy season, St. Ann’s has seen an outpouring of love and service in our church and from the wider community.
Special thanks to the members of St. Ann’s Outreach and Staff and all the volunteers who helped distribute food and gifts so generously donated from many who support our mission. They include:
Sacred Heart Parish and School, St. Agnes Church, The Church of the Immaculate Conception, St. Ursula Church, and Mr. Denny Dolan and Friends.
Our thanks also to each of you – parishioners, family members, neighbors and friends – for your holiday cards and gifts. Warm and prayerful wishes for a blessed and peaceful holiday season.
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.
NEW YEAR’S EVE AT ST. IGNATIUS
Historic St. Ignatius Church will join the Baltimore New Year’s Eve scene with its Annual Interfaith Prayer Service. It will be the 25th gathering of people of various faiths, including Jewish, Christian and Muslim, to offer thanksgiving for blessings during the past year and to pray for continued blessings in 2018. The musical program begins at 8 PM. The hour-long service follows, concluding at 9:30 PM, well in advance of other New Year’s Eve activities. Archbishop William Lori will be the presider with the reflections given by Rev. Fr. David Milad of St. Barnabas & St. Susanna Coptic Orthodox Church. We are expecting Mayor Catherine Pugh to participate as well as the President of the Baltimore City Council.
ADVENT GIVING TREE
Each Advent, our church family gathers gifts for those in need. This year St. Ann’s has a special opportunity to join hands with the School Sisters of Notre Dame in their efforts to help families in Haiti who either have limited or no access to clean water.
For this year’s Giving Tree Project, donations large and small will be collected to assist the School Sisters of Notre Dame in reaching their goal of 100 water catchment systems so that families in Haiti have access to clean water. Each water catchment system will cost approximately $350 each per household and enable a household to utilize rainwater for their home and garden use, as well as enable the garden to flourish as a source of food and income.
Designated envelopes are located in a basket next to the Giving Tree or are available from the ushers.All checks should be written to St. Ann Catholic Church, with “Water for Haiti” on the memo line.The red envelopes can be placed in the collection baskets each Sunday.As you make your donation, we ask that you take an ornament from the table by the tree, write your name on it and hang it on the tree. May God bless you for your generosity during this Christmas season
MOTHER LANGE AWARDS
The 22nd Annual Mother Mary Lange Awards Banquet will be held on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 7:00 pm at Martin’s West. The event is sponsored by the Office of Black Catholics to honor members of our Black Catholic parishes for leadership, service and youth activity. We take great pride in announcing this year’s awardees from St. Ann’s:
Leadership Award: Dorothy Horton-Brown
Service Award: Rachel Carrenard
The church office is taking orders for tickets for the St. Ann’s tables at the banquet. Tickets are $60 each, payable at the time tickets are picked up.
We congratulate our awardees. We praise and thank God for each of you and for your generous service to God’s people.
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.23 4th Sunday of Advent 11 AM Mass, St. Ann’s
No Sunday School No Adult Bible Study after Mass
Mon., Dec.24 Christmas Eve Mass
7:30 pm Caroling w/St. Ann’s
8:00 pm Mass, St. Ann’s
Tues., Dec.25 The Nativity of the Lord
9 AM Mass, St. Wenceslaus
10 AM Mass, St. Francis Xavier
Thurs., Dec.27 Evening Mass (confession before/after) Bible Study 7-9 pm
Sun., Dec.30 Feast of the Holy Family 11 am Mass, St. Ann’s
No Sunday or Adult Bible
No Adult Bible Study after Mass
Mon., Dec.31 New Year’s Eve Interfaith
Prayer Service, St. Ignatius
Church, 7:30 pm 9:30pm
READINGS FOR NEXT SUNDAY
1st Reading 1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28
2nd Reading 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
Gospel Luke 2:41-52