Browsing From the desk of Fr. Tharp

December 10, 2023 - Second Sunday of Advent

Next Sunday:  Third Sunday of Advent     Celebrant:  Fr. Tharp    

Christmas is on a Monday this Year


We will celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent on the morning of Sunday, December 24, and begin the celebration of Christmas Masses that afternoon at 3:00 p.m.   I realize that asking Catholic people to celebrate two major feast days (the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas) within the course of 57 consecutive hours seems a bit much; but this is precisely what the calendar requires us to do this year. 


Unfortunately this means we cannot celebrate a “two-fer”!   You cannot satisfy the “Sunday obligation” by celebrating the anticipatory Christmas Mass on a Sunday afternoon.  Similarly you cannot celebrate Christmas by attending a Fourth Sunday of Advent Mass on Sunday Morning (December 24).   Essentially, you can celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent by attending a Mass after 3:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon or by attending Sunday Morning (Christmas Eve) Masses before Noon.   Masses starting from 3:00 p.m. or thereafter on Sunday afternoon will be for Christmas, not for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. 


Confused?   Don’t be concerned.  If you intend to go to Mass to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve (Sunday) consider attending an anticipatory Sunday Mass on Saturday, December 23 like the 4:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart or the 5:15 p.m. at St. Ann.  Or similarly, if you always go to Mass on Sunday Morning, consider a Christmas Morning Mass on Monday (Christmas Day).   It may help make the separation between Sunday and Christmas more distinct.  And remember that 2024 is a leap year, so Christmas next year in 2024 will be on a Wednesday which solves the problem.


Preview of Christmas Schedule for the Family of the Immaculate Heart of Mary


Fourth Sunday of Advent Precept Masses on Saturday, December 23 and Sunday Morning December 24 at St. Ann and Sacred Heart will take place according to the usual weekend schedule. 


Christmas Eve (Sunday afternoon and evening) precept Masses for Christmas are as follows: Sunday (December 24) Christmas Eve 3:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart, 5:00 p.m. at St. Ann, 10:00 p.m. at St. Ann, and midnight (12:00 a.m.) at Sacred Heart.   Christmas Masses on Monday morning (Christmas Day) will follow the Sunday schedule, namely 8:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart, 9:30 a.m. at St. Ann, and 11:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart.  


Beacons of Light  Phase Two


We have moved into Phase Two which is “Visioning.”  We will endeavor to discern goals and create teams.  We will explore opportunities for the parish to reach out in faith into a broader scope of our communities.  We intend to pinpoint the purposes for our stewardship efforts and consider new ways to structure into cost centers which could pinpoint purpose and enhance revenue sources.  We will marginalize the maintenance of the impractical and highlight the opportunities for purposeful expansion.  We will seek to redefine the pathway and reaffirm priorities.  All this must be done is the context of practicality and feasibility.  We will look for opportunities to expand, not just maintain.   Discussion sessions for groups and the general parish population are planned to begin in earnest after the Holidays. 




I keep running this article because there are new scams everyday


Remember I NEVER solicit funds, donations, favors, or any request of any kind over the telephone, text, email, carrier pigeon, drone, etc.   NEVER!  Do not allow yourself to be taken in by scammers.  Even if they have my recorded voice, be assured it is computer generated fake!  It is not me!!!  


Reminder for volunteers who work with or around children


Please be aware that failure to register with and complete the requirements of Safe Parish will result in your inability to continue to work with or around children in any parish and/or school setting.  We have been informed by the Archdiocese that there can be NO EXCEPTIONS.


Live Streaming for Precept Masses


Barring the unforeseen, Saturday evening Mass at Sacred Heart and Sunday morning at St. Ann will be live streamed each week.


Please remember to access the Sacred Heart / St. Ann Pastoral Region You Tube site by clicking on the following link:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVLLqbEY5hKWinwz069MVcg



Reflection on Scripture:


Where do we seek shelter?  Where do we experience security?  Where do we go for comfort?  Most of us would probably respond, “We go Home.”   For most of us “Home” was and/or is the place where we feel comfortable, safe, and loved.  Isaiah says in our first reading that God loves us like a shepherd carries the lambs close to his chest and leads the ewes with care.  But then the second reading from 2 Peter seems to say heaven and earth are passing away.  In other words, “You can’t go home!”   In the gospel, John the Baptist reminds us that by faith in Jesus, we have a new home.  Our new home is not a place, but a person; namely Jesus Christ. 


If we seek security, comfort , and peace, in this world….our souls will never feel at home.  We sing at funerals the song based on Psalm 62, “Only in God is my soul at rest…”    The eschatological answer to longing souls is simple.  You don’t need a map of the universe.  You don’t need a celestial GPS.  You simply need to acquiesce to the love of God freely given in his Son Jesus Christ.  In faith, the old adage is wrong.  You can go home; but not in a car, or plane, or even meditation.  You can only find peace, rest, and consolation in a person; Jesus Christ.  


NEXT WEEK   Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)


Is 61:1-2a, 10-11

1 Thes 5:16-24

Jn 1:6-8, 19-28



Theme: John the Baptist introduces Jesus




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