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First Sunday of Advent

From the Desk of Father Tharp

Sunday Morning Masses     December 9, 2018          Celebrant: Fr. Schmitz








Daughter of St. Ann now a professed Carmelite Nun


Congratulations to the Jacquemin Family and the Church of St. Ann in Hamilton on the Solemn Profession of Vows and Veiling of Sr. Jeanne Marie of the Cross, OCD (formerly Mary Jacquemin) a daughter of St. Ann Parish.  The solemn profession took place at the Chapel of Carmel of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in Fairfield, Pennsylvania on November 19, 2018 before a Cardinal and two bishops; and a number of family and friends from St. Ann.   I know Sr. Jeanne Marie has been and will continue to pray for all of us in her cloistered life of contemplative prayer, meditation, and service in the sisterhood of this Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites.     Sancta Teresa of Avila….Ora pro nobis.


Feast of the Immaculate Conception


Next Saturday, December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Mary, in her being immaculately conceived without Original Sin, is the patronal feast day of the United States.  Normally when a Holyday falls on a Saturday or Monday, the obligation is dispensed.  This is not the case however if the Holyday is the nation’s patronal feast day.  Since this is the case this year, Saturday December 8 is a Holyday of Obligation this year. 


Masses at St. Ann for the Holyday will be Friday (December 7) at 5:30 p.m. and Saturday (December 8) at 10:00 a.m.  Masses for the Holyday at Sacred Heart will be Friday (December 7) at 7:00 p.m.  and Saturday (December 8) at 8:00 a.m.  These are the only four Masses that count for the Holyday.  Saturday evening Masses count only for the Second Sunday of Advent, and NOT for the Holyday.


Advent Parish Region Penance Service


Please make a note that the Advent Penance Service for St. Ann and Sacred Heart is at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12 at Sacred Heart.  Sacred Heart is ideal for this use as it has six “ready-made” alcoves that easily become six confession stations.  We will try to have as many priests as possible present to hear individual confessions.


Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens and Candidates


Some RCIA candidates and catechumens have indicated a preference to participate in the Rite of Acceptance on the First Sunday of Advent (December 2) at Sacred Heart at the 10:00 a.m. Mass.  Others prefer the Third Sunday of Advent at St. Ann on Saturday, December 15 at the 5:15 Mass.  Thus the RCIA class will be received as official Candidates and Catechumens at both Churches on differing dates.  Please pray for our RCIA candidates and catechumens as they continue their journey of spiritual discovery.


Please NotePre-Baptism Class for December ONLY!!!!


Because the Sacred Heart Second Grade will be making First Reconciliation on December 10 at 7:15 p.m., the Pre-Baptism Class that evening will NOT begin in the basement of the church at 8:00 p.m.   Rather it will begin in the basement of Sacred Heart at 8:45 p.m.  Please point this out to anyone you may believe will be attending the Pre-Baptism Class in December.



Reflection on Scripture


Advent as a liturgical season shares two themes.  The theme of the first two weeks of Advent is preparing for the “Second Coming” of Jesus Christ.  Starting December 17, the theme becomes preparing for the celebration of the birthday of Jesus.  Early Advent therefore focuses on the Eschaton (the End of the World).  It is not some pessimistic sense of our mortality that influences this theme for the first half of the first season in the liturgical year; it is rather a genuine hope in the Second Coming of Jesus into the world that inspires us.  St. Paul calls us to live in this world as if we can hardly wait for the last days; because the last day is the first day of an eternity of resurrection and reward.   Therefore, on the four Sundays, we celebrate Christ (God incarnate) who brings us: 1) Hope (the Prophet’s candle), 2) Faith (the Bethlehem candle), 3) Joy (Gaudate, also known as the Shepherd’s candle), and 4) Peace (Pacem in Terris, also known as the Angels’ candle). 


Advent is not a “count-down” but a “building up” of anticipation to the reality of the incarnation, the resurrection, and the eternity of the Kingdom of God.  With bolstered faith and unwavering hope, let us live Advent well so we can enjoy the liturgical season of Christmas and be more alive than ever in Christ in the New Year.


Next Weekend: Second Sunday of Advent


Bar 5:1-9

Phil 1:4-6, 8-11

Lk 3:1-6


Theme:   Prepare the way of the Lord!



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