With just three days to go until Christmas, the kind of preparation we may be focused on may have little to do with Jesus’ birth. Let us take this opportunity to focus on the true gift of Christmas. A virgin will bear a son, one in the line of David, who will be called Emanuel, “God is with us.” Along with preparing gifts and Christmas dinner, let us also prepare a place in our hearts for God to be with us.
On Christmas Eve we will celebrate Family Mass at 5:00 P.M. and High Mass at 10:30 P.M. Caroling starts at 10:00 P.M. On Christmas Day we have Mass at 8:00 A.M. and 10:30 A.M. I pray for good weather and numerous participation in these very special Masses.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our Advent Giving Tree Project. Your response was very, very good. Gifts you have shared will make Christmas more joyful and happy for many. Thank you!
Our Church looks very nice outside and inside as well. Thanks to all who decorated our church so beautifully. Final decorating of the church for Christmas will take place Monday 12/23 at 6:30 P.M. Any help is appreciated.
Next Sunday we celebrate as the Holy Family Sunday. A special blessing will be given to our families.
Our Youth Group will distribute blessed oplatki in the vestibule after all masses this weekend. The breaking of the Christmas wafer is a custom that began in Poland in the 10th century and is practiced by people of Polish ancestry around the world. It is considered the most ancient and beloved of Polish traditions. In Poland and some parts of Central Europe, these Christmas wafers are dyed and used as ornaments. They are also sent as small trinkets with greeting cards to loved ones who are away from home. The Christmas wafer symbolizes the unity of the family. The wafer also symbolizes forgiveness and reconciliation.
On behalf of the parish staff, and the leaders of our parish organizations, I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy and Healthy New Year! At this time of year, our hearts are filled with gratitude for all the blessings in our lives. We are thankful for the gift of life, our talents and our abilities, the ways that we use our gifts in partnership with God, being good stewards, and building up his Kingdom in our world. We are grateful for our families and friends. We are thankful for the work that God has given us to do in life, for our occupations, and co-workers. We are thankful for our nation, and the local area in which we live. I am also personally grateful to be part of the wonderful parish community of St. Bernardine. There is a great tradition of faith, prayer, service and generosity alive in our community. And at Christmas, we all give thanks for Jesus’ presence in the world.
Once again, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! Let us enjoy the days ahead!