The First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new Church year! We begin with Advent leading up to Christmas. Then we have Christmas and the Christmas Season. This begins our new liturgical year.
This is the second longest Advent possible because Christmas is on a Saturday! Our Christmas Mass schedule begins on Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24th with 5:00 PM mass in the Church and an overflow in the gym. Then we have mass 7:30 PM in the Church, 10:00 PM in the Church and 10:00 PM at Our Lady of Good Hope Chapel on the Isle of Hope, and 10:00 AM in the Church on Christmas morning.
Advent is a season of expectation, of waiting, of looking forward, the evenings are long and dark. We prepare our hearts and our homes for the coming of Jesus our Savior and King. So, how do we prepare these four weeks? Usually, we bake cookies for the teachers at school or the priests of the parish. We shop for presents to give each other as a symbol of our love for each other. We sweep and vacuum the floor, we dust the mantles of our homes. We decorate our homes with wreaths, trees, lights, candles, manger scenes, red ribbons, and greenery. These are beautiful and wonderful things.
We prepare our physical homes. Now, do we prepare our souls, the temples of the Holy Spirit, the houses of Almighty God to receive the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, the Son of God? God makes His dwelling in your soul and in mine. On Tuesday, December 25th, will he find it swept and dusted, decorated and adorned?
Here are some suggestions on how to first sweep and dust your soul, clean your heart in preparation and then decorate it and adorn it with virtue and prayer. Each week, we offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession every morning Monday – Friday 7:45 AM to 8:15 AM and Tuesdays at 5:00 PM and Saturdays at 3:45 PM. Our Advent Penance Service will be held on Tuesday, December 14th. This is a great way to clean your house and sweep out your soul! Some people haven’t received the grace of this Sacrament and the mercy of God poured out like a flood through these words of absolution in many years and some make it a monthly habit. I encourage each of us to avail ourselves of this beautiful sacrament of the Lord’s Mercy.
To adorn and decorate your soul, perhaps you can make a commitment to come to 2 daily masses during the week (or come to daily mass all through Advent). We have 2 daily masses Monday through Friday at 7:00 AM and 8:30 AM. Perhaps you can make a point to stop by the Lumen Christi Adoration Chapel each day for 15 minutes. If the door is locked, you can use the code (4-3-2-5-1). As members of this parish, you have 24 hour access to our Lord present in the monstrance for adoration and quiet prayer. Please do not give this combination out to everyone. This combination is entrusted to you because you are a parishioner at St. James.
As we enter into this Advent Season, be assured of my prayers for a Blessed Advent.
ADORATION TO END ABORTION
Please remember to participate in this prayer for the end of Abortion in our country. It begins with our normal Pro-Life Holy Hour at 5pm on Tuesday, November 30th, and continues until 5pm on Wednesday, December 1st. We will conclude with a rosary and benediction. Our regular Wednesday Mass will begin at 5:30pm. To facilitate this, the Lumen Christi Adoration Chapel will be closed from 6pm on Tuesday, November 30th to 6pm on Wednesday, December 1st. Those who have hours during this time in the Chapel are asked take their hour in the church.
May the Peace of Jesus mark each day during this season for you and your families!
~ Fr. Daniel Firmin