We are now into the second week of Advent. You will notice that Father Duvelius and I are taking turns preaching the Sundays of Advent. This way, everyone hears the same message; both of us are present for all Masses, and we only have to prepare a sermon twice during Advent. (Depending on how one looks at it; it might be a relief for people in the pew too!)
Recall that we are pastor and associate pastor of the entire parish, not just one group or another. We want to be visible and available to everyone who attends Holy Rosary.
This week we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Wednesday, December 8. It is a holyday of obligation. Our Lady, under the title Immaculate Conception, is the patroness of the United States. Each country has itís own patron. For example, in France it is Saint Louis and Saint Dennis; in Italy it is Saint Joseph; for Ireland, of course, Saint Patrick, and so on. Perhaps you have visited the beautiful National Shrine of the Immaculate in our nationís capital, Washington, D.C.
The term "immaculate conception" does not refer to the conception of Jesus in the womb of His Virgin Mother. We celebrate that on March 25, the Annunciation, precisely nine months before Christmas.
Mary was "immaculately conceived," that is conceived in the womb of her mother, Saint Ann, and born without original sin. Mary was spared the effects of original sin since we was to be the Mother of Jesus Who is God. We have a beautiful statue of Mary and her mother, Saint Ann, in the back of our church near the confessional. We can and should recite that little prayer we learned long ago: "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse the thee!" May she pray for our country as well!
Let me remind you that there is an opportunity for confession before all Masses, seven days a week here at Holy Rosary. Please make use of this essential sacrament as part of your preparation for Christmas and the Great Jubilee during these four weeks of Advent.
The Advent Penance Service for those parishes who support Central Catholic School (Sacred Heart, Good Shepherd, Saint Patrick, and us) will be here at Holy Rosary on Sunday, December 19th, at 2:00 p.m.
As you can see, the roofing crew has arrived. So far, no big problemsóat least at this writing. I was hoping that once they took the old tiles off, they would not find any "surprises" underneath. Again, so far, so good! Keep praying for the safety of the workers.
You may note some plaster that fell in the very back of church. This is nothing new. Itís the plaster that was loose because of the water damage from last winter. When the heavy ice and snow melted, we had some leaks. Well, the pounding on the roof loosened some of it and it fell.
One more time folks! Let me bring to your attention THE PARISH STEWARDSHIP CARDS! Youíre probably getting tired of reading this or hearing this. Iím getting tired of writing it and saying it. But, until we get 100% of the cards turned in, weíve got to keep bringing it up!
PLEASE! If you have not turned in your commitment card, please do so this week. We want a prayerful response from everyone. The phone committee of the parish council will call those we do not hear from. So, if everyone turns their card in, it will save lots of work. As I said last weekend, if you cannot participate at this time mark it "$-0-." That way we know that you saw the card and made your own prayerful decision.
Be sure to mark both top and bottom of the card in reference to your financial gifts. This is a bit confusing. Some have already turned their cards in and not marked the bottom, even with a zero (-0-). We will need to contact them again to make sure we understand their intention. Although the card is perforated, do not separate the card. We will do this in the parish office.
Again, we ask that everyone turn in his or her card as soon as possible. We would like to get things together on our Stewardship Campaign and United Catholic Appeal before the end of November.
Our "Giving Tree" project for Advent is on. Select a nametag from the tree, and then purchase a gift for that person. Return the wrapped gift to church no later than Sunday, December 12. If you have questions, please call Marie Pittman-Oechsle at 632-3087 or the parish office at 636-4478.
Sincerely yours in God's Providence,
Rev. Msgr. Joseph F. Schaedel