Our Masses for the Holy Day of Mary the Mother of God are Thursday, Dec. 31st at 5:00 PM and Friday January 1st at 11:00 AM. We have tried to make the schedule as convenient as possible for those to celebrating the New Year.
The parish office will be open this week until Thursday at 12:00 noon.
Our charitable ministry in Andover and the surrounding communities has grown over the past 3 or 4 years. We now have a St. Vincent de Paul Society that helps people in our parish boundaries that need everything from utilities to prescriptions. We participate in Hands to Serve that helps with home repairs in Andover and the surrounding communities. This year we got involved in Andover Caring and Sharing that helps families in Andover schools that are struggling. We also have increased our support to the Andover Community Food Bank located at the Methodist Church and we will probably host the summer food program this year. Finally we now are helping the Sunshine Children’s Home here in Andover.
This outreach to our local communities is important for 2 reasons. First, there is a need in Andover and we as the largest church have an important role to play for these efforts to be successful. Secondly, there are fewer services in Butler County so churches and community organizations need to pick up the slack. I want to thank the St. Vincent de Paul Society, the many volunteers in the different ministries and Michele Carlini here in the office for all their good work reaching out to those in need in our local community. This local involvement is fulfilling the second part of our mission statement, “to build God’s kingdom.”
Consider making a special year-end gift to St. Vincent de Paul Church. The need for your gifts is real. Your year-end gifts carry us through the whole year. Our ministries to the youth, faith formation, and outreach to those in need in our community are all going strong. Help support the great work happening here at St. Vincent’s. Finally, thank you to all who have already responded with generous gifts.
A special welcome to all the extended families and visitors to St. Vincent’s during this Christmas season. We are blessed by your presence here with us. If there is any way we can serve you, please let us know. The parish office will be open Monday – Thursday both this week and next from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the exception of closing at noon on Thursday, Dec. 24th.
Our Christmas Eve Masses are at 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. and the Christmas day Mass is at 10:00 a.m. The only Mass that will be overflowing is the 4:00 p.m. Mass Christmas Eve. I expect the 6:00 p.m. Mass to be comfortably full. There will be plenty of room at the other Masses.
Our Christmas Collection is for the retired priests and seminarians. We have 56 seminarians and 28 retired priests so the need is great. One of the seminarians, Paul Wagle is from our parish. Use the envelopes sent by the diocese or those we have in your packets. Thank you in advance for your response to this need.
Consider making a special year-end gift to St. Vincent de Paul Church. The need for your gifts is real. Your year-end gifts carry us through the whole year. Our ministries to the youth, faith formation, and outreach to those in need in our community are all going strong. Help support the great work happening here at St. Vincent’s.
Thank you to Linda Johnson for inscribing the names of the confirmation candidates in their Bibles with calligraphy.
Today is Gaudete Sunday which means a Sunday to rejoice for the Lord is near. With troubles in our world and so many struggles in people’s lives, the call to rejoice can seem disconnected from our lives. Yet we as Christians proclaim the Lord is near to us today. Christ is near in the Eucharist, in prayer and in the midst of our lives. Faith opens our eyes to the presence of Christ in our world. Knowing God is with us in the midst of our messy world is reason for hope and a reason to rejoice. One sign of a healthy faith is a joy that comes from a deep connection and trust in God. What part of the Gospel leads you to joy? Where do you find joy in your life? How can you share that joy? Pope Francis tells us we as Church should be signs of mercy and joy. Is that what people see in each of us?
Our Christmas Eve Masses are at 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. and the Christmas day Mass is at 10:00 a.m. The only Mass that will be overflowing is the 4:00 p.m. Mass Christmas Eve. I expect the 6:00 p.m. Mass to be comfortably full. There will be plenty of room in the other Masses.
Consider making a special year-end gift to St. Vincent de Paul Church. The need for your gifts is real as we have delayed some payments since our bank balance is so low. Your year-end gifts allow us to build up funds that carry us through June. Our ministries to the youth, faith formation for all, and outreach to those in need in our community are all going strong. Help support the great work happening here at St. Vincent’s. We need you.
Please pray for our Confirmation Candidates who are recognized in our liturgies this weekend. We have 74 young people preparing for Confirmation this year.
There will be no Good Wine ministry this Thursday. We will meet again January 21, 2016.
Our Advent Penance Service will be this Thursday, December 10 at 7:00 PM. We will have several priests here for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Come and receive the gift of God’s mercy.
The Holy Day Feast of the Immaculate Conception is this Tuesday, December 8th. We will have Masses at 8:00 AM and 6:15 PM to celebrate the Holy Day.
St. Augustine Indian Mission: We welcome Fr. Dave Korth who is here from the St. Augustine Indian Mission that is our sister parish up in Omaha. Our parish has made a commitment to provide $30,000 of financial support for the Mission School each year most of which is provided for through designated gifts of parishioners and through the children’s collection that is taken up at each Mass. Finally, the book sale each year provides additional support to St. Augustine Indian Mission School.
The Advent wreath points us both to eternity and God’s unending love with a circle. The lighting of four candles marks our waiting for Christ’s return and our movement through Advent as we with for light to fill the darkness. We have added the feature of a spiral to emphasize this movement through time and our movement toward God in this holy season.
I want to thank Hector Camacho for building our new advent wreath stand. Additional thanks goes to Bill Bauck who made the spiral that supports the greenery on the wreath. We now have a wreath that matches the beautiful spiral above it. Thank you for sharing your talents with our parish.
I also want to thank Bob and Sue Grelinger and Windy Knoll Tree Farm for the Christmas trees for our Nativity Scene in the Gathering Space.