+ Annual Navaho Holiday Outreach, December 4. We delayed our customary 5th Sunday Collection in October in order to direct these charity funds more specifically to this collection for some of our more needy and elderly Navaho neighbors in Utah and northern Arizona. As with last year, we are committed to donating at least $1000 from our charity outreach account so your donations will keep our charity account and local opportunities flexible as needs arise.
The Diocesan Advent Retreat will be live-streamed on December 3rd from 9:00 -11:00 AM in the St. Christopher’s Social Hall. “He will Come: The Poetry of Advent” will be presented by Fr. Tristan Dillon, parochial vicar of St. George Parish. All are invited. Coffee and breakfast snacks will be provided.
Hospitality: Remember that we are a ‘Hospitality Parish’ with a major outreach to our many visitors. Please sign up to help host our Sunday morning Coffee and Muffin gathering. As we revert to just one Sunday Mass there will no doubt be throngs now in attendance, so please join the fun!! Sign up list is in the gathering space.
Join us for Liturgy of the Hours after the Tuesday Morning 8:00 AM Mass and after Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at 5:00 PM on Thursday. See our website for the ibreviary website or app. Also, hard copies of the Hours will be available. Being a Eucharistic people invites us into a deeper and more personal relationship with each other in the community and then sends us out to be this deep presence to the world. It’s the real presence of Christ. When we pray the Liturgy of the Hours we pray with and for the whole Church. At St. Christopher’s this action has a particularly relevant meaning as we welcome people from all over the country and the world. We then send them out and ultimately back where they came from. They are changed by being here and being together. We can even join the whole world in praying for them throughout the week. This is a real connection and world changing.
Christmas Mass Schedule
Christmas Eve, December 24, Saturday: 7:00 PM
Christmas Day, December 25, Sunday: 9:00 AM
Homily Reflection…. First Sunday of Advent:
It’s that time of year again when we begin preparing for an event that happened 2000 years ago. This could seem almost nonsensical except that the Church understands our wounded human nature very well. Mother Church knows that thousands of years of history demonstrate that we tend to be a species prone to the allure of darkness, i.e., illusion, confusion, distortion and forgetfulness. We like the obscurity that darkness affords us when devising our own ideas and own plans without too much critique from others. We also like hiding from God.
God’s thoughts, ideas and plans are just too big and mysterious and take waaaaaay to long to implement. By living in God’s time, we can find ourselves with too much open space to attend to all the raging noise and dissonance going on inside of us. Unresolved fear, sadness, anger, shame, guilt, general confusion. Best to keep busy and keep our worlds small and shallow…. except for the fact that our grandchildren inherit the catastrophic consequences.
Paul’s letter to the Romans cajoles us to ‘throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light’. We are prone to under interpret reality, to confuse creation with the Creator. When we cannot make the transition from the beauty of creation to our ultimate transcended destiny with the Creator, we get lost in pettiness and inordinate fascination with the things of the flesh. This is the work of the devil and we are simply no match without the Light of the World.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains that “vaccines can help protect against certain diseases by imitating an infection. This type of imitation infection, helps teach the immune system how to fight off a future infection.” Advent can act like a vaccination in that the season comes during the shortest days of the year and hence the darkest days of the year. Before electricity and 24-hour shopping, this used to be a time when people naturally slowed down. The darkness, whether welcomed or not, almost forces people to listen more attentively to their interior noise and promptings. Advent is a time to slow down and enter deliberately into this darkness. It makes us stronger and better prepared to live in the light.
Later in the season I will offer an examination of conscience focusing on the Spiritual Works of Mercy. Our venture into the deliberate darkness of Advent can be especially helpful in preparing us to perform these works. Our self-awareness helps to respond more effectively to the needs of others. We still NEED to be saved. Maranatha!! Come, Lord Jesus!!
REPENT!: Remember that Fr. Rick is available almost any time for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Thursdays ( 4 to 5 PM) can be an especially good opportunity.