Fr. Lara's Lines
The First Sunday of Advent
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I know this
Thanksgiving was different from years past but we
need to keep thanking God for all the good things
he has given us.
Last week, we celebrated the Solemnity of Christ
the King, which marks the end of the liturgical year.
This means that this weekend we start a new year
with the Advent season. The church divides the year
into seasons, just like the regular year is divided by
months. The seasons are Advent, Christmas, Lent,
Easter, and Ordinary Time.
Advent is a four-Sunday season of preparation in the
church for the arrival of Christ into the world and in
our lives. In our very rich Catholic liturgical tradition,
we have so many symbols for each season. An Advent
wreath is one of the traditional accessories for the
season. The wreath is decorated with greenery and
laid upon a stand. A large white candle, called the
Christ Candle, stands in the middle of the wreath and
four candles are placed into the wreath surrounding
the central candle. The four candles may be all purple,
or three purple and one pink. These candles are lit
on successive Sundays in Advent, one for each week.
The pink one is lit on the third week and the Christ
Candle is lit on either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
The season of Advent helps us to reflect on the theological
virtue of hope. In fact, when we light the first candle in
the Advent wreath, it symbolizes hope. Hope gives us
the ability to think about the future. The future will lead
our actions to achieve what we ultimately desire, union
with God. Without something to look forward to, we
can fall into despair. Someone who has no hope has
nothing to live for, but Christians are people of hope.
In this season of Advent, let us start by reflecting on
hope. What is it that you hope for this Advent season?
This is the first Sunday of Advent, a time of longing and
searching, a time for watching and waiting, a time of
hope and promise. We know that the Lord has come,
but Advent is a time to reaffirm the great promise
God made to humankind.
Tax Credit Scholarship
The committees formed to support the SCL school have
been hard at work. They really have brought so many
great ideas to the table. It is inspiring to see all those
parents getting involved in the mission of Catholic
education. One of the initiatives is to promote the Tax
Credit Scholarship Program. This program is meant to
provide funds for scholarships in private schools in the
state of Illinois. There is more information in the bulletin
about this program. This would be a great way to
support Catholic education.
Many ministries in the parish have come to a halt due
to COVID-19; others have found ways to continue.
Zoom has become a meeting place for many people—
from the children in Religious Education to the adults in
Spiritual Enrichment. Sister Nadiya and all the catechists
have been working hard to make sure the children from
our parish learn our faith and stay in touch with one
another. Michael LaTona and Michael Corbitt have
been facilitating the Scripture study program, "Mark:
the Gospel through the Eyes of Peter." In the middle of
a pandemic, ministries like these really help us to feel
some kind of normalcy.