The Pastor's Column

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.

Zoom Ministry
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.

Fr. Lara