Happy New Year! Well, happy new liturgical year. Advent resets our annual walk through the life of Christ by helping us place ourselves in the mentality of the centuries who had been anxiously awaiting His arrival. We are meant now to anticipate His arrival, His Advent, in this season.
We also await the beginning of the year of Mercy on December 8. Here is a holy year declared by Pope Francis to put our focus on the attribute of God that, as our tradition says, best illustrates his omnipotence. There will be opportunities for pilgrimages to walk through designated “Holy Doors” either at Sacred Heart in Jim Falls or at the Cathedral or Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse. These bulletin columns will offer reflections on the Lord’s mercy and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We will offer some more opportunities for the Lord’s mercy here in the parish.
Starting next week, you will hopefully notice that we will have members of our pastoral council and finance council greeting you as you enter Church. All of them will have name tags. This is to begin what I hope becomes a bigger ministry at our parish, that in addition to the ushers who are busy making sure the last minute things are in place, enough Eucharistic ministers have checked-in, taking the collection and bringing up gifts, we will have individuals and families whose unique job is to welcome you to Mass. We will see how this goes. Our target date for this is the second Sunday of Advent (mostly because the first Sunday sort of snuck up on me).
To celebrate the Year of Mercy, I also want to bring back our Saturday morning Masses. Again, we will have to wait a couple of Saturdays for this one, because I am teaching in Marathon the first Saturday of December. But starting December 12, which happens also to be Our Lady of Guadalupe, we will have a Saturday, 8:30 am Mass.
Finally, to celebrate the Year of Mercy, I wanted to increase opportunities for us to receive Mercy in its most concrete and personal way in the sacrament of confession. Starting Tuesday, December 1, I will be in the confessional making dedicated time for confession available (confessions are always available at any time) before our daily Masses. In additions to our standard Saturday time at 4:00, confessions will now be 7:45-8:15 from Tuesday to Saturday. This should get us rolling on the Year of Mercy.
As part of the New liturgical Year, how about some New Year’s resolutions. Try out formed.org, and start watching The Bible and the Virgin Mary, or wait for the specials on the Year of Mercy: Go to formed.org Scroll down to “For Individuals”, and in the box for the parish code enter: WPK4JB Click “Submit Code” Fill in the requested information in order to create a profile (this allows us to see who has registered and the value that we are getting from it) The next page is “purchase” or “subscription”, simply click “I’ve entered my parish code – take me to Formed”. The access is FREE for you
Last week’s Homily Suggestion: Confession certainly helps with this suggestion, but the suggestion was to allow Christ into every room of our hearts -- both public and personal -- and let Him be what He is: King of the Universe.