"Brighten Up St. Clement" on Giving Tuesday here 



O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. We journey now through this beautiful contemplative season of Advent. For many, the month of December can be a most frenetic time—shopping, decorating, baking, mailing, visiting, etc.—in addition to all of our other ordinary responsibilities.  I hope each of us can resolve to take some time, however little, to focus on the awesome mysteries we celebrate Sunday after Sunday in the liturgy, and then on the actual solemnity of Christmas and the unfolding octave (8 days) that follow.  Just think; we’re celebrating the reality, the absolute truth, that the infinite, almighty God, creator of the universe, took on human flesh, was conceived inside the womb of his mother and grew in that holy place for nine months and then was delivered in the most unpleasant of circumstances—inside a stable surrounded by barn animals. His coming was prepared for through the centuries before his birth by much that unfolded in the life of his Jewish ancestors.  During Advent, we’ll meet the prophet Isaiah, Jesus’ cousin John, and, of course, his mother Mary, as well as a host of other folks like Elizabeth and Joseph.  Most amazing is that God did all of this for you personally and for me! Imagine what your life would be like if God hadn’t taken on human flesh.


Our Worship Commission has prepared special materials to help all of us celebrate the mysteries of Christ’s coming. These materials will be on a  table in the church commons  along with the beautiful book marks listing all of the different Advent and Christmas events. Our provincial Franciscan Ministry and Mission Office has given us at no cost small booklets Advent with St. Therese of Lisieux, by Susan Hines-Brigger.  These simple booklets contain some words by the Little Flower for each day of the season along with a short reflection.


This coming Thursday evening, December 5, at 7 pm. we will have our Advent Reconciliation Service.  This is a beautiful, reflective time of prayer and a great way to prepare sacramentally for the coming feast of Christmas.  I and another priest will stand at the head of the line, as we do for the distribution of communion; we invite those who wish to celebrate the Sacrament to line up and come forward one at a time in processional form and privately state that you are a sinner.  You may wish to name a sin that you have been struggling with. The Church says one must name any mortal  sin, which is a when I have freely chosen to break my relationship with Jesus. Whatever you say, the priest will give you absolution and you then return to your place. There is then the opportunity  to speak to the Lord in the silence of your heart. We will pray a closing prayer all together at the end. For those who wish a more extended time with a priest, two priests will be available in the reconciliation room and the vesting sacristy.  One of them, Fr. John Paul, will be able to celebrate in Spanish. The entire celebration will include Scripture, a short homily, music and some prayer together. It ought certainly to take no longer than hour.  Can you not give one hour out of your schedule to celebrate the amazing grace and mercy of God?


Next weekend at each of the Masses we will invite any expectant folks, as well as those who have put in papers to adopt, to come forward after the homily so that the community can bless them.  God’s grace is lavish during these holy days of Advent.  Let’s journey together through this hope-filled season.