December 3, 2017
The First Sunday in Advent
We come today to the First Sunday of the Church’s New Year of Grace, the First Sunday in Advent. As we know the Church Year does not follow the calendar year but rather it begins, not on January 1st but rather on the First Sunday in Advent. Thus today we begin to place our feet along the way of holiness once more.
The season of Advent is grace filled for it is the time of preparation for the coming of Our Divine Savior on Christmas Day. It is said that in true darkness one can never judge the light in the distance. Sailors have discovered this phenomenon at seas as have travelers in the desert. They may see light in the distance but cannot judge how far away it is…is it five miles or five hundred? For the ancient Jews it was much the same as they awaited the coming of the Messiah.
They had been told on that most tragic day, the day of the ruin of our race, that one day a Savior would come who would crush the head of the ancient enemy of our race, the accursed serpent, the devil. But how long would it be…5 years, 50 years, and 500 years? No one was certain. And thus the ancient people of Israel awaited the coming of the Messiah and watched and waited.
Finally, the long wait ended on that first Christmas night when God became a man. In the world of nature we see the nights growing darker and longer right until the time of Christmas. Then suddenly the sun returns and the light shines ever greater on each day. So we are reminded that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the light of the world, a light no darkness will ever extinguish.
Let us use these days then to prepare for the coming of the light and to live in intimate union with Our Lady and St. Joseph as they too await the light.
FATHER PAUL LANDOLFI, S.M.: This is the first time I am writing after the news of the going home to God of our beloved Father Paul. Father Paul went home to God on the afternoon of Thursday, November 16, 2017. He died at the Queen of Peace Residence of the Little Sisters of the Poor, where my own mother and father both died and where I lived for 13 years prior to my coming to St. Paul’s. Qualis vita, mors est ita. This is an old Latin proverb that says as one has lived so shall he die. Father Paul was well known to us as an extraordinarily holy priest with a deep love for Our Blessed Mother and the Holy Martyrs of the Marianist Congregation - priests, brothers, and students - who were brutally martyred during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). And so his death was also most holy. He died as the Marianists and the Little Sisters of the Poor surrounded his bedside and prayed the Memorare. Father Paul served St. Paul the Apostle for many years in spite of the difficulties of his health. Perhaps in your kindness you will remember him in prayer and have a Mass offered for him and for his eternal repose. Even the priests need prayers and need to have Masses offered for them.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE: Tuesday December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Empress of the Americas. It is under that title, the River of Light, that Our Lady is the Protectress of all the peoples of the Americas, both North America and South America. Our Lady appeared to a humble Aztec St. Juan Diego on the Tepeyac Hill outside Mexico City four times between December 9, 1531 and December 12, 1531 – 486 years ago. There she said I have come to make known, to manifest, and to demonstrate my love, for all the peoples of these lands (North and South America). She asked that a Church be built on the Hill and finally she left us the miraculous image that is the most visited object on earth in the Basilica in Mexico City. There will be a Solemn High Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite (Extraordinary Form) at 7.00PM. Visiting clergy will serve as deacon and subdeacon at the Mass and the music will be the traditional Gregorian chant. After the Mass will be the singing of the traditional mananitas in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Desde El Cielo de la manana. Please make every effort to attend. The image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a replica of the one in Mexico City, will be on display in the Church.
COMMITMENT WEEKEND: Today I will be speaking at all the Masses about our Capital Campaign. The weekends of December 9/10 and 16/17 are our Capital Campaign’s Commitment Weekends. This is the time in which all parishioners are asked to turn in their pledge if they have not already done so. Please return your pledge by mail so that it may reach us by December 18th, or bring it to the Church with you that weekend. The return of your pledge will eliminate the need to make any further follow-up. Thank you for your generosity to St. Paul the Apostle.
NATIONAL PRAYER VIGIL FOR THE RIGHT TO LIFE: On Friday evening December 8th we at St. Paul’s will join with millions of other Catholics throughout the country in The Vigil of Prayer for Life. It is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We will have a Holy Hour in the Chapel from 8.00PM until 9.00PM presided over by Deacon Ray. Three will be exposition and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Rosary, time for private prayer and meditation and concluding with Benediction at 9.00PM. This is the first time ever that St. Paul’s will participate in this national movement. It is my fond hope that many parishioners will join us that evening.
In Jesus and Mary,