The Pastor's Column


Fr. Lara's Lines


First Sunday of Advent

Liturgical Calendar
Since ancient times, people have kept track of time by natural events: the movement of the earth, the moon, and the sun. The meteorological seasons also keep us in a rotation of yearly events; and days, months, and years are essential in keeping track of history. In modern culture, we have a number of events throughout the year that give us a sense of cohesion and stability. In our daily conversations, we often talk about events that occur every year. We could argue that these events or holidays give purpose to our busy lives. They keep us motivated and focused on where we want to go or what we want to achieve. Our lives are not circling aimlessly year after year, but rather we are walking forward towards our final goal.

The Church marks time in a more spiritual sense. The yearly events that we celebrate help us reflect on the supernatural goal, which is union with our heavenly Father. The spiritual life of the Church exists in the context of the liturgy. The liturgy is structured into a yearly calendar which starts with Advent and ends with the Solemnity of Christ the King which we celebrated last Sunday. There are six seasons, each with a specific color scheme: Advent (purple/rose), Christmas (white), Lent (purple/rose), Paschal Triduum (white/red), Easter (white), and Ordinary Time (green). Each season contains solemnities, feasts, and memorials which celebrate the mysteries of our faith.

The readings for Mass follow two cycles, one for Sundays and one for weekdays. The reason for the two cycles is that Sunday Masses have three readings while weekday Masses have only two readings. The weekday Masses have a two-year cycle while the Sunday Masses have a three-year cycle. The gospel of Matthew is read in year A, the gospel of Mark is read in year B, and the gospel of Luke is read in year C. The gospel of John is read during Christmas, Easter, and a few other Sundays. The Church has adopted these cycles of readings so that the faithful hear more of the sacred scripture. By listening to the word of God we can grow in our spiritual life and have a better relationship with God.

Advent
The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means coming or arrival. For us it is a time of waiting for the coming of the Messiah into the world. The season of Advent prepares us to celebrate the nativity of Jesus on Christmas Day. Advent also helps us to reflect on the second coming of Jesus. This is why, in the first couple weeks of Advent, the readings during Mass have a more eschatological tone. Because Jesus has promised to come back at the end of time, we are to get ready for his arrival. We need to use this time of waiting to prepare for his coming. God fulfills his promise to send his only begotten son into the world. God provides the means for our salvation on Christmas day. But we have to do some preparation before the Lord comes. How are you preparing yourself for the coming of Jesus? Is your heart ready for the coming of the Lord into your life? What needs to be changed before Jesus comes into your life?

Advent encourages us to work on our spiritual life. We have the choice to wait for the day passively or actively. If we passively wait, we will not be ready when the day comes, so active waiting is necessary. I always think about the different events we celebrate in our lives, such as weddings, graduations, or birthdays. People tend to spend a great amount of time preparing for those special days. In the life of the Church, Christmas is one of those significant events. Let us prepare ourselves spiritually to celebrate the coming of Jesus in our lives and into the world.

The Advent Wreath
There are many beautiful and rich traditions during the Advent season. Churches are adorned with Advent wreaths from the beginning of the season. The Advent wreath is a reminder of the four weeks of Advent. It helps us to keep track of the Advent journey and the preparation for Christmas. Advent calendars are also popular; just like the wreaths, they are meant keep us focused on preparing for Christmas Day. The Advent wreath has four candles, one for each of the four weeks of Advent. Some wreaths might have a fifth candle, a Christmas candle at the center of the wreath. Each Sunday of Advent here at Saint Catherine’s, we invite parishioners to light the candles at the beginning of Mass individually or as a family. This is a beautiful reminder of our spiritual journey as a parish. We will reflect more on the meaning of the candles next week.

Peace
Fr. Lara

Live the Liturgy
Whether it is the surgeon performing an operation or the pilot directing a flight, one expects them to be alert. When we entrust our lives to someone, we presume that they will attend to them with the utmost care and vigilance. If we have this expectation of others, why would we not have it of ourselves? Our lives are precious vessels on an eternal journey. We can only stay afloat and on the course because of God’s love and mercy. It is easy to get distracted, lazy, preoccupied, and tired. Apathy can wreak havoc on the most dedicated of souls. God’s word transforms all that it touches, even a lukewarm heart. Let us seek God’s grace this Advent season so that we can walk more fully in His light. Then, finding ourselves more attentive, focused, alert, and watchful, we will be eager and well prepared to meet our Lord when He comes. Why would we not want to be ready, awake, and watchful for the One we have waited for so long?

Honor Our Military

Please take time to give thanks for those who have served and are serving in our military and to pray for the safety of those who may currently be in harm’s way. In a special way, we thank and pray for these parishioners and relatives of parishioners.

He Who Sacrificed His Life
†CHRISTOPHER ZIMNY

Those Still Serving
JAY MARTIN, Nephew of Becky and Tom Brennan
JESSICA CAMERON, Niece of the Cameron Family
JOHN PODCZASKI, Grandson of Genevieve Podczaski
STEVEN TUMBARELLO, Son of Sylvia & Vince Tumbarello
CRAIG BEHRENDT, Grand-nephew of Sister Mary Helen
DANIEL BELZER, Nephew of Dave & Bev Belzer
MICHAEL KELLY, Nephew of Kevin and Kathy Kelly
EUGENE WALL, Nephew of Suzanne Lessner
NAILL SWIDER, Grand-nephew of Alice Swider
BRYAN DUFF, Son of Julie Duff
RYAN BLOCHBERGER, Nephew of Mae Grady
TIMOTHY DWORKIN, Grandson of Barbara Bouska
ALEXIS GONZALES, Great-niece of Eden & Lyle Gonzales-Nemzin
JACK MAHON, JR., Son of Jack, Sr. & Eileen Mahon
MICHAEL FOLEY
JOHN FOLEY
PETER MULLER
DANIEL FRAYNA
JOSEPH GULLO
SANG HOON LEE
ANTHONY PALMERO
MORRIS COREY MCMAHON, SON OF CHRIS & JULIE MCMAHON
RYAN FONTILLAS

To add or remove someone, please send the person’s name and relationship (optional) to sclbulletin@mail.com

Please Pray for Ukraine

For our sisters and brothers involved in or affected by the war and devastation in Ukraine-- the deceased, the injured, the frightened, the displaced, the fighters, the protesters, the leaders. May God give them solace, healing, comfort, and hearts and minds directed toward peace.
Donations can be made here:

Knights of Columbus: https://www.kofc.org/secure/en/donate/ukraine.html

Caritas: https://www.caritas.org/

Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philidelphia: https://ukrarcheparchy.us

"May the Queen of Peace preserve the world from the madness of war" - Pope Francis