The Pastor's Column

Fr. Lara's Lines

1st Sunday of Advent

Liturgical Calendar

The liturgical year is a cycle of six seasons: Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time after Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time after Pentecost. The Church year begins with the season of Advent which follows the feast of Christ the King. The different seasons of the liturgical calendar help us to meditate on all the mysteries of our faith. The liturgical calendar helps us grow in our relationship with God. The spiritual life of the Church revolves around the celebration of the liturgical seasons. Each season is celebrated in a different way allowing us to walk towards a more perfect union with God. The solemnities, feasts, and memorials draw us closer to the presence of God. The vestments, colors, decorations, chants, prayers, and gestures are meant to help us recognize and feel the uniqueness of each season.

One of the books used at Mass is the lectionary which contains the readings we hear--first reading, psalm, second reading, and gospel. The cycle of readings for Sundays is different from the readings we use for daily services. For the Sunday readings, the cycle is divided into three years (A, B, and C). Year B begins this weekend, December 3, and continues through December 1, 2024. In Year A, we read mostly from the Gospel of Matthew; inYear B, the Gospel of Mark and chapter 6 of the Gospel of John; in Year C, the Gospel of Luke. The Gospel of John is read during the Easter season in all three years. For many of the Sundays during this year, we will be hearing the Gospel of Mark. I encourage you to reread and meditate on the gospel of Mark during this liturgical year.

of Jesus into the world and into our hearts. The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means coming or arrival. It is a time of preparation. For the last few weeks, we’ve talked about preparing for the second coming of Jesus. During Advent, we also prepare ourselves to celebrate the first coming of Jesus. At his first coming, Jesus brought a message of peace, love, joy, and faith into the world. The season of Advent prepares us for the nativity of Jesus on Christmas Day. What are you doing this Advent to be ready for the coming of Jesus? Is there anything in your life you need to change for Jesus to find a place in your heart?

Reconciliation Service In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tells us to be watchful and alert for we do not know when the time will come. The Church also wants us to be prepared. Preparation or training is a big part of our culture. We spend so much time and resources getting ready for events, competitions, jobs, tests, etc. The Church wants us to be spiritually ready for receiving Jesus into our lives. Advent is a season of preparation. We have four weeks to prepare our hearts for the nativity of Jesus.

Every Advent, we have the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is one way for us to be spiritually ready. Reconciliation cleanses our hearts, frees our minds, and brings peace to our souls. Confession helps us to recognize our failings and get the graces we need for sanctification. Next Tuesday, December 5 at 7:00pm, we will host an Advent Reconciliation service at SCL. As in the past, parishioners from Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Norbert will join us for this service. Advent is preparation for Christmas, preparation to receive Jesus into the world and our hearts. This Reconciliation service makes Advent a more spiritual season.

The Immaculate Conception
The Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. This is one of four Marian dogmas of the Church: One, Mary the Mother of God; two, Mary’s perpetual virginity; three, Mary’s assumption into heaven; and four, Mary’s Immaculate Conception. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary declares that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin. Pope Pius IX formally defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 1854, in his encyclical Inneffabilis Deus: “We pronounce and de- fine that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moment of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of Almighty God, in view of the mer- its of Christ Jesus, Our Savior, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, is revealed by God and therefore is to be firmly and confidently believed by all the faithful.”

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a holy day of obligation. The Church invites us to celebrate this dogma by participating in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Mary was immaculately conceived so that she could give birth to the savior of the world. Jesus now comes to us in the Eucharist. It is a privilege to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. We will have a vigil Mass on Thursday, December 7at 7:00 pm, and Masses on Friday, December 8 at 9:00am and 7:00pm.

Fr. Lara

Recognize God in Your Oridinary Moments - By Colleen Jurkiewicz Dorman
Memento Mori
Just this week, my husband and I signed our wills, and the lawyer was careful to couch our transaction in gentle, abstract language: “When we lose you” she kept saying, instead of “When you die.”

It’s very uncomfortable to dwell on our death. But the Christian life does not just encourage us to do so; it demands that we do.

I once came upon a prayer consecrating the last two hours of life to the Blessed Mother. I have since found variations of the prayer online with different phras- ing, but the sentiment of them all is the same: Let me not be caught sleeping. Let me be ready.

“You can’t do all your homework at the end,” a deacon who ministers to the dying once told me. “Good Friday is waiting in the wings for all of us.”

I think of that a lot when I don’t particularly feel like praying, when I think I’m too busy to go to confession or when feelings of resentment fester inside me on Sunday mornings as I pack my family off to church. All our good deeds are like polluted rags, says the prophet. We have all withered like leaves.

You can’t do all your homework at the end. God is faithful. Are we?

“May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” — Mark 13:36

The Holy Father's Intentions for December

We pray that people with disabilities may be at the center of attention in society and that institutions may offer inclusive programs which value their active participation.

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.
Dear God,
We pray in gratitude for all of those who have defended peace, virtue, and justice with honor. We pray especially for those who have suffered in mind and body from the ravages of war. May Your peace reign in our hearts and in our world. Amen.

He Who Sacrificed His Life

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
MATTHEW NEUBAUER, Nephew of Dan & Judy Neubauer 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

To add or remove someone, please send the person’s name and relationship (optional) to

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:


Ukrainian Catholic Archdiocese of Philidelphia:

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

Neighbors of other Faiths
The Golden Rule

Excerpted from
We may speak of great differences in religious beliefs and forms of worship around the world. Called by an endless number of names, all, however, recognize and worship a Supreme Being. And all religions, somewhere in their sacred literature, expound the fundamental philosophy of the Golden Rule.

Buddhism: Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
~ Buddha, Undanavarga 5:18

Christianity: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that all men should do to you, do ye even so to them.
~ Matthew 7:12

Confucianism: What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
~ Confucius, Analects 15:23

Hinduism: Good people proceed while considering what is best for others is best for themselves.
~ Hitopadesa

Islamism: No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
~ Mohammed, Traditions

Judaism: And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
~ Leviticus 19:18

Zoroastrianism: Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others.
~ Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29