Saint Bernadette Parish Saint Mary Parish
1343 Wheeling Road NE 602 Marietta Street LANCASTER, OH 43130-8701 BREMEN, OHIO 43107 (740) 654 1893 (740) 569 7929
John the Baptist Preaching The scene of todays gospel reading.
A large fresco (10 x 11.5) painted (1732-33) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, (1696-1770)
in the Cappella Colleoni, Bergamo
The Second Sunday of Advent
December 6, 2015
Our Parishes FATHER THOMAS KESSLER pastor (614) 634-0499 wmthomaskessler @ icloud . com
AT ST BERNADETTE PARISH http://stbernadetteparish.net
MARK SCARPITTI 438-3970 deacon dcn.mark @ frontier . com JEFF CARPENTER 681-9918 deacon carpenter.277 @ osu . edu ANN ESSMAN 653-9347 pastoral minister aessman001 @ att . net STEVE HUBER 654-3137 facilities coordinator shuber57 @ yahoo . com LIZ LATORRE 243-1872 liturgical music lizlatorre @ gmail . com The St Bernadette Parish office is in the Mary Good Center, across the back parking lot from the school. Hours are: 9 AM-1 PM, MWThF; 11 AM-1 PM, Tu. 1343 Wheeling Rd NE, Lancaster, OH 43130-8701 (740) 654-1893
AT BREMEN ST MARY PARISH BEN FACTOR liturgical music b_factor @ lancaster . k12 .oh . us JIM SCHMELZER maintenance chair ANGI SKINNER religious education (740) 569-7929 coordinator The St Mary Parish office is at the church vestibule. Hours are 9-11 AM, Tu. 602 Marietta St, Bremen, OH 43107 (740) 569-7929
AT BOTH PARISHES NIKKI SCHMELZER 654-1893 bookkeeper businessmstbparish @ yahoo . com KATHY KEHNAST 654-1893 pastoral coordinator stbernparish @ yahoo . com ANGIE & KENT KERNS 654-2588 religious education kwkerns @ gmail . com JULIE & CHASE STALFORD 808-7294 youth ministry maristellaspirit @ gmail . com
AT ST BERNADETTE SCHOOL PAM ELTRINGHAM principal peltring @ cdeducation . org BARB HUBER secretary bhuber @ cdeducation . org Saint Bernadette School is located at 1325 Wheeling Rd, 654-3137 Lancaster, OH 43130-8701 www.stbernadetteschool.com stbernlan @ cdeducation . org.
Sacramental Life BAPTISM To have a child baptized, you must register and attend a class as a couple (unless attendance just isnt possible, in which case some discussion with Kathy Kehnast will be necessary). Sessions are held quarterly for both par-ishes. The next session will be Dec 16. Try to take the class before the child is born. If you are expecting, call Kathy to register for the class. Please dont ask if you have to go. This is an opportunity to meet with parents of children about the same age as your little one; they are in the same wonderful boat as you are. At least one parent must be a practicing Catholic. Both godparents need to be practicing Christians, at least one a practicing Catholic. If you dont attend Sunday Mass regularly, there is something you can do about it: Start coming to Sunday Mass.
PENANCE The priest is available for Penance at St Bernadette Saturdays at 3 PM and Thursdays at 5:30 PM, and at St Mary Bremen on Sunday at 8 AM.
In addition to Advent and Lenten Penance Services, every Catholic priest is available whenever there is a need. We are beginning to provide Penance opportunities for parochial school children several more times during the year so that they will learn the beauty of frequent confession. The Churchs law requires us to receive the sacrament of Penance at least once a year.
ANOINTING AND CARE OF THE SICK The Sick receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick when danger-ously ill, facing major surgery, or suffering from the ravages of old age. We celebrate the sacrament communally at a Sunday Mass before Advent and during the Easter season so that we can all pray with you for health of mind and body. And, we are happy to bring Penance, Anointing, and Holy Communion to the homes or hospitals of the sick or shut in. It is very helpful to call the parish office to let us know before a hospitalization or when it has been too long since the sacraments were last available.
HOLY MATRIMONY Couples wishing to marry should contact the parish office six months before they wish to celebrate the sacrament. Why so long? Because this sacrament, not just the ceremony, requires serious preparation. And the Church needs to be involved in that preparation. The Church wishes to support couples through the years of their married life. For this reason our diocese offers programs to enhance married life. To learn about these programs, watch the weekly bulletin.
let us pray
PRAY WITH THE POPE that all may experience
the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.
that families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.
COLLECT FOR ADVENT 2 Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
THE MEMORARE Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
ST MARY PARISH in Bremen and ST BERNADETTE PARISH in Lancaster December 6, 2015
both our parishes BLOOD DRIVE The St Bernadette blood drive will be Saturday, Dec 12, from 9-2 in the parish hall. This is a great way to support our community blood needs. To make an appointment to donate, go to www . redcrossblood . org or call Joyce Guenther at (740) 974-5040. As always there will be lunch, cupcakes and crafts for children.
OUR NEW PARISH WEBSITE stbernadetteparish . net
SANDWICH SATURDAY Each month a different grade in our school makes meat and cheese sandwiches for Foundation Dinners to distribute to their patrons. This is a way for St Bernadette students to learn that being of service and helping others can happen at any age. Donations of zipper sandwich bags, lunch meat, cheese and bread are always welcome.
IGNATIUS PRESS BOOK FAIR Support St Bernadette School and do some of your Advent shopping by purchasing books from Ignatius Press as part of our book fair. Books will be available following select Vigil and Sunday Masses and through catalogs until Christmas. Enjoy 10% off books and free shipping. For information contact Kara . tencza @ gmail . com.
FRIENDS FOREVER Friends Forever will meet at noon on Thursday, Dec 17, in the Mary Good Center for an Advent pot luck. And they would like to see you there. Call Ann Essman at 654-1893 for details.
RECYCLE FOR SIGHT Our young parishioner, McKenzie Ortiz, a junior at Fisher Catholic and St Bernadette School alumna, invites you to drop used eyeglasses in the box at the school entry. Glasses will be sorted and checked by students at Ohio State College of Optometry. Then doctors and students will transport the glasses to Lima, Peru, where needy people will be fitted. They will be grateful to you for helping give the gift of sight.
SUNDAY COLLECTION The offertory collection for Nov 29 at St Bernadette was $5,383. The offertory collection for Nov 29 at St Mary was $1,631.
YOUTH CHOIR The St Cecilia Society (the St Bernadette Parish youth choir) has begun its fifth season. They meet on Sunday at 6 PM in the church. All parish students in grades 2-8 (public, parochial, or home school) are invited to join. SCS members in grades 4-8 are also invited to be a member of the handbell ensemble, which meets on Sunday evenings at 7 PM, immediately after the full SCS meeting. Mrs Latorre can answer questions after Mass or you could call or text her at (740) 243-1872.
HAND MISSALS Copies of a paperback 2016 hand-missal for the Sunday liturgy have been made available for distribution to home-bound parishioners of either parish. Extra copies were sent for other St Bernadette parishioners who wish to take them home to use to prepare for the liturgy of the Word at Sunday Mass.
ADULT CHOIR St Augustine once said that, he who sings prays twice. The Saint Bernadette Adult Choir has begun practicing on Wednesdays at 7 PM in the church, but its not too late to join. Our adult choir is both a vocal ensemble devoted to making beautiful music for the Lord and a small faith family within our parish. They would welcome some new members into the choir family. Consider if membership in the choir might be an opportunity for you to get involved in the parish and grow in your faith. Contact Liz Latorre after Mass or call or text her at (740) 243-1872 if you have questions.
CHRISTMAS CAROLING The St. Bernadette Adult Choir, joined by a brass quartet, will sing Christmas carols before the Christmas Midnight Mass. The music begins at 11:30 PM on Thursday, Dec 24.
BABY, ITS COLD OUTSIDE Fashion and Vanity Cleaners announce their eleventh annual Coats for Kids Drive. They are collecting gently worn coats which will be cleaned at no charge and distributed by Job & Family Services. You can drop off coats through January at Fashion Cleaners, Vanity Cleaners or Job & Family Services. CHRISTMAS BASKETS The Bremen Community Food Pantry is in need of turkeys and cookies for Christmas baskets for families. Drop off cookies on Thursday, Dec 17, between noon and 6 PM and turkeys on Saturday, Dec 19, at 8 AM at the Calvary United
Methodist Church. Bring monetary donations or nonperishable food items to
Bremen St Mary Church. To make other arrangements, or if you can donate a turkey
for the baskets, call Mary Shumaker at 569-4796. Baskets will be distributed on Saturday, Dec 19.
SUPPORT ELDERLY RELIGIOUS A parishioner writes, As a Catholic school student from grades K-12, I was formed to be the person I am by many religious brothers and sisters, and I am forever grateful. Show your appreciation for the senior Catholic sisters, brothers, and religious order priests who made a positive difference in so many lives. Please give generously to next weeks collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious.
ST VINCENT DE PAUL ADVENT DRIVE The Lancaster St Vincent de Paul Society tells us that their biggest need these days is for non-perishable foods, paper products (kleenex, paper towels, toilet paper), personal hygiene products (deodorant, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes), and laundry products including detergent. So thats what they ask us to provide. Dont worry about too much of any of these items. There wont be too much, for the Society will share surplus items with the St Francis Center in McArthur. This drive will last through the four Sundays of Advent. Our drop off point will be in the vestibule between the school entrance and the church.
YDISCIPLE: OUR YOUTH MINISTRY ! YDisciple, the youth program for all our high school students at our two parishes, directed by Chase and Julie Stalford, has begun to meet. And they will meet again this Sunday evening at 7. The program is exciting. The young people are excited. Pray for this
ST MARY PARISH in Bremen and ST BERNADETTE PARISH in Lancaster December 6, 2015 new ministry.
BREMEN ST VINCENT DE PAUL Because today is the first Sunday of the month, the St Vincent de Paul Society of Bremen will take up a collection in aid of the poor after Mass. Your generosity and thoughtfulness are very much appreciated.
in the deanery ADVENT AND PENANCE It is the season to what? Shop? Decorate? Send cards? Give gifts? Go to parties? Do we do these things in honor of Jesus? Well, actually it is the season to prepare the way of the Lord. Those other activities may help us prepare the way of the Lord. But they are not the main preparation. Turning our hearts to him is. Going to Confession is how Catholics do that. We have Confession every Thursday at 5:30 at St Bernadette and every Saturday at 3 at St Bernadette and at 8 AM on Sunday at St Mary. Thats all year round because it is an all-year-round sacrament. To teach this lesson we are trying to increase the frequency of Penance Services at St Bernadette School. And during Advent, we will have communal Penance services with individual confessions (and extra priests to help make that work!) at each of the parishes and schools in our deanery. The Sacrament of Penance is very much a part of Catholic life. But it is the easiest part to drift away from. The Church reminds us that we need to confess our sins, at the very least, once a year. We need it, even if we havent any very serious sins. Saint John reminds us bluntly that
If we say, We are without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. 1 John 1:8-9
If you have been away for a while, now is the time to come back. Decide which service or which Confession time you will attend this Advent. So you can prepare the way of the Lord!
St. Joseph Circleville Sunday Dec 6 4 PM St. John Logan Monday Dec 7 7 PM St. Mary Lancaster Thursday Dec 10 7 PM St. Bernadette Lancaster Sunday Dec 13 3 PM St. Joseph Sugar Grove Monday Dec 14 7 PM St. Mark Lancaster Tuesday Dec 15 7 PM St John School Logan Tuesday Dec 15 11 AM St. Mary Bremen Sunday Dec 20 3 PM
MEALS ON WHEELS Put your faith into action by helping to feed our elderly neighbors. Become a Meals on Wheels of Fairfield County volunteer. They have a variety of volunteer opportunities to choose from and will work around your schedule. Deliver a nutritious meal, a friendly smile, and a safety check to homebound seniors in your community. Call Anna Tobin, executive director, at (740) 681-5050 or visit www . mowfc . org to say you want to help make a difference in the life of an older adult.
in the diocese CELEBRATE ADVENT AT THE JUBILEE MUSEUM During Advent, the Jubilee Museum in Columbus presents over 200 nativity sets from around the world, including artist Lois Alguesevas 3-D, life-size nativity set made entirely of carved cardboard. While touring the museum, your children may have their pictures taken with a historically accurate St Nicholas on the Second, Third, and Fourth Sundays of Advent: Dec 6, 13 and 20, at $10 per picture. Live choirs and musicians will perform throughout the Advent season. For details, email jubileemuseum @ gmail . com or phone (614) 600-0054.
ITS TIME FOR THAT WARM FEELING Colder weather means our homes should be a source of warmth. Go on a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend and find out how to build a cozier home in just 20 minutes a day. The next two weekends in central Ohio are Feb 19-21 and Apr 22-24. For information or to register, contact Paul & Marilou Clouse at (614) 834-6880 or visit www . wwmecolumbus . org
YOUNG PROFESSIONAL: BALANCE BETWEEN FAITH AND WORK Join the Catholic Foundations Young Professionals Group on Dec 8 for their Cocktails and Conversation series. Guest speaker will be Kevin Lowry, chief financial officer at RevLocal (www. revlocal . com). Past president of the local chapter of Legatus and author of Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck and dozens of articles in books, magazines, and websites, he sits on the boards of Our Sunday Visitor and Friends of Little Portion Hermitage. Kevin will give his take on finding the balance between faith and work. For details and to RSVP visit http: //www . meetup . com/ Catholic-Young-Professionals-Columbus-Meetup
NIGHT OUT WITH THE BLUE JACKETS The Catholic Foundations Young Professionals Group is organizing a night out with the Blue Jackets, on Saturday, Jan 16, as the Blue Jackets take on the Colorado Avalanche. There will be a networking session prior to the game in the Labatt Blue Zone to mix and mingle with other young professionals. Take advantage of a preferred rate exclusively for the Catholic Foundations Young Professional Group. For details and to RSVP visit http ://www . meetup . com/ Catholic-Young-Professionals-Columbus-Meetup/.
HEALING AFTER AN ABORTION We know that after an abortion, mothers and fathers often feel isolated and alone. At Bethesda they recognize that abortion wounds the body, soul and spirit. You are not alone. Healing can begin with acknowledging the hurt, coming for support and prayer. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool with five porches, in Hebrew it is called Bethesda . (John 5:2) Call Bethesda Healing Ministry confidential lines: (614) 309-0157 or (614) 309-2651 or visit bethesdahealing . org.
ADVENT MORNING OF REFLECTION Waiting in Darkness: this Advent Morning of Reflection happens on Saturday, Dec 12, from 9 AM until noon at Sts Peter and Paul Retreat Center and is facilitated by Sr Louis Mary Passeri. Cost is $20 and includes continental breakfast. Visit www . stspeterpaulretreatcenter . com, or call (740) 928-4246 to register.
ST MARY PARISH in Bremen and ST BERNADETTE PARISH in Lancaster December 6, 2015
MARRIAGE PREPARATION COORDINATOR The Marriage & Family Office of the Diocese is looking for a qualified individual to fill the fulltime position of marriage preparation coordinator. This position provides support, and serves as a resource person, to various individuals and groups, presenters and parishes for diocesan marriage preparation curriculum and also provides assistance through education, research, updates, training, and in the development, implementation and coordination of the marriage preparation programs. Applicants must possess a bachelors degree in theology, ministry, family studies, or a related field. Send cover letter, resume, and references to Human Resources, at dprunte @ colsdioc . org. For details, see the posting at the employment section of the diocesan website, www . colsdioc . org.
and elsewhere SUPPORT THE REFUGEES IN EUROPE As the refugee and migrant crisis grows in Europe, Catholic Relief Services and their partners like Caritas are there on the ground, providing assistance to families in need. As the difficult images fill the news, many people and parishes have asked what they can do to help. For information, go to the CRS web-site at: http://www . crs . org/media-center/current-issues/syrian-refugees or contact Columbus CRS , at (614) 241-2540, ecordle @ colsdioc . org, or socmailbox @ colsdioc . org. In the meantime, keep the refugees in your prayers.
CATHOLIC EDUCATION GETTING IT RIGHT ALL THE WAY THROUGH At our parishes we heartily encourageeven urgeour parents to send their children to good Catholic schools. The young ones need to be grounded in the Faith. They need an education that forms them in the ways of the Faith if they are to become what
they are meant to be: disciples of Jesus Christ, their Savior. That formation must be spiritual, social, physical, intellectual. How else are they going to learn to love God with all their heart, with all their being, with all their strength, and with all their mind, and their neighbor as themselves? (see Luke 10:27) We provide an opportunity for that grounding at St Bernadette elementary school, at St Mary middle school and at Fisher Catholic High School. But the task doesnt stop there. When our young folks go to college, the formation goes on. In most universities there are many challenges to the Faith and to all of the values which our schools and our families have tried hard to inculcate. Seldom are our students adequately equipped to face the overwhelming pressure of these often unprecedented challenges. Learning to respond to the challenges is not at the heart of the agenda of most secular and nominally Christian collegeseven some of the Catholic colleges. It would be good to be able to tell our parents to consider sending their children to Catholic colleges and universities, but some institutions are not doing the job in a way that is truly faithful. Thats why we ordered 50 copies of a college special section on seriously Catholic colleges in Our Sunday Visitor, Oh, the Places Theyll Go! This years supplement puts an emphasis on affordable semesters abroad at some good Catholic colleges, but the important message is to be found in the Directory of Catholic Colleges and Universities. If you have a high school student, please take a copy of this supplement to help you as your think about where your child will be a college student.
JOB OPENING St Rose School in New Lexington needs a long term substitute for the fourth grade. The position will last from late February until the end of the school year. This is a self-contained classroom with 16 students. If you can help with any part of this time frame, call Jonathan Medaugh, principal, at (740) 342-3043.
Guidelines for the Reception of Communion On November 14, 1996, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the following guidelines on the reception of Communion. The guidelines, which are to be included in missalettes and other participation aids published in the United States, seek to remind all those who may attend Catholic liturgies of the present discipline of the Church with regard to the sharing of Eucharistic Communion.
for Catholics As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is con-scious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, includ-ing the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all. for our fellow Christians We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ's prayer for us that they may all be one (John 17:21). Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a
sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon 844 4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the recp-tion of Communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 3). for those not receiving Holy Communion All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another. for non-Christians We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family.
1996, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
ST MARY PARISH in Bremen and ST BERNADETTE PARISH in Lancaster December 6, 2015
readings, feasts, and memorials for this week Saturday, Dec 5
2nd Sunday of Advent Baruch 5:1-9 Philippians 1:4-11 Psalm 126 Luke 3:1-6 Sunday, Dec 6
Monday, Dec 7 St Ambrose Isaiah 35:1-10 Psalm 85 Luke 5:17-26
Tuesday, Dec 8 Immaculate Conception Genesis 3:9-20 Ephesians 1:3-12 Psalm 98 Luke 1:26-38
Wednesday, Dec 9 St Juan Diego Isaiah 40:25-31 Psalm 103 Matt 11:28-30
Thursday, Dec 10 Advent Weekday Isaiah 41:13-20 Psalm 145 Matt 11:11-15
Friday, Dec 11 St Damasus I Isaiah 48:17-19 Psalm 1 Matt 11:16-19
Saturday, Dec 12 Our Lady of Guadalupe Zechariah 2:14-17 Judith 13 Luke 1:26-38
Sunday, Dec 13 3rd Sunday of Advent Zephaniah 3:14-18 Philippians 4:4-7 Isaiah 12 Luke 3:10-18
Mass intentions and ministers this week at St Mary
intention lector servers extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion gifts sacristan / usher
Sunday, Dec 6 8:30 AM for the people Karen Wolfe Caden Fyffe Cody Fyffe Neil Boch, Pam Redding, Karen Wolfe
John Schoenlaub family Jim Schmelzer
Tuesday, Dec 8 NOON Francis Schmelzer Jim Schmelzer Jim Schmelzer
Sunday, Dec 13 8:30 AM for the people Joseph Young Sydnee Rogers Isaac Schmelzer Tyna Schmelzer-Fox, Joseph & Cathy Young
Joseph Young family Joseph Young
Mass intentions and ministers this week at St Bernadette intention lector servers extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion
Saturday, Dec 5 4 PM Debbie Briercheck Tara Craaybeek Clara & Susan Craaybeek, Eve Darfus
Teresa Carpenter, Susan Garrett, Shelia Taylor, Kathy Wagner, Julia Whitehead, Darlene Yarmesch
Sunday, Dec 6 11 AM for the people Patrick Gins Brooke, Bryson & Zachary Vogel Patricia Dreyer, Nancy Griffith, Jim & Rita Merk, Benjamin Peters, Amy Woo
Monday, Dec 7 8:20 AM Louise Young Mary Jane Vajen Kendall Cox, Emeline Neighbor Pat Dreyer, Kathy Kehnast Tuesday, Dec 8 8:20 AM for the people David Shonk Addy Myers, Emeline Neighbor Mary Steyaert, Mary Jane Vajen
Tuesday, Dec 8 5 PM George M. Sus John Hartig Anna & John Hartig Rosalie DeFillippo, Joyce Guenther Wednesday, Dec 9 8:20 AM Lillian Grabowski Bob Christy Emma McCrady, Avee Solt Mary Guinan, Mary Jane Vajen
Thursday, Dec 10 6 PM Helen Henry Kathy Kehnast Ava Ewing, Cady Tipple Paul Lonergan, Darlene Yarmesch
Friday, Dec 11 8:20 AM Ann Muetzel Robin Sanders Addy Myers, Emeline Neighbor Jim & Rita Merk
Saturday, Dec 12 4 PM James Mahon IV Donald Libert Gus, Olivia & Ross Spiegel Rosalie DeFillippo, Marguerite Grimm, Joyce Guenther, Kathy Kehnast, James & Rebecca Kuhn
Sunday, Dec 13 11 AM for the people Robert Christy Collin McCrady, Caroline Messerly, Makaila Moses Benjamin Peters, Larry Sanford, Teresa Scarpitti, Valerie Shaw, David Shonk, Mary Jane Vajen
Confessions and weekday Masses each week in the deanery confessions the parish Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
8 AM Sunday Bremen St Mary 8:20 AM 5:30 Thursday & 3 Saturday
8:30 AM on 1st Saturday Lancaster St Bernadette 8:20 AM 8:20 AM 6 PM 8:20 AM 1st Saturday
4- 5 Saturday Lancaster St Mary 7 AM 9 AM 7 AM 9 AM
5:30 Saturday Lancaster St Mark 8 AM 8 AM 6 PM 8 AM 8 AM
hour before each Mass Sugar Grove St Joseph 8 AM NOON 8 AM NOON 8 AM
4-4:45 Saturday Logan St John 8 AM 8 AM 9 AM 8 AM 9 AM
ST MARY PARISH in Bremen and ST BERNADETTE PARISH in Lancaster December 6, 2015
Rediscovering the Lost Sacrament Penance, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Confession the different names for it bring out its different aspects. But whatever we call it, this sacrament is not easy. Call it Penance and we have put the emphasis on the punishment that we voluntarily take on because we have repented. We have thought about things we have done, we have faced up to what was wrong with them, and we have said we are sorry If it is Confession, it is a telling of our sins: admitting that I did this thing, acknowledging that I shouldnt have, saying out loud that I didnt have to do it and that it was my fault. When we use the Churchs newfangled (= since the Second Vatican Council) expression, calling it the sacrament of Reconciliation, we say that this sacrament is mainly an action of God and not mainly our doing at all: God brings us back together after we have wandered away. The way sin works, there is nothing we could do to patch things up. But God can do it. And he does it in the sacrament. Mind you, Gods hands arent tied by the sacraments; he can save someone even when that person cant be baptized; he can be in communion with someone even when that person cant get to Holy Communion; he can certainly forgive someone who is sorry for sins committed, regardless of the availability of the sacrament. But God knows how he made us: corporal and social. God chose a sacramental way of communicating his life to us because he knew that he invented us not simply as spirits and not simply as individuals. We use symbols and we use conversations, we say things out loud. There is a prayer of blessing over the water in the rite of Baptism that says simply and clearly what is going on in each of the sacraments:
Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs, which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power. That is the ordinary way God has for giving us his gifts. It involves other people and it involves actual communication with them. He designed confession as the sacrament by which he gives his grace through a special conversation between two persons, a priest and a penitent. We dont go to confession (or Penance or Reconciliation) much any more. And it is too bad. In our country many of us have gradually abandoned a necessary means of grace. Why have we done that? We know God commands it. We know that it is good for us, even from a psychological standpoint. We know that we need the chance to say out loud (but not too loud and not publicly!) what is eating at us. We know we need to hear the words of absolution:
God the Father of mercy has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of our sins. Through the ministry of the Church may he give you pardon and peace. I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
To say that he tailored his grace to the shape of human personality is not to say that he made all of the sacraments easy. Especially in the case of this reconciling, he didnt fit us up with any easy comfort in admitting that we are sinners. It is the sacrament that it can be uncomfortable to go to. And we live in an era and in a culture that has taught us to say: If it is not enjoyable, I dont think Ill be bothered. So, what can we do about it? We can come back to the sacrament. Not make a big deal about it, not fret about whether it is absolutely necessary, whether our sins are all that bad, whether they are sins at all, whether God wants us to say were sorry if a little corner of our souls is not yet completely sorry, whether we like the priest we have to go to confession to. Not all that just come back to the sacrament. Advent is a great season for coming home. Come back now, during the season of the coming of the Lord. Remember, this is one of the main reasons for our being Catholics and having a Catholic parish. When G.K. Chesterton was asked why he had become a Catholic, in spite of the fact that the local Anglican parish had a nicer church and a more gentlemanly rector, he replied very bluntly: To have my sins forgiven.
Getting Marriage Right Last summer the government of our country, in what is usually called its judicial branch (but sounded much more like a legislative branch), did what it had no right to do. It pretended to turn the most fundamental social grouping that human beings have, the family, into something entirely different from what it has always been. Always, through all the history of humanity. At least that is what the Supreme Court of the United States of America pretended it could do. And they mostly pretended that it was just a matter of not hurting anyones feelings. They will not be successful. Human life is based on family. Both are more fundamental than the government. The government must defend them. It must not try to reinvent them. And citizens (including Catholic citizens) must reject such tyranny. Family life has undergone many changes through the centuries. But at its root it is based on marriage. Marriage is the permanent, exclusive, uniting of one man and woman. But there are voices that say that is just my opinion. Or that is the ideal, but we arent all the same. That I dont have any right to impose my opinion which is derived from religion (actually, it is derived from reason and confirmed by religion)on people who have another opinion. Thats about where the discussion is now in the United States. And in many other countries as well. Even Ireland, the most Catholic country in the world as Pope Paul called it a couple of generations ago, has decided, by overwhelming popular vote, that they are going to pretend that marriage is something else. So that is where the discussion stands in many of the countries where the more prosperous people live. Dont ever give up the effort to restore the truth without which the family would collapse. Oh, the family will survive, but it will be put under much more strenuous pressures. And many families will not have the governmental and cultural supports that they need to make it. We can change this if we stay with the issue. It happened with slavery. It is happening with abortion. It can happen with real marriage.
ST MARY PARISH in Bremen and ST BERNADETTE PARISH in Lancaster December 6, 2015