December 22nd 2002 – 4th Sunday of Advent

Mary’s Dream
I had a dream, Joseph. I don’t understand it, not really, but I think it was about a birthday party for our Son. I think that was what it was all about. The people had been preparing for it for about six weeks. They had decorated the house and bought new clothes. They’d gone shopping many times and bought elaborate gifts. It was peculiar, though, because the presents weren’t for our Son. They wrapped them in beautiful paper and tied them with lovely bows and stacked them under a tree. Yes, a tree, Joseph, right in their house. They’d decorated the tree also. The branches were full of glowing balls and sparkling ornaments. There was a figure on the top of the tree. It looked like an angel might look.
Oh, it was beautiful! Everyone was laughing and happy, They were all excited about the gifts. They gave the gifts to each other, Joseph, not to our Son. I don’t think they even knew him. They never mentioned his name.
Doesn’t it seem odd for people to go to all that trouble to celebrate someone’s birthday if they don’t know him? I had the strangest feeling that if our Son had gone to this celebration he would have been intruding. Everything was so beautiful, Joseph, and everyone so full of cheer, but somehow it made me want to cry. How sad for Jesus — not to be wanted at his own birthday celebration!
I’m glad it was only a dream. How terrible, Joseph, if it had been real.

Penitential Services / Confession Times this Weekend
After 6 pm, 9 am, 10.30 am and 12 noon Masses
A number of priests will be available for Confessions
Mon. 23rd & Tues. 24th after 10 am Mass
Tues. 24th 12 noon – 1 pm. 5 pm – 6 pm & after 6 pm Mass

Mass Times
Christmas Eve, Tues. 24th Dec.   No 8 am Mass
6 pm  (The O’Connor family will lead in singing of carols)
10 pm — First Mass of Christmas / Blessing of Crib
Christmas Day,  Wed. 25th
9 am, 10.30 am (Children’s Mass) & 12 noon
St. Stephen’s Day,  Thurs. 26th. (no 10 am Mass)
11 am Mass. We pray for all those away from home.
Frid. 27th & Sat. 28th:  Mass at 10 am.

Priests Collection
The collection taken up on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is for the priests of the Parish. There will be only one collection. This collection, with the Spring and Autumn Dues are the primary source of income of the priests of the Parish.

Christmas Day Swim
in aid of the Church Restoration
Myrtleville Beach at 12 noon.
If you would like to support Fr. John and his fellow swimmers, Sponsorship Cards can be obtained from the Office at the back of the Church.

Sacrament of Reconciliation
We come together in faith as a community to celebrate God’s forgiveness. None of us is without sin. We are all stories of sin and grace. We are all in need of forgiveness. God knows that deep down in our hearts we want to turn back to him.
Our coming together is itself a sign that we are sorry and that we are asking for pardon. There is no sin beyond the power of God’s forgiveness. God offers us this most wonderful gift, that is, the assurance that no matter how big our sins are, no matter how far we have strayed away from his way, his forgiveness is there for us all.
Have you noticed the famous Rembrant painting in the sanctuary: the Father welcoming home the Prodigal Son? That is how God will welcome us.

Examination of Conscience
Have I kept in touch with God,
    by praying regularly and going to Mass?
Have I fallen out with anyone, have I kept up resentment, hatred, for them? Am I bitter and unforgiving towards anyone? Did I try to make it up?
Am I jealous and envious of others?
Do I gossip and injure others’ good name?
Am I sensitive to the needs of every member of my family? Am I concerned for others in need? Would I put myself out for them?
Am I faithful to my commitments?
Am I sexually disciplined? Responsible? or Selfish?
Do I respect others? Have I used others selfishly? or Irresponsibly?
Have I bullied, harassed or intimidated anyone?
Is justice important to me?
Am I honest? Truthful?
Have I squandered money badly needed at home on drink or gambling or drugs? Or wasted it in other ways?
Have I been slothful or lazy?
A few practical words about the actual Confession:
Most of you are probably familiar with the procedure for this Communal Reconciliation Service —
1) All you need to say to the priest when you approach for Confession is:
2) Then you tell your own story simply, in the best way you can.
If you find to hard to put words on your sins simply say:
Be prepared to leave all your sins with the Lord
and promise him that you will turn over a new leaf.
We must always remember that what God does in Confession is far more important than what we do. God wants to hug us all back into his love. There is no sin that is beyond the power of his forgiveness.

The Story of Christmas
Congratulations to the Teachers & Girls of the local Primary School who presented The Story of Christmas in the Church on Monday night. To all present in the packed Church it was a wonderful and memorable experience.

LOTTO DRAW Dec. 16th
Numbers drawn:  3,  8,  18,  26.
€32 CASH
A. Parkes,  C. Harrington,  P & N Tracey,  K. Kelly
Turkey Winners
M. Prendergast, B. Cremin, T. O’Reilly, Nigel & Aimee
Last week’s net “take”    €3,270
Last week’s second Collection    €1,300
Anonymous Donations:        €300, €100, €20

This Monday there will be two Lotto Draws: for Mon. 23rd and Mon. 30th Dec.

The first Lotto Draw of the New Year: Tues. 7th Jan.

Parish Christmas Cards from the Parish Office.
The TRIDUUM of Masses cards are also available.
Times of Triduum Masses:  Wed. 25th Dec. 10.30 am
Thurs. 26th Dec. 11 am
Frid.  27th Dec.  10 am

Old Money still welcome. Box at back of Church