December 10th 2006 – 2nd Sunday of Advent

A Parishioner Writes —
Last week, we announced the date for the Reconciliation Services in preparation for Christmas – next weekend (3rd Sunday of Advent) 16th/17th/Dec. after all the Masses. A number of priests will be here for Confessions, This prompted the following letter from a parishioner:
Do you remember your first Confession? I do clearly. It was a big thing for a small child to venture into the dark box.
The child grew up and thought about what place God and the Church should play in life. The Sacrament of God’s love and forgiveness got the thumbs up, but the practice of going on a regular basis became routine and meaningless. Somehow the intervals between Confessions became greater until I eventually stopped going altogether.
Several years passed, during which I made odd attempts to put the situation right. I was deeply unhappy without it. I shopped around for a priest who would help and finally found a kind, caring and compassionate Confessor who made me feel welcome and didn’t seem to care how long I had been away, only that I was back. He also understood how very much I wanted to be at peace with Jesus and with myself. I still struggle. I don’t find Confession easy. The Service of Reconciliation with so many others present and looking to meet Jesus is a beautiful time. Okay, the butterflies and the struggle are still there but somehow I manage, and the sense of the real presence of the Lord and his love, forgiveness and understanding make the effort worthwhile. I plan to be at one of the Penitential Services next weekend. I know the Good Lord will be waiting for me. Bless all who make our Parish what it is. Sincerely . . . . .

L’Arch Christmas Craft Fair
This Sun. 10th Dec. 10am–5pm L’Arch Community Centre, Togher (next to Parish Church). All welcome: adm. free. Lots of beautiful hand-crafted gifts for all the family.

Parish Christmas Card
There has been a big demand for the new Parish Christmas Card and Christmas Triduum Mass Card – available in the Parish Office after Mass today and during the week.
The Triduum of Masses will be offered on 23, 24, 25 Dec.

Santa to help St. Vincent de Paul Society
Santa, whose real name is St. Nicholas, is probably the best loved saint of children. His feast day is Dec. 6th. This weekend he will be here with a basket of letters. In his letter he will tell us to prepare well for the Birthday of Jesus and will ask us to bring a specific item the following weekend 16/17 Dec. and place it in his basket. Santa will deliver your gifts to members of St. Vincent de Paul who are always helping those in need. In preference to toys, donations of food items (non perishable), chocs, biscuits and small items of clothing will be appreciated. Don’t forget to collect your letter. We thank you for your continuing support.

Important Date
16th/17th Dec.  Penitential Rites at all the Masses.

Christmas Masses
Christmas Eve:    6 pm & 10 pm
Christmas Day:    9 am, 10.30 am, 12 noon.

Christmas Raffle
Thanks to the generosity of a few parishioners, a Monster Hamper has been put together in aid of the Church Grounds Fund. Tickets are on sale after Mass today and during the coming days. One line €2,  3 lines €5.

God’s Word for 3rd Sunday of Advent 16/17 Dec.
1st Reading: Prophet Zephaniah, Psalm 12, 2nd Reading: St. Paul Philippians 4:4-7. Gospel: Luke: 3:10-18.

Walk With Me
There are a few copies of the booklet “I am Here” available. An excellent little book, they are available at the back of the Church (Cost €1). An Advent journey of prayer.

“Do this in Memory”
Next Sunday at the 10.30 am Mass we have our fourth “Do this in Memory” Mass for those preparing or First Holy Communion.

St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society
Monthly meeting in the Parish Centre this Tuesday 12th Dec. after the 10 am Mass.

Would you like to donate a Poinsettia Pot Plant (Red) to decorate our altar for Christmas? (Not too tall. Small bushier plants last longer).

A Thought
We all like to give and receive gifts. They tell us though that millions are spent on unwanted gifts at Christmas time. These are gifts that are not used or not wanted by the person who gets them. God gives us many gifts each day, but especially the gift of life, the gift of forgiveness, days full of endless possibilities. It is up to us to use these gifts. It would be a shame to let them become unused or unwanted gifts.
Lord, help me to use these two remaining weeks of Advent as a gift to you. Help me to make the most of these special days giving me a chance to come closer to you and prepare for Confession this coming weekend.