Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, or Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. This weekend’s readings continue the themes of hope and expectation, adding the element of rejoicing for Israel, for those awaiting the Messiah and for us. But there is also a summons to repentance and reformed conduct. The good news is tempered with a call to responsibility on our part. Like those before us, we are urged to hope and rejoice. In addition, we must ask the question: “What should we do?”

Next weekend will be the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Christmas is very near. Next weekend we will hear about Mary going into the hill country to greet Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist, the Visitation. These two short days before Christmas remind us of God’s powerful promises on the brink of fulfillment. We are not the only ones waiting and wondering what is yet to come, especially in these uneasy times. We have the perspective of history on how earlier promises bore fruit, as well as our own yearnings. Do we believe that there are promises still to be fulfilled, and if so, how do we demonstrate that?

Extra times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation: We had a very nice group of people at the Penance Service on Monday, December 10th. In addition to the 3:30-4:30 on Saturday, December 23, the “normal” time for Reconciliation, we will also offer the Sacrament the afternoon of Thurs- day, December 20, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 P.M. and also on Saturday morning, December 22, following the 8:00 A.M. Mass until 10:30 A.M. So we will have an additional four hours of two priests each available for you to “go to Confession,” or a total of eight hours! Please try to re- ceive this wonderful sacrament before Christmas! If these times don’t work, please call Fr Mike or myself and make an appointment.

Christmas Masses: The Masses for Christmas will be at 5:00 P.M. and 11:00 P.M. on Monday, December 24, and 7:30 A.M., 9:30 A.M., and 11:30 A.M. on Tuesday, December 25. There will NOT be an evening Mass on Christmas Day.

The Feast of the Holy Family, Saturday-Sunday, December 29 and 30, 2018, we will have our “normal” Mass schedule, including the 5:00 P.M. Mass on Sunday evening. There will be a spe- cial blessing for FAMILIES on Holy Family. We hope you come as a family that weekend.

The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, New Year’s Day, IS a Holyday of Obligation this year. We will have a 5:00 P.M. Mass on Monday, December 31, 2018, and Masses at 9:30 A.M. and 11:30 A.M. on Tuesday, January 1, 2019. There will NOT be a 7:30 A.M. Mass nor will there be a 5:00 P.M. Mass on New Year’s Day.

Saint Vincent de Paul Giving Tree: Thank you SO much for all of the gifts that have been re- turned during the annual “giving tree” drive. A number of “Vincentians” from our parish men- tioned to me that this year was far beyond some previous years. So, thank you so much. May God reward you!

Rite of Naming and Commendation: While we think about the “newborn King of the Jews” dur- ing this special time of the year I am very mindful of some broken hearts of parents who lost a child before birth. We have been informed that Christ Prince of Peace Parish, on Weidman Road, near Queeny Park, will be holding a Naming and Commendation Rite on Saturday, January 5.

The rite will be held at 8:30 A.M. Christ, Prince of Peace Church immediately following the parish’s Saturday Morning Mass. It is offered to any parent, family, or individual who has lost a child before birth due to miscarriage, stillbirth, accident, or abortion.

All are welcome. Christ Prince of Peace’s Respect Life Committee kindly requests an RSVP to Val at 314.402.3534 or Susan at 636.253.6308. We have had that ceremony here before and I’ve also offered it to families who have lost a child prior to birth. I would encourage you to prayerfully consider attending this very brief, but oh so moving, ceremony.

Please have a blessed last full week of Advent as we celebrate the “O Antiphons,” the source of our hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” The Lord is coming soon. Let us welcome Him with joy.

Faithfully yours. COME, LORD JESUS!

Fr Joe Weber