Dear Parishioners,

Thanksgiving: I hope you all are having a great Thanksgiving weekend with plenty of fellowship, food, and time together as families! May God bless us all as we con- tinue to give thanks to Him.

Today is a HAPPY NEW YEAR for Western Christians, with the First Sunday of Advent. When we enter into December, we know that we will begin the season of PREPARATION for Jesus’s coming into the world and into our lives. But Advent is not only a time in which we wait for the Lord to come to us; we are reminded that our lives should be a journey … a journey to God. Even as we prepare for the Lord’s coming at Christmas, let us also continue walking our own path to the Lord. (The Advent reflection books from the Diocese of Saginaw will be available again this weekend. Also 2020 Catholic Calendars, courtesy of Ortmann-Stipanovich Funeral Home will be available the weekend of November 30 – December 1.)

Next weekend, December 8th, will be the Second Sunday of Advent. (More about the Immaculate Conception follows.) This weekend Saint John the Baptist makes his first appearance during this Advent. He says, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He told the people of Judea that to prove their sincerity, they should produce good fruit. We all need to heed his call. To prepare ourselves for Jesus’s coming, we can begin with an examination of conscience. Let us see when and how we have failed to produce good fruit and commit to bearing good fruit in the future.

The Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Mother is celebrated on the 8th of December each year, with her birth coming nine months later on September 8th. However, when the 8th of December falls on a Sunday in Advent, as it does this year, the feast is trans- ferred to the next day, Monday, December 9th. However, the OBLIGATION of attending Holy Mass is not transferred. So this year the Immaculate Conception, the patronal feast of our nation, is NOT a Holyday of Obligation. To celebrate that feast, however, on Monday, December 8th, we will have two Masses, 6:30 A.M. and 8:15 A.M. The 8:15 will be an all school Mass, but all are (of course) invited to attend.

Unbound: I was told that we have 70 new sponsors of Unbound because of Father McAleer’s visit here the weekend of November 16 and 17. Thank you very much. Serendipitously a former Air Force colleague, whom I met while deployed in the Middle East over ten years ago, and his son were on an Unbound Mission Trip to Guatemala beginning the weekend that “Fr. Mac” was at Saint Monica. He sent me a number of pictures of he and his son working with the people that Unbound supports in that Central American Country. I have included them at the end of my article. As Disney says, “It’s a small world after all.” I’m sure Unbound will be very happy to continue to receive your support. Thank you again.

The Advent Penance Service for our parish will be on Wednesday, December 11, beginning at 7:00 P.M. This will be in conjunction with our PSR. I hope to have at least six priests available for confessions that night. Because of the early deadline for this bulletin (November 20th), the School Reconciliation services haven’t been scheduled. Most likely our school children will have the opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation the week of December15th. The school families will be told early this week and it will be in the bulletin next weekend if any other parishioners wish to attend. We will also continue to have the Sacrament of Reconciliation available on Wednesday afternoons from 3:30 until 4:30 and on Saturday, December 21st from 11:00A.M. until 1:00 P.M. (in addition to 3:30 – 4:30 that day).

Again, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and will continue to celebrate all that God has given us.

Faithfully yours,

Fr Joe Weber