Time to get ready for Christmas

                I’d say I’m a few days behind…but not all that many. Each year as the weeks of Advent roll by, I end up comparing this year’s progress to year’s past.

                For example, I gauge the day of the second or third week of Advent when I complete my brief Christmas letter to friends and family, where I summarize in about 400 words some of the joys and challenges of the year past. I put that in with a Christmas card. This year’s letter will have as one of the challenges, the fact that my brother Tim and his wife Shohreh are divorced after nearly forty years. So far it is as amicable as a divorce can be. They are both loved by all and Thanksgiving went wonderfully.

                I compare when I put out the Christmas lights, which typically will happen on my day off the second or third week of Advent, hampered this year by cold weather and that my day off in the second week of Advent is December 8. Finally, the indoor decorations will go up after the outdoor lights, with the added challenge this year of putting plenty of upside down tape around the Christmas tree and toy train, hoping that the new rectory kitten, Panda, will not wreck things!

                At this writing, I haven’t accomplished any of those things, and my bulletin article is late.  However, I’m not afraid I’ll run out of time. They’ll get done in God’s time, even if a bit late in human time.

Year of St. Joseph Closes

                Speaking of a bit late, this past Wednesday’s Holy Day of the Immaculate Conception marked the end of the year of St. Joseph. It was a joy, among other St. Joseph related events, to participate in a consecration to St. Joseph and ponder St. Joseph in new ways.

                For example, I pondered in a homily how St. Joseph could rightly be the patron saint of immigrants and migrants, in the ways he followed the Father’s direction to migrate with Mary and Jesus to Egypt, and then to Nazareth. Because Joseph was planning on divorcing Mary, rightly, according to the Law, made me wonder about whether St. Joseph might also be dubbed the patron saint of those considering divorce or of the divorced.

                May we continually appreciate St. Joseph all the days of our life. Then, shepherded through death by the grace of Jesus and the prayers of St. Joseph, the patron of Happy Death, we will be with him in the eternal day, being patron with him of our loved one’s laboring in the earthly kingdom.

Get Your Welcome On

                During these last two weeks of Advent, please be praying in a special way that we will “get our welcome on” as a parish, preparing to warmly welcome those making homecomings and visiting.

                Pastoral Staff members are being asked to attend two Christmas Day Masses to welcome visitors. Similarly, Pastoral Council members are also being asked to greet people at the Mass they normally attend. We will have lots of welcome ministry people, ushers and greeters, at their posts with smiles and warm welcomes.

                However, priests, deacons, parish staff, parish leaders and ministers are perhaps not the most important “welcomers.” Those people are expected to minister welcome in Jesus’ name.  Far more numerous will be parishioners in the pews next to visitors. Welcoming parishioners will surprise and “seal the deal” of Jesus’ welcome to Incarnation Church. Thanks to parishioners who will make the most of the opportunity to welcome fellow congregants: with a warm welcome at the beginning of Mass, with an attentiveness to a visitor’s needs throughout the Mass and with a last “Merry Christmas” after Mass is over!

                If you see someone you don’t know.  Ask them how long they have been a member at Incarnation. Thank them for those years of belonging. If they are a visitor, find out more, and most of all thank them for coming and invite them back!

Sincerely and with Love in Christ,

Fr. Pat

Music Survey – Feedback continues to our Parishioners

This is the second of several articles to come sharing the results from the Music Survey. Below are a handful of fixes the Committee has elected to execute, some of which have already been implemented:

1. More traditional-oriented music will be played at 5:30 pm, 7:30 am, 10:30 am and Noon Masses, and more contemporary-oriented music played at 9:00 am (PAC) and 5:00 pm Masses.

2. A weekly “songbook” will be produced and made available at the 9:00 am and 5:00 pm Masses to start and may eventually evolve to all Masses. Execution to begin as soon as practical.

3. An independent consultation regarding the sound system in the church will be completed ASAP.

4. The musicians will announce what song is to be played/sung prior to the start of each.

5. A study will be initiated to determine the loudness of the music at various locations within the Church.

6. A couple minutes of silence will be observed after Communion has been completely distributed.

Additional ideas/recommendations, which will require more extensive thought and planning, are already being developed by the Committee in consultation with Kevin Samblanet, our Music Director. If you didn’t get the chance to complete a survey, please be sure to pick one up at the church entrances and turn it in with the offertory collection during mass. Your feedback is important, and we ARE listening. There will be more to come as the Committee continues its work.