Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am pleased to announce that Growing in Faith, Giving in Love will serve as the theme and inspiration for the 2020 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal of the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The Annual Appeal once again challenges our charity as a united family of faith, and makes it possible for us to share what we have with those in need and to sustain the life of our local church. We are all part of God’s family and we have a responsibility to care for one another, especially by providing for the spiritual, moral and material well-being of each and all. The 2020 Archbishop’s Annual Appeal, Growing in Faith, Giving in Love, presents us with a unique opportunity to combine all of our individual gifts in order to accomplish even more together as an archdiocese.
The first weekend of Advent will begin the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 29. This year we will be following Cycle B, which is the Gospel of Mark. Unlike the Gospels of Matthew and Luke there is no infancy narrative in Marks Gospel, but instead begins with the baptism of Jesus by John. It is important to note however that while the gospel does not begin with the birth of Jesus, it does proclaim the good news Jesus is to bring, something meant not only to challenge us but also to give us both comfort and peace. We will be offering a scripture reflection which can be found on the Faith formation website, http://stjffaithormation.org under the adult pull down menu. We will include Weekly reflection questions to ponder, prayers, and action points. In addition, we will have suggested activities and readings on our family formation page also located on our faith formation page. This can be accessed through a link on the Parish website.If you would like to share your family completing one of the suggested activities feel free to send pictures to our parish Facebook account or to our parish email and we will develop a picture collage.
The Shrine of Lourdes in Litchfield's Annual Living Nativity will take place in the Grotto on Sunday,December 6ᵗʰ at 2:00 and 3:00. Young people from the area willrecreate the scene at the stable of Bethlehem with songs andreadings, and with the help of animals from area farms. Masksand social distancing will be required. Spaces are limited. Toreserve a place for either presentation, follow this link:https://tinyurl.com/LourdesLivingNativity.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe A20
What would rather be: King (Queen) of the Universe or a shepherd (ess), albeit a good one?
Jesus Christ is both. We read about his being like a shepherd, separating sheep from goats and a King by passing judgment on each.
Both the people on his right (the sheep) and those on his left (the goats) could have said: “We didn’t see that coming”. Both were surprised and perplexed when they heard the reason for the Son of Man’s verdict: what you did or did not do for the least of my brothers or sisters, you did or did not do it for me.
Wait a minute! What about keeping the Commandments? What about believing in and following all the dogmas, doctrines, and liturgical norms?
What a strange and wonderful king we have! The King of the Universe identifies with the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the ill-clothed, and the prisoner and not with the high and mighty or those who are self-satisfied without thinking of others.
He’s best served and most honored when we take care of one another, especially the most in need either physically, emotionally, socially, or spiritually.
In this year where our lives, our routines and much that brought us comfort have been turned upside down, we are called to deeply think and reflect on all we are grateful for and all those who have so positively impacted our lives. 2020 has brought a great deal of challenge, at a personal level in our families, in our communities, our nation and our world – we are asked to fine tune our vision and recognize the positive that rises from the challenges and to gratefully and faithfully offer our thanks. At St. John Fisher we are particularly grateful for the following:
To help with your in-person and virtual celebration of Mass, we are distributing the new missalettes for your own personal use. For those attending weekend and daily Mass, please bring your personal copy with you and then bring it home again. You may pick up your personal copy in our church vestibule beginning the weekend of November 21st and 22nd and after that, during weekly church office hours Monday - Thursday from 8:30 am - 1:30 pm. For Thanksgiving week, our church office is open Monday - Wednesday. For those interested in having a missalette delivered to your home, please call our church office and provide your name, address and contact phone number.
Given the timing of the Thanksgiving holiday and our monthly date to collect and distribute sandwiches, there will be no sandwich collection for St. Vincent dePaul this month. Our many thanks to all those who faithfully make and provide sandwiches for monthly delivery.
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time A20
Terror; dread; anxiety; panic; afraid; scared; trepidation; intimidation; gut-wrenching. What do all those words have in common? They are all synonyms of the word FEAR.
Now there are many things we fear, many things to be afraid of, to be anxious about, to be scared of, to be terrified of, to view with trepidation, or to be intimidated by: for instance COVID-19; failure in school, at work or in relationships; facing the unknown; and my personal favorite, writing and delivering homilies.
All the readings today speak of fear, either directly or indirectly. But I want to concentrate on one aspect: FEAR OF THE LORD.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) website offers video reflections each day on the Gospel readings. This week our own Deacon Miller from the Archdiocese of Hartford offered one of the reflections. The short reflections remind us that our faith foundation is rooted in sacred scripture. To find the readings and reflections go to USCCB.org.
Next week’s Collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) needs your support. With the tradition of improving education, housing situations, and economic development, CCHD continues to make a positive impact in communities locally and nationwide.More than 46 million people in the United States live in poverty today. This collection supports programs that empower people to identify and address obstacles as they work to make permanent and positive changes for their communities. Learn more about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development at www.usccb.org/cchd/collection
Once again, through your generous participation, we will be providing Thanksgiving meals for those in need. Bags with a list of items will be in the vestibule beginning Nov. 2 and can be picked up during weekday or weekend Masses.
Filled bags can be brought to the church during weekday or weekend Masses. Please have bags back by Nov. 22 at the latest. If more convenient, bags can be dropped off directly at the Food Bank on Tuesdays between 9:00 am to noon and 3:00 to 6:00 pm.
Items needed are
2 cans of veggies
1 can of cranberry sauce
1 Box or bag of stuffing mix
1 box or bag of cornbread mix
5 lb bag of potatoes
1 bag of fresh carrots.
Looking for a special Christmas gift for that person that is hard to buy for? Need something positive to give you a life? Look no further than Sheri Dursin’s collection of blog posts entitled Hearing God Whisper, Discovering the Sacred in Ordinary Moments, a beautiful collection of reflections and observations from one of our own! As a retreat director and blogger, Sheri has shared her faith journey with many of us and it is a journey worth sharing.
"During the early months of the pandemic shutdown, I found myself at loose ends and looking for things to keep me busy. A good friend suggested the perfect project – compiling my blog posts from the past six years into a book! And so after months of gathering and editing, I’m so pleased to debut my newly published book: Hearing God’s Whisper: Discovering the Sacred in Ordinary Moments."
Given the craziness of our world, it is easy to forget to see the gift’s God has placed in our path. God has blessed us with gifts too numerous to count. As we begin to approach the holiday season, take this month to thank God every day for all the blessings.
Go to the family formation section on our Faith Formation website (https://stjffaithformation.org) for some suggestions on how you and your family can focus on giving thanks to God this holiday season.
“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”