Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Resolutions

At the beginning of another Advent, after 17 years of ordained ministry in the Diocese of Trenton, I've come to a point where I want to make some resolutions at the start of this new year of grace.

I really don't care if people call me a "Scrooge" or worse...

I really take Advent seriously.

I LOVE Advent.

I BELIEVE in Advent, and its power to help us convert.

Conversion and growth is, and should always be, a part of contemporary Christians. I know that I can be a better person and believer. I know that I need conversion every day and every moment of my life.

And so I here announce:

I am not going to any "Christmas" parties held during the season of Advent.

I don't want to hear any "Christmas" songs before December 24th.

I don't want to hear anybody say: "Merry Christmas" before December 24th, and I will not respond to such greetings, especially in the church setting, until December 24th after the first Mass of Christmas Eve.

Yeah, I know I sound like a "liturgical hard-ass" but I'm getting old. I love the true traditions of the church. I can't stand the fact that the "world" around us says Christmas has already begun.

The Church calls us to celebrate Advent as a season, and Christmas as a season, against the timing of the world.

I think this is the most Counter-Cultural time for Christians. We're called to stand up for our belief that Jesus of Nazareth, born in a poor stable in the backwater town of Bethlehem, is the SAVIOR OF THE WORLD. And so, I don't care about "Santa" or "Holiday" parties and shopping and decorating.

I think Advent is about becoming more like Jesus...

Welcome to another Advent, and the beginning of a new year of Grace.

As promised, here's the Opening Prayer for the Mass of the First Sunday of Advent:

Father in heaven,
our hearts desire the warmth of your love
and our minds are searching
for the light of your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Savior
and give us the strength to grow in love,
that the dawn of his coming
may find us rejoicing in his presence
and welcoming the light of his truth.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

Let's use this prayer to keep us centered on the true meaning of Advent, while the world around us challenges us to forget Advent, and to begin the celebration of Christmas

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A fun day with the Seniors: "Young At Heart"

Today, went with Dad and our parish "Young At Heart" group up to Hunterdon Hill Playhouse for the "Christmas Show."

Yeah, I know, I'm the professional liturgist. I know what day it is. I know it's not even Thanksgiving. Bring it on.....

Bring it all on....

I've been diagnosed with a new disorder after today's experience:

Post-Liturgical disaster-Trauma Syndrome!

Imagine how hard it was for me to keep smiling and clapping after all of these "Christmas" numbers, when liturgically we haven't even begun Advent.

Good thing my car's in for service overnight, and I can't drive....I'm twitching too much.

I think that I'm going to have to resort to a tried and true antidote to such silliness: A great pizza at Pete and Elda's on Friday night, and a couple of beers to wash it down with friends. I'm looking at hittin P and E's at 10:00 p.m. when the crowds have thinned.....anybody interested in pizza therapy?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A little Mass humor

Just saw this on YOUTUBE. Not sure if it's real or just a lighthearted spoof. You decide!

Could this be the latest in effective catechesis? Oy veh!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A friend's 25th Anniversary of Ordination

Today, we celebrated the 25rh anniversary of ordination of one of the most well-known priests of our diocese, Fr. Sam Sirianni. Fr. Sam serves as the Director of the Office of Worship as well as Pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine, Freehold. We celebrated Mass, and then joined for a dinner of over 350 people. We heard some great stories ( and a lot of good-natured ribbing) from both of his brothers as welll as our entertianing MC, Mr. Joe Sirianni.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

International Dinner Tonight

Tonight we had another very successful and fun International Dinner. Many thanks to the Parish Life Committee (the main cooks) and to everybody who brought a dish or a dessert. Plans have already begun for next year's International Dinner. We want to invite every member of the parish to bring a traditional ethnic dish to the dinner.

Looking to the future, we're getting ready to have our Thanksgiving Food and Turkey Drive. Please drop off your donations at the church by the 15th of November so that we can get the food to the needy in time for Thanksgivinng.

During the weeks of Advent, we'll have our traditional "Giving Trees" for Christmas gifts. Please be sure to take home a tag, and return your gift to the church as soon as possible. If you can help assemble the gifts, or help deliver them, we can use some volunteers for those tasks. Consider asking a young person to come help you with these projects.

Our Young at Heart group is getting ready for a trip on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to Hunterdon Hill Playhouse. Consider joining us for this nice day-trip.

(I'm even bringing my dad on the trip!)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

All Souls Day

On Monday, November 2, we'll celebrate our annual Mass of Remembrance on the Feast of All Souls Day. We'll remember all of our parishioners and loved ones who have gone home over this past year. Mass will be celebrated at 7:00 p.m.

During the month of November, we will have the Book of the Names of the Dead displayed prominently in the church, and all are invited to inscribe the names of their deceased loved ones in this book.

Just a reminder, we have an active bereavement ministry here at St. Anselm. If you or a member of your family is struggling with a loss, you might consider coming to one or two of the sessions. I'm sure that you'll find some support and encouragement.