Sunday, December 3, 2017

First Sunday of Advent - December 3, 2017

The season of Advent is the beginning of the Church's liturgical calendar. Thus the First Sunday of Advent could be considered the equivalent of New Year's Day. We may not make this our time of resolutions, but we certainly can consider it as a time of new starts and fresh opportunities. So I would like to take a look at some of what can be new with this year. Some things are big, and some are small, but the new year is the unifying theme.

One change you will notice right away concerns our hymnals. We are no longer using the two volume series in which the front portion is changed several times a year. The Breaking Bread books are a single volume that will last the entire year. They contain almost all of the hymns we have used, and they have all of the Sunday and holy day readings. They will serve our purpose, and they save us money over the multi-volume edition. In fact, since the new books do not use the blue covers, we are saving more money. The blue covers are designed to last for several years, and we have certainly gotten our mileage out of them. They were wearing out and falling apart. However, and these new books save us from buying new covers.

Speaking of saving money, I will admit that I can be cheap at times. One example comes with the prayer we have been saying for the On Mission for the Church Alive initiative. When the diocese gave us the prayer and told us to pray it at Masses, I had copies made while we inserted in the blue covers. Meanwhile, a number of people complained that the prayer was too long. The diocese gave us a new, shorter version. I didn't want to waste the cards we had printed. Yet even with the blue covers, many of the cards have been misplaced. So with the new hymnals, we had to find a new way to keep the prayer available. Just when we were discussing possibilities, I found an office supply store that was closing. I took advantage of the going-out-of-business sale to get a good price on self-adhesive labels. That gives is an opportunity to start using the shorter version that most of the diocese is using. There are a few distinct differences, so please pay attention to the labels stuck onto the front cover.

Before too much of this new year goes by, we will be making a major upgrade to our sound system. As I write this, we are still not sure of when the new speakers will be installed. When it happens, though, I am confident that it will be easier for more people to participate fully in the Mass. I certainly hope that those who attend Mass in the cry rooms come out into the main body of the church. We should all come together as a single community, which is not as easy when some of our members are in a separate room.

Most importantly, this year will be the time for On Mission to take its next big steps. In April, Bishop Zubik will make the official announcement. In October, the new clergy assignments will take effect. There is a chance I may be part of the new configuration, though I strongly suspect that I will be going elsewhere. In the meantime, I will be praying that the Holy Spirit can guide the process, helping Bishop Zubik to choose good priests for our grouping, and giving me an assignment where I can best use my gifts in service to the Church.
                                                                                              Father H