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The Beginning of Advent

Here is an article I wrote for the cover of this week’s bulletin.

Is It New Year’s Already?

Today we celebrate the beginning of a new year.  If you look at most calendars, you might think I have really lost it.  The calendars that hang on our walls are normally based on the secular calendar where the new year begins on January 1st, which is still 31 days away.

It is not the secular new year I am talking about.  Today begins a new year on our church calendar.  The most important day on our church calendar is Easter.  Christmas is number two.  Jesus’ birth marks a new beginning for God’s people.  Recognizing this new beginning in Christ, this is the time of year our Church chooses to celebrate the new year but not on Christmas. Instead the Church gives us the Season of Advent as a time of reflection on our readiness.

Think of it this way, looking at the secular calendar, we put New Year’s resolutions into effect on January 1st as a day of new beginning but before we come to January 1st we reflect on our lives and what need to improve.  For us as Catholics, Christmas is the time of new beginning but we use Advent as a time of getting ready.  We don’t have to look far to see Christmas decorations already starting to appear but for we need to celebrate Advent first.

We see many different beginnings.  It begins with our conception, followed by our Baptism neither of which is ever repeated.  Other beginnings, like the years that pass repeat.  Jesus offers us a new beginning in the Sacrament of Reconciliation to confess our sins and the slate is wiped cleaned.  This Saturday (December 6th), we will celebrate a Penance Service at one p.m.  Several of our children will be celebrating the Sacrament for the first time but we will have several of our area priests there so that we can offer the Sacrament to all.  If you can’t make it then, we offer the Sacrament each week on Saturday from 2:30 to 4:00 pm.

Maybe it has been some time since you have received the Sacrament and are unsure where to begin.  You can two videos about this Sacrament on my website at http://renewaloffaith.org/ls/reconciliation.htm.  If you need some help in reflecting about sins you can also find an “Examination of Conscience” on my website.

As you prepare for Christmas, don’t forget to spend some time preparing your soul.

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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