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Feast of the Holy Family

12-30-2018From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. I had to write this about a week before Christmas, so I can't tell you how mine went! Instead, I'll tell you a little bit about the Christmas Season.

As Catholics, we believe that some things are so wonderful that it takes a lot more than a day to celebrate them. Christmas is certainly one of those things! That's why, as Catholics, we celebrate Christmas for a season which began at Mass on Christmas Eve and will continue through the Feast of the Lord's Baptism on the Sunday after Epiphany (January 13). While the rest of the world – especially department stores – start taking down decorations the day after Christmas, we continue celebrating the birth of our Lord for nearly three weeks! Keeping your trees up and homes decorated is one way to celebrate this season of joy.

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Merry Christmas!

12-23-2018From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I want to begin by thanking all those who took tags and brought gifts for the Giving Tree. Your generosity provided gifts for some 200 children – and many elderly parishioners, too. It is a testimony to your charity and faith!

Thanks also to the Boy Scouts, who kept moving the gifts to Mercy Hall for safekeeping all weekend. Their efforts ensured that the many gifts did not start blocking the aisles and become a hazard! It is also an example of how many groups and people work together to make good things happen here at St. Philip and St. James!

Last Friday I had a great time at our Parish School's Nativity Pageant. The students told the story of Christ's birth – with lots of beautiful singing. They also acted out scenes like the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, and Epiphany – to name a few. It was a wonderful, joy-filled telling of the holy story of Christmas! Thanks to all who were involved!

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Gaudete Sunday

12-16-2018From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent. In the "old" days, this Sunday was called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete basically means "be happy" or "rejoice". On the surface, we are rejoicing because Christmas is almost here.

On a deeper level, we are rejoicing because Jesus – Who came as our Savior long ago – is coming again to bring us to the fullness of His Kingdom. In spite of all the troubles in our world, we wait in joyful hope for the coming of Christ and His Eternal Kingdom of Peace and Justice.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe

12-09-2018From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I want to thank all those who took tags from the Giving Tree and purchased gifts for poor children. My thanks extend also to those who took tags for senior citizens and those who made cash donations. Your generosity helps many local families! It also gives evidence of your faith in Jesus – Whom God generously sent to save us from our sins and lead us to Heaven!

After today's 1PM (Spanish) Mass there will be a special celebration in Mercy Hall. It is in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose feast is December 12. There will be food, music, and lots of fun. Everyone is welcome to join the fun in honor of our Blessed Mother. For those who wish, Fr. Leo will celebrate a special Mass in Spanish on Wednesday, December 12, at 7PM.

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First Week of Advent

12-02-2018From Fr. John's DeskFr. John J. Barbella

I hope your Thanksgiving was as nice as mine. My sister had a really big crowd of family and friends, and it was a lot of fun. I was able to visit with some relatives I don't get to see very often, which was really very nice. The meal was great – of course – and my mom was happy to have so many of us there.

Today we begin the holy season of Advent. While it's easy to think of Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas, it's really much more than that. The word Advent means "coming" – and Advent is indeed a time to get ready for the coming of Christ.

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