First Sunday of Advent

12-03-2017Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Happy New (Church) Year! We begin a new year of grace in the Church's liturgical life. Advent begins not by looking to Christ's first coming as an infant, but to His glorious second advent – or coming. In the meantime, we learn to wait and prepare.

Here are a couple of suggestions to help make this Advent a real time of preparation. First, the fruitful Catholic discipline of Eucharistic Adoration in Ste Claire Chapel. To spend a half -hour or an hour in the presence of the Lord is not to achieve very much in the sight of the world, but it has immense power to deepen your faith. It is a particularly rich form of spiritual "waiting." As you keep vigil before Jesus truly there in the Blessed Sacrament, bring to Him some problem you have been agonizing over. "Lord, I'm waiting for you to solve this, to show me the way forward. I've been running, planning, worrying, but now I'm going to let youwork." Then, throughout Advent, watch carefully for signs.

Also, don't get upset with slow cars and annoying lines. Take advantage of them! You can take advantage of anything that makes you wait. Instead of banging the steering wheel, or rolling your eyes, and instead of picking up your smartphone to cram every empty second with something, see waiting as a spiritual invitation – a gift. When you are forced to slow down, pray one of the great vigil prayers of the Church, such as the rosary. With this in mind, keep a rosary in your car at the beginning of Advent. Keep one in your pocket. Consider the possibility that God wants you at that moment to wait and then sanctify the time you have been given. Remember– it never comes back.

Also, participate in our parish-wide version of Straw For Jesus. For each act of love you do during the week, place a piece of straw in the heart-shaped container found at any entrance of our church. The straw will then be included with the gifts that are taken up to the altar at the Offertory Procession at all weekend Masses. The priest will bless the straw, and it will be placed in the quiet, empty stable that awaits the Son of God. The straw prepares the stable, and our acts of love prepare our hearts for Christ. So, we don't want to be embarrassed by a pitiful bed of straw – be generous! Feel free to visit the church and add more straw. "Acts of Love" include: Forgive someone, Random acts of kindness, acts of mercy, make a good confession, pray moreoften, read Scripture daily, and more.

And it's not too late to register free at and receive daily inspirations via email to help you make this the most fruitful Advent you've ever had. Also, you may try my friend Betsy Cahill's daily Advent reflections at