TRIPLE GREETINGS AND BLESSINGS:
I. New Church Year Greetings and blessings as we enter into the Advent season.
As we journey into the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas the following Advent prayer sets a good perspective for us.
Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance into His company.
I like the following older translation of the prayer,
God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share His wisdom and become one with Him when He comes in glory, while He lives and reigns with You in the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
At this time of year, a host of burdensome expectations can indeed become “earthly undertakings”, hindering us from meeting Jesus and receiving Him with joy. They can sidetrack us from gaining admittance into His company as we approach the great season of His birth among us at Christmastime. Preparing to receive Christ with joy challenges us to pay more deliberate attention to time for prayer, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and reaching out to the least in loving forms of service. These are some of the ways of gaining “admittance to His company” and will help us to receive Christ with joy.
II. Christmas Greetings are surely most appropriate as we observe and celebrate Jesus being born into a human condition on December 24/25. Prayerful Christmas greetings come to all who read this Update. These greeting come from our very committed parish and school staff and faculty. I greet you especially through my 2017 Christmas poem entitled, Wonder of Wonders. It is a profound mystery and wonder of our faith that God has come into our human condition and desires to be our companion on the journey of life. This, indeed, is a wonder of wonders.
Christmas…Wonder of Wonders
Christmas is God’s wonder
In Mary’s helpless baby in the manger.
Wonder of Wonders
God is now within and among us.
Wonder at God’s omnipotence
Coming into human bondage.
The God-child helpless,
Needy, dependent and powerless.
Christmas is pondering time,
Pondering and wondering time.
Pondering within the heart
The heavenly treasure come to earth.
Mary kept all these things
Reflecting on them in her heart.
Will our hearts be filled
With the wonder of wonders now and always?
III. New Calendar Year Greetings - January 1, 2018: Prayerful greetings and blessings for the new calendar year of 2018.
The year 2018 will bring us into the 60th anniversary year of Our Mother of Sorrows Parish. The parish was established on May 10, 1958. An anniversary committee is presently planning a calendar of events for the Jubilee Year…one major event each month of the Jubilee Year.
As we prepare for a new calendar year, let’s prayerfully reflect and embrace our parish mission statement…as missionary disciples, our parish joyfully proclaims ongoing encounter with Jesus Christ through Word, community, Sacrament and loving service. Let’s be witness to this mission statement in our daily lives and in doing so, we witness to the Gospel values of love of neighbor, inclusivity, respect and love for the gift of life in all its forms from the womb to the tomb. We are called to reach out to the least…the homeless, refugee, migrant and all on the margins, and care for our common home.
DOOR OF MERCY REMAINS OPEN:
MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER is the motto and theme over the door frame leading to the Reconciliation/Confession Rooms in the church. It is a reminder to us that Jesus is the doorway to the mercy of the Father. As our Pope Francis states so beautifully, “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy”.
The Door of Mercy leads to the Reconciliation/Confessionals where we encounter the face of God’s mercy among us in Jesus.
APPOINTMENT TIMES TO EXPERIENCE THE FACE OF GOD’S MERCY:
The following are times when the Lord is available in the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession for blessing you with the gift of His healing mercy, reconciliation and peace.
On a weekly basis: Wednesday evenings 6pm-6:25pm and Saturdays 4pm-5pm and 7pm-7:30pm.
First Communion Families: Saturday, December 2nd at 9:30am and 10:45am.
School Communal Penance: Tuesday, December 12th at 9:30am and 10:15am.
Parish Communal Penance: Sunday, December 17th at 7:30pm.
Pre-Christmas opportunities: Monday, December 18th (9am); Tuesday, December 19th (7am); Wednesday, December 20th (6pm); Thursday, December 21st (4pm-5pm, and 7pm-8pm); Friday, December 22nd (4pm-5pm, and 7pm-8pm).
NEW PARISHIONER GATHERING:
I am responding to the invitation to the new parishioner gathering. I will be unable to attend because I am heading out of town early to join family out of state for the Thanksgiving holiday.
I will answer the statements for Msgr. Cahalane as follows: I most enjoy the fact that OMOS has Eucharistic Adoration throughout the week. It is what brought me to the Parish. I have been invited to join the Servites and their book club. I hope to connect with the Rosary Makers as I am a Rosary Maker myself. I have attended the recent Faith, Dying and Dignity Series. I also attended all seven nights of the OMOS Novena in September. I may look for other opportunities to join in church activities in the future.
NOTE: 139 new parishioners registered between April 1st and October 31st of 2017.
BEING STILL IN ADVENT BY FR. JAMES MARTIN:
This may sound almost heretical, but with each passing year I like Christmas less and less. At the same time, with each passing year, I like the feast of the Nativity more and more. Maybe you feel the same. The craziness surrounding the secular season of Christmas – the endless ads on TV and online, the crowded stores, the glut of often crass holiday-themed movies – sometimes seems to drown out the real meaning of the season.
That’s why I treasure silence during Advent. Silence is a gift that we can give to ourselves in the middle of a noisy season. And silent prayer is something we can all afford – it costs nothing. Of course many people – parents of young children, children of aging parents, and people with hectic working lives – may not have much time to spare, but even a few minutes of quiet may help to center oneself.
In busy times it’s important to let quiet be your prayer. This can be as simple as “withdrawing”, as Jesus did, from the busyness of life and just sitting in the presence of God. Or it could be a simple meditation, reflecting on a single word from the stunning readings of Advent: from the Book of Isaiah, the Psalms, or the Gospels.
Sometimes people feel guilty for taking a break in the weeks before Christmas – there’s often so much to do. But think of silence as a gift you give not only to yourself but to God, who wants to meet you in the silence as you wait for Jesus to enter your heart in a new way this Advent.
James Martin is a Jesuit priest and author of many books, including Jesus: A Pilgrimage and a collection of essays from Give Us This Day entitled In All Seasons, For All Reasons.
“KNOW YOUR STAFF” — CINDY PHILLIPS:
My name is Cindy Phillips and I am the Front Office Manager here at the parish. I grew up in this parish and I consider it my “family.” I have worked here for 24 years and consider it a true privilege to minister to the parishioners here at the parish. My job entails many facets which gives me an opportunity to work with people in all walks of life and generations. I oversee the front office, do data entry, scheduling for the entire plant and a wide variety of other tasks and duties. I am on the Fiesta committee, am a Eucharistic Minister and the staff liaison for the Ladies Guild. I am a mother of five and have four beautiful granddaughters. I love spending time with my family and friends. Board games are one of our favorite things to do together. I greatly admire St. Teresa of Calcutta. One of my favorite quotes from her is, "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
RESERVE JANUARY 6TH… ANNUAL EPIPHANY PARTY:
The 5:30 pm Saturday evening Mass on January 6th, the week of the Epiphany, will be offered in thanksgiving, acknowledgement and gratitude for all the gifts of service given to our Bethlehem King by our parishioners during this past year. All adults who are actively involved within ministries in the parish are invited to this annual dinner. The weekend bulletin of January 6th will have an honor list of names of parishioners nominated for special recognition because of their ministerial service to the parish.
BECOMING FULLY CATHOLIC:
The following witness sharings are from some of our adults Confirmed on November 18th:
I've known my whole life that Christ has always been present and has never left my side even in my darkest days of when I’ve felt completely alone. During this past year battling a brutal divorce and all of its other challenges there have been many days I’ve wanted to give up, but the Holy Spirit has stayed with me and pulled me through.
To me, completing confirmation is not just because I was born and raised Catholic but an opportunity to commit my life and my true self to God. I want to be of service, continue to learn, grow, share the Lord with others, and most importantly; just be the very best person I can be during my time here on this earth.
I know in my heart and soul that I have grown and look forward to the many more amazing experiences through Christ and to love all people as He has loved me. I also have learned true forgiveness. I have let go of a lot of baggage through confession and feel renewed in spirit and mind.
I am grateful to be here right now and my home church of Our Mother of Sorrows and after 10 years being gone from Tucson it was not an accident to come back home and be here during these incredible life changing events. God has provided for me in more ways than I can count…I am truly humbled.
I want to become Catholic so that I can continue my journey with my family. I practice the Catholic faith as much as I can but I want to fully receive the body and blood of Christ. I know that I am here at Our Mother of Sorrows for a reason. I was pulled by the Holy Spirit to be involved. Several years ago I prayed to be involved in some way at OMOS since both of my kids went to school here and then the next week I received a call to be an LMS minister so I accepted. The next year I was the head coordinator of the LMS group and served on the School Board and now work in the School office and I love it! I would never have thought 15 years ago I would be where I am with two beautiful healthy boys, a loving husband and a part of this great parish. I know that my grandmother is in Heaven very happy that this is where I am. I can’t wait to start my new life on this beautiful journey. Thank you.
Luke12:34 – “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” We are all made to believe money and material items are our treasures. My parents migrated here to the US in hopes of a better life. But it came with a price of long hours of working, discrimination, and being made to believe money will solve all your problems. As a young man seeing all this, God and Church were not a priority. My parents’ heart was in money and giving us a better future. Unfortunately I did the same. Since January of this year, I’ve been coming to church every Sunday and I give my 10 percent and I pray with love to God.
I would like to thank the church and the staff in our confirmation class for taking time out of their evenings to teach us about our Catholic faith. Thank you so much for all you do.
NEW LIFE MOMENTS:
Twenty-two adults received the Sacrament of Confirmation at the 5:30 pm on November 18th. Two couples had their marriages validated. Eighteen children from our Religious Education program and from our school were baptized into the church at a special Mass on Friday, November 11th. More than 100 teens took part in the Rite of Welcome of Confirmation at the 12:30 pm Mass on November 19th.
LOURDES WATER DISTRIBUTION:
When Mary appeared to Bernadette in Lourdes in 1858, she identified herself as….I am the Immaculate Conception. During one of the apparitions, she asked Bernadette to “…go and drink at the spring and wash in it”. Drinking the water from the spring and washing in it is a special feature of pilgrimages to the Shrine in Lourdes. A limited number of small containers with water from Lourdes will be available to parishioners after all Masses on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.
PARISH RESOURCE GUIDE:
Three thousand copies of the Parish Resource Guide have just been published for distribution to our parish families. The Resource Guide has been in ongoing stages of development over this past year under the sponsorship of our Stewardship & Development Council. The booklet is an extensive review of the ministries and different forms of service active in Our Mother of Sorrows Parish. The booklets are being distributed after all Masses during the first weekend of Advent. Thanks to Madeleine Crespo, Melinda Caballero, Rocio Zamora, José Osuna and José Merino for finalizing the Resource Guide. A special thanks to a number of sponsors and to our Parish Endowment Trust, our primary sponsor, for underwriting the printing cost of the Parish Resource Guide.
COMING HOME TO GOD'S MERCY THROUGH CHRISTMAS ALIENATED CATHOLICS ANONYMOUS PROCESS:
Beginning on January 8th, ACA can be a very helpful process for inactive Catholics to come home to God's mercy to reconnect and rediscover Jesus. The ACA six-week sessions can be most helpful and effective towards personal encounter with Jesus as the face of God's mercy. Contact Msgr. Tom for more information.
ANNUAL TITHE/STEWARDSHIP RENEWAL:
Yes, Lord responses have been steadily coming in this year. To date we have received a decrease of 14 in responses over the same period last year. The total amount pledged is 5%less than last year as well. Five percent of our 336 current active EFT stewardship contributors have increased their monthly automated donation for the new pledge year. We are thankful to those parishioners who have responded thus far to this year’s Yes, Lord campaign.
CTSO GIFT TIME:
The CTSO acronym stands for Catholic Tuition Support Organization. Did you know that couples can designated $2,177 of their state income tax or $1,089 for individual filers to help students at OMOS School? An upcoming mailing from the parish will fully explain how parishioners can designate a portion of their state income tax between now and December 31st to benefit OMOS School. In the meantime, brochures with all the relevant information are available in the vestibule of the church and in the parish and school offices.
HOW TO INCLUDE OMOS IN YOUR WILL OR ESTATE PLAN:
One of the easiest planned gifts is a bequest. You can simply state in your will or trust: I give to OMOS Endowment Trust, a not-for-profit organization with its principal office located at 1800 S. Kolb Rd., Tucson, AZ 85710…(then specify what you want to give.) If you wish to restrict your gift for the benefit of a particular ministry, this should also be stated here. Ministry categories within the Parish Endowment are: General Unrestricted; Christian Education Formation; Parish School; Social Outreach; Liturgy & Worship; Building & Maintenance; Scholarship; and Other (designated). You can:
Christmas Mass Schedule
CHRISTMAS EVE - SUNDAY, DECEMBER 24TH
7:00am, 9:00am, 10:45am, 12:30pm, and 12:30pm (Spanish) in the Hall
5:00pm - Msgr. Tom....Angels & Jammin’
5:00pm - (Hall) Fr. Richard...Cantor
7:00pm - Fr. Liam Jubilation
11:30pm - Carol Service/12:00am - Msgr. Tom...Solemn Celebration/Combined Choirs
CHRISTMAS DAY - MONDAY, DECEMBER 25TH
7:00am - Fr. Richard...Cantor
9:00am - Msgr. Tom...Praise Alive
10:45am - Fr. Liam...Laudate
12:30pm - Fr. Jorge...Cantor
2:00pm - (Spanish) Fr. Ruiz...Coro de los Niños
No 6pm Mass
PARISH COMMUNAL CELEBRATION OF PENANCE
Sunday, December 17th 7:30pm (10 Priests/Confessors)