I. New Church Year Greetings and blessings as we now observe the season of Advent. As we journey through the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas, the following prayer from the second Sunday of Advent 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, put our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to His company.
At this time of year, a host of burdensome expectations can indeed become the “earthly undertaking” hindering us from meeting Jesus, and gaining admittance into His company as we approach the season of His birthing among us at Christmastime. Preparing with more deliberate attention and time for prayer, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and reaching out to the “least” in loving forms of service are some of the ways for gaining “us admittance to His company”.
II. Christmas Greetings are surely most appropriate as we celebrate Jesus being born into a human condition on December 24/25. I send you prayerful Christmas greetings from our very committed parish and school staff and faculty. I do so especially through my 2016 Christmas poem entitled, Christmas…God in the Ordinary. It is a profound mystery of our faith that God has come into the ordinary reality of our struggling human condition.
Christmas...God in the Ordinary Christmas is God in the ordinary. “He came down from heaven To dwell among us,” -- to dwell in the ordinary. Born in a stable Where ordinary animals sheltered. “Jesus did not deem equality with God Something to be grasped at.” “Rather He took the form of a slave Being born in the likeness of the ordinary”, …So we might experience the extraordinary In God among us and within us. Christmas is this extraordinary presence Coming into our everyday ordinary. Will we welcome this extraordinary presence In our ordinary humanity this Christmas and always?
III. NEW YEAR GREETINGS — JANUARY 1st, 2017: Prayerful greetings and blessings for the new calendar year on January 1st. Let’s pray for our new president-elect and the new government being inaugurated in Washington on January 20th. Let’s give witness to the Gospel values of love of neighbor, inclusivity, respect and love of the gift of life in all its seasons from the womb to the tomb, reaching out to the least…the homeless, refugee, migrant and all on the margins, and care for our common home.
MERCIFUL LIKE THE FATHER – DOOR OF MERCY WILL REMAIN OPEN: This was the motto and theme of the Jubilee Year proclaimed by Pope Francis which ended on the Feast of Christ the King in November. The Door of Mercy door frame leading to the reconciliation/confessions rooms in the church will remain as a permanent visual reminder to us that Jesus is the doorway to the mercy of the Father, or as Pope Francis states so beautifully, “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy”.
The Door of Mercy leads to the reconciliation/confessionals and the Cenacle Chapel where again we encounter the face of God’s mercy among us. Thanks again to our parishioner, Christina Martinez-Andrews for her creative, artistic work on the Door of Mercy door frame.
COME EXPERIENCE THE FACE OF GOD’S MERCY - APPOINTMENT TIMES: The following are times when the Lord is available in the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession for visiting upon you the gift of His healing mercy, reconciliation and peace.
On a weekly basis: Wednesday evening 6pm-6:25pm and Saturday4pm-5pmand 7pm-7:30pm. Saturday, December 3rd at 9:30am and 10:45am (First Communion Families).
School Communal Penance: Tuesday, December 13th at 9:30am and 10:15am.
Parish Communal Penance: Sunday, December 18th at 7:30pm. Pre-Christmas opportunities: Monday, December 19th (7am); Tuesday, December 20th (9am); Wednesday, December 21st (6pm); Thursday, December 22nd (4pm–5pm, and 7pm-8pm); Friday, December 23rd (4pm -5pm, and 7pm – 8pm).
BECOMING FULLY CATHOLIC: The following witness sharings are from some of our adults Confirmed on November 19th on the Feast of Christ the King:
Attending Tuesday nights has been a deeply, Spirit-filled experience for me. I think it's different for an evangelical Christian to come into the Church as opposed to someone from a non-Christian background or even a liberal denomination. We're wary. We're watchful. We know a lot, but we also come to realize how much we don't know. Working in a Catholic school has its advantages and disadvantages as well. I've met Catholics who do all the Catholic "things", but I can't relate to them as Christians. But, on the other hand, I've met Catholics who are dedicated to loving and serving Jesus. I've seen through the leaders in RCIA that those involved in ministry are actively living their faith and providing an example for me to follow. It allows me to let go of the evangelical protestant bias that Catholics are, for the most part, practicing "religion", but not living a true relationship with God. Now I know that's not my concern. My concern is my relationship with Jesus and growing in faith in the context and unity of the Church. This is a new start on my journey of faith, and that makes it exciting. (Lauren Spencer)
I feel as though these classes have given me a sense of clarity. I have begun feeling more content in the present while trusting God, rather than becoming anxious and worried about the future. I feel as though this is the start of a beautiful, faithful relationship and I cannot wait to watch it continue to flourish. (Taylor Thornby)
A few months ago I found out that my wife and I would be welcoming our first child into this world, a girl! When I found out about this baby girl, I felt a calling, a calling to return to the church. I know I don’t have all the answers when it comes to parenting but with Jesus by my side I will not fail. During my time at Confirmation class I have seen and met many different people from all sorts of walks of life, different ages, and native backgrounds. I found that we were all in here for many different reasons. In today’s world, with the current political climate, I feel like love gets lost. It’s a scary world out there right now but I will keep the lessons of love that the Bible has taught me near. My faith has grown immensely since the start of confirmation. I came in here, essentially looking for guidance and answers but I have learned that faith is more important. I don’t feel as scared or ill-prepared for the arrival of this baby. My newfound faith has truly changed my outlook on life and I look forward to growing more and more each day. (Cesar Ponce)
I want to say ‘thank you’ because you had a huge impact on my life and I’m very grateful to you. Growing up, I always thought I’d become a nun. When I was 18, I spoke to you about my plans. You listened and talked to me, and then gave me your advice. You recommended that I go to college and “see a bit of life” before I made such a big decision. You said that four years was not really a lot of time, and if I were meant to be a nun the desire would still be there when I finished school. I followed your advice. I enrolled at the UofA, became a geologist, and met a great guy who became my husband. I enjoy my job, I love my husband, and I feel blessed every day. I’ve told other people about the priest who helped me find my way in life, and now I wanted to tell you. I don’t know where I’d be now if I hadn’t spoke to you 30 years ago, but I do know that your guidance put me on the path that God had intended…I found Our Mothers of Sorrows when I was 15 and of all the churches I’ve attended, it’s the only one I’ve ever felt connected to. While I’m very happy to be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, I’m thrilled that I’m receiving the sacrament at Our Mother of Sorrows. I keep thinking of a line from a song by Trevor Hall, “Without you I shall break, but with you I shall bend”. I think this describes how it will feel to be Confirmed…In closing, I just want to say thank you once again. I will do my best to serve the love that God has given me and to share that love with others. (Marisa Lerew)
POPE FRANCIS ADDS BEATITUDES: Pope Francis, during his recent trip to Sweden, offered some additions to the Gospel list of beatitudes to remind us that we are called “to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus”. Each new beatitude offers a specific example of a person serving as “a messenger of God’s mercy”, a much needed example in our time:
Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
Blessed are those who look into the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness. Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover Him.
Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.
The updated beatitudes remind us that the Gospel is not a static book of rules to be read and followed. It is a way of proceeding that must be viewed in the context of all the challenges of the modern world.
JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY ENDS, BUT MERCY DOES NOT: The following is a very relevant quote from an editorial in America Jesuit Magazine of November 21, 2016. Its message is very timely and sobering: “This year has seen floods of refugees driven from their homes in Syria and elsewhere, risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea, sometimes facing hostility in their new homes. And many in our society could use a helping hand, another chance, fighting racism, ending scapegoating, feeding our own hungry world would be great acts of mercy, too.”
“This Jubilee Year has coincided with a bruising political campaign, in which violent words and hostile attitudes not only reveal deep divisions in our country but even foster them and exploited them. We have not heard many calls for mercy here.”
“As this year ends, it is crucial that we not shut the door – holy or otherwise – on the needs of those around us. Modern life produces stress in families and other relationships; we need to examine ourselves for how we can make things right. Our country has a great deal of healing to do, and we need to step back, recover our better selves, and reach out to those with whom we may legitimately disagree. Disagreement does not have to include vilification, recrimination, or charges of ill-will. It does not call for shuttering doors to respect or recognition of the good in those with whom we have differences. If our country is to be strong, we must be just and offer opportunity to all. We must work to find common ground in order to convey outworks of mercy. The weakest and the most vulnerable suffer, the most from a permanent state of political warfare.”
“If this Year of Mercy now ending speaks even some tentative first steps in this direction, Pope Francis’ courageous initiative in calling for this celebration will be an enduring legacy.”
BLESSED NEWS FROM ERIN VU, OUR PRINCIPAL: There are so many blessings in our lives, and today, I am happy to share with all the families at OMOS that my family’s newest blessing will be the birth of our new baby. I am due April 28th, and we are so excited to welcome a new child. This is the season of preparation as we get ready to welcome this new life into our home.
As a school, Msgr. Tom and I are finalizing preparations in order to ensure that the school community is cared for during my maternity leave. We have a plan for the leader who will take my place while I am away in May, and that information will be shared soon. I do look forward to working with the temporary leader so that it will be a smooth transition. God bless.
RENEE WOODS’ TESTIMONIAL LETTER ON SR. JOSE WOMEN’S CENTER: The little white house has meant so much to me. Not only was I welcomed without judgment, not only a place where I received food, a cot, a pair of pants, a blouse. I received love, prayers, advice and strength. Things that I cannot hold, worth more than precious jewels, silver, or gold. The simple act of caring, sharing, and uplifting words of wisdom. The things that strengthened my soul today...the things that are not seen but needed as a woman, a homeless addicted woman dealing with poverty and affliction. I am a woman who is stronger and filled with hope. A woman who is grateful and appreciative of all that was given to me today. This little white house and the volunteers that help, aided me in my basic needs, is something. This lil’ white house gave me two things I needed most...Hope & Love. And that is why this house means so much to me. Thank you, all of you. (Renee Lyn Woods, age 36, Tucson native)
CAPITAL FUND CAMPAIGN: The Capital Fund Campaign approved by our Parish Board of Directors in mid-August will take place in the early months of 2017. The parish has engaged Community Counseling Services (CCS) to provide professional campaign service to assist the parish in conducting the campaign. The focus of the campaign will be based on a three-year pledge and funds from the campaign will address some critical needs that have been identified within the parish plant as we approach the 60th anniversary of the parish in May 2018. Personal prayers are requested for enlightenment and guidance in this major effort.
COMING HOME TO GOD’S MERCY THROUGH CHRISTMAS ALIENATED CATHOLICS ANONYMOUS PROCESS: Beginning on January 2nd, 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.
RESERVE JANUARY 7TH… ANNUAL EPIPHANY PARTY: The 5:30pmSaturday evening Mass on January 7th, 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 7th will have an honor list of names of parishioners nominated for special recognition because of their ministerial service to the parish.
ANNUAL TITHE/STEWARDSHIP RENEWAL: Yes, Lord responses have been steadily coming in this year. To date we have received an increase of 15% in responses over the same period last year. The total amount pledged is 3% higher than last year as well. There are 6 new EFT givers signed up as of this week, bringing us to 340 parishioner families utilizing this convenient form of giving. Twelve percent of our current active EFT stewardship contributors have increased their monthly automated donation for the new pledge year. We are encouraged by and grateful for this strong response 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 $2,173 of their state income tax or $1,087 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.
YEAR-END GIVING: 40% of all charitable gifts made nationally are given during November and December each year. Many people use Christmas and the year-end to “make up” or “catch up” on their giving for the year. All gifts made on or before December 31st are tax deductible in the year the gifts are made.
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:
give a percentage of your estate, a specified dollar amount,
or the residual of your estate. name OMOS as a contingent beneficiary in the event one of your other beneficiaries predeceases you.
do a combination of any of these.
There are many other types of planned gifts; some are more complex and can be important components in financial and tax planning for yourself and your heirs. Please contact the Pastor or Steve Contreras, the Parish Business Manager at (520) 747-1321 for more information or to arrange a confidential meeting to discuss planned giving options. We also recommend you speak with your attorney, your accountant and/or your financial advisor.
THANKSGIVING BASKET UPDATE: Thanks to all who so generously donated turkeys, hams and other items for our Thanksgiving Baskets. Special thanks to the Knights of Columbus Council #5133 for the donation of 19 Thanksgiving baskets. Our wonderful loving ministers handed out over 140 baskets to families in need. The Thanksgiving Basket Project is totally supported by our parishioners and is a wonderful testimony of how important reaching out to our families in need is to our parish. Thank you again for your continued prayers and generous support.
Christmas Mass Schedule
CHRISTMAS EVE - SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24TH 5:00 PM - Msgr. Tom....Angels & Jammin’ 5:00 PM - (Hall) Fr. Richard...Walsh Family 7:00 PM - Fr. Liam...Jubilation 11:30 PM - Carol Service 12:00 AM - Msgr. Tom...Solemn Celebration/Combined Choirs CHRISTMAS DAY - SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25TH 7:00 AM - Fr. Richard...Cantor 9:00 AM - Msgr. Tom...Praise Alive 10:45 AM - Fr. Liam...Laudate 12:30 PM - Fr. Richard...Cantor 2:00 PM - (Spanish) Fr. Ruiz...Guadalupanas
PARISH COMMUNAL CELEBRATION OF PENANCE Sunday, December 18, 7:30 PM (10 Priests/Confessors)
Our Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church • 1800 South Kolb Rd. • Tucson, Arizona • 520.747.1321 • Contact us
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