This week we begin one of my very favorite seasons of the year.
To mark the season we are launching a new message series called “Light,” all about … light, which will also be the theme of our Christmas Eve celebration this year.
As an Advent gift to our parishioners, we are distributing a little booklet that Tom, my associate, and I put together. This is a new project for us, not something we have ever attempted before. It is a daily “devotional,” simple prayers and reflections for each day of Advent, which Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, published recently. They only published a limited edition, and have already sold out, but we obtained copies for the parish, on a first come first serve basis. If you’re here on our Ridgely Road campus this weekend be sure and pick up a copy.
While here, why not check out our Christmas Shoppe on the Glass Colonnade. Our little store has plenty of gift ideas, all with a Nativity theme to them. If you’re wondering what to get the guy or gal on your list who has it all, take a look at some unique gifts and promote your church at the same time. You might even find something for yourself. The Nativity logo on your coffee mug or water bottle can be a subtle form of Evangelization.
This week our Christmas Eve planning kicks into high gear. But I have already made my first visit to the “Cow Palace” at the State Fairgrounds, the home of our Christmas Eve Masses. There is much work to be done in preparation, that is for sure, but the good news is that about 780 parishioners have signed up to serve…really an unprecedented number.
Planning is also moving forward currently on a most exciting Advent Project. Each year we undertake a mission “project” with one of our mission partners aiming at making a game-changing impact on their communities. In past years we have built schools, provided fresh water, established micro-economies in communities in West Africa, Haiti, and elsewhere. The support of an overwhelming number of our parishioners has ensured consistent success. Many parishioners make their donations as a Christmas gift for friends and family, thereby scoring a double win. Anyone who makes a donation will receive as many gift cards as they request. It’s a great way to honor others without more needless gifts. And meanwhile, your gift can be contributing to something really special.
And what is this year’s project, you ask?
Well, I can tell you it will be a little closer to home and it will definitely be our most ambitious project ever.
However, we’re not announcing it until the weekend of December 14 & 15th. So, stay tuned.