Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

      Whoosh!  And welcome to Gaudete Sunday.  How quickly the season of Advent passes and today is that marker which reminds us that Christmas is very near.  Today Mother Church puts on the rose vestments in joyful anticipation of the Lord’s birth and Second Coming.  And so we take time to “rejoice” (gaudete), for the Lord is near  (Philippians 4:4-5).

      Surely there will be considerable rejoicing for many children and teens who will receive the beautifully wrapped and generous gifts that have come in as a result of our Giving Tree.  I wish you could see our parish library where they are stored.  There is no room to walk around, such has been your kind and thoughtful response.

      Also, we commend all those young and older who have visited and assisted at the local nursing homes in decorating, caroling, and bringing the good cheer of rejoicing to those confined because of illness or disabilities.  You may not be aware of how much you are appreciated.  May your recompense be in those aged smiles reflected back to you.

      On Wednesday of this week we begin the “O Antiphons” at vespers and the Gospel Acclamation further reminding us of Who is coming into our midst.  Each antiphon is a profound reflection upon Our Savior’s presence in our lives.  Be sure to pay close attention.

      And, of course, our Christmas spirits are lifted up as we come to hear our extraordinary choir offer us the beautiful strains of this season.  Come and enjoy an afternoon well spent, 2:00 PM at St. John’s.  If you are not already in the Christmas spirit, I assure you, you will be when hearing our choir.

      Finally, we want to prepare ourselves spiritually, first by making a good confession.  Please note that we have a Penance Service on Monday, December 15, beginning at 7:00 PM in St. Mary Magdalen Church.  Consult the bulletin for other extended hours of confession.  Also, join in the Christmas Novena which begins on Tuesday, December 16 and concludes on December 24.  Novena prayers will be offered at all Masses and please join us in prayer at home as well.

      Rejoice in these final days of Advent!

With blessings,

Fr. Langan