Pastor’s Corner – December 03, 2017
This weekend, we continue our journey towards Christ with the beginning of our liturgical year. Today, the 1st Sunday of Advent, marks our liturgical “New Year,” which appropriately begins with our preparation for and anticipation of receiving the gift of the Grace of Christ at Christmas. The Nativity of Our Lord marks the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life, the life of Our Savior that leads to our salvation and the salvation of the world. The remembrance of these events is intended to help us to re-focus on Christ and His Church by entering more deeply into the mystery of the Incarnation, that is, the mystery of God becoming Man. The first step in preparing to receive Christ fully was heralded by John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner, who preached repentance and forgiveness of our sins in order to “prepare the way of the Lord.” We must be rid of the bad so that we can be filled with the good, and as Catholics we first and foremost do this in the Sacrament of Confession.
In that regard, the Diocese of Lafayette is once again sponsoring “The Light is on for You” campaign. During Advent, St. Landry Church will have its “light on for you” on Wednesdays from 6:30 until 8pm for Confessions. As mentioned last weekend, Confessions will also be available before each Sunday Mass during Advent, beginning about a half hour before Mass. Because of the timing necessary for the priest to be ready for Mass, he will stay only until the line ends (or 10 minutes before Mass, whichever is later) and then go to the sacristy to prepare for Mass.
Confession is a beautiful sacrament often underutilized by Catholics. Confession gives us and earthly and tangible experience of God’s Divine Mercy, which is not only the forgiveness of our sins, but also the Grace to overcome them and live a life fully in peace and in union with Jesus. As the words of absolution state, God grants us “pardon and peace.” Confession allows us to experience God’s mercy in the forgiveness of our sins, and His Grace gives us a second kind of mercy: The strength to cast off the burden of future sin and temptation so that we can live in true freedom and know Jesus ever more deeply. Confession will prepare us to receive Jesus more fully at Christmas, so I hope all of us take advantage of the Sacrament of Confession during the Advent Season. Know of my prayers that all of us are blessed with the greatest gift of all at the end of this Advent Season, the gift of the Peace of Christ and a deeper relationship with Him!
Also, a reminder that during Advent our choir at the 10am Mass will be introducing Latin Mass Parts (these will also be used for the Lenten Season). As was mentioned last week, Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church and in a material way signifies our unity in Christ by the use of a common language regardless of where we live or what language we speak. The Latin settings are quite beautiful and all can learn and participate in singing them. They are from the “Jubilate Deo” setting and are located in our missalette beginning on page 377, number 289 forward. We thank our choir for their work in making our liturgies more beautiful.
I will be out for part of this weekend making an ACTS Retreat. As you might recall, one of our goals this year was to begin the ACTS program in our parish. The goal for our parish is to provide an opportunity for all to deepen their commitment to discipleship in a concrete way in the way we live our lives individually and what we do as a community. The first step of the program is for the pastor to make the retreat, and an opening occurred at a retreat this weekend allowing me to attend. My hope is that we are able to schedule retreats after the first of the year giving an opportunity for all parishioners to attend. Many of you have already mentioned to me your desire to make the retreat, and we look forward to setting up the program here at St. Landry. Know that you all will be in prayers during the retreat.
Thanks to our Volunteers!
With the beginning of the new liturgical year, I want to once again thank all those who have helped at the church this year by volunteering to serve our community. Last weekend we had our annual appreciation dinner for our volunteers and ministers, which went very well. I want to especially thank Deacon Joubert and the altar society for coordinating the event. Without the generosity in time that our volunteers give, from the beginning of the week early on Monday morning to the closing of the church building after the 5pm Mass Sunday evening, our volunteers do so many things that help our church community. The variety of gifts and talents that have been given to our parishioners and then used to support our community is so important for our continued ability to thrive and live life in Christ. Please know of my appreciation for your dedication and generosity, and my hope that all of us will continue to be generous with the time, talent and treasure that God has given to us.