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From the Pastor's Desk - December 5, 2010

Dear Parishioners,
Remember that this coming week we celebrate the patronal feast of the United States: the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, which is on December 8. This is a holy day of obligation, so, whether we come to St. Joseph or go to another parish, we have a serious obligation to attend Mass on the evening before or on the day of this feast of our Blessed Mother.

Masses at St. Joseph will be at 6:00 P.M. on the evening of December 7 and at 8:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. on December 8. Our youth enrolled in our religious education program will be attending the 7:00 P.M. Mass on December 8, which I expect our parents to see to it that their children are present for this Mass. Further, following the 7:00 P.M. Mass, there will be Eucharistic Adoration from the end of Mass until Midnight in Church, for which there are sign-up sheets on the tables in the entry of the church for those who are able to sign up for an hour or half an hour of prayer. Our American  bishops are encouraging this time of prayer for our nation that all hearts might be converted to respecting all human life from the moment of conception to natural death.

Speaking of respect for life, this past week we received. from an anonymous donor, copies of the National Catholic Bioethics Center’s
publication entitled “A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions” for the purpose of these being distributed to the members of our parish households. This pamphlet outlines the Church’s teaching on advance directives, euthanasia, and physician-assisted suicide. There is also included a two-sided sheet that provides proper wording for a Catholic to designate a health care proxy and an advance medical directive, which is something you can take to an attorney for such. Since no one can know which circumstances are going to be faced, if one would ever be incapacitated to make his or her own decisions regarding health care procedures, the best preparation is to choose someone, along with alternates, to whom medical power of attorney is granted because a mere advanced medical directive could never anticipate every possible medical situation. If anyone ever has questions regarding what they should do in these matters, I am happy to provide counsel and direction on what is consistent with our Catholic Church teaching. Please pray for the generous donor as we are thankful for providing our parishioners with such an aide.

As Christmas approaches, I will be offering an extended schedule for the opportunity to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation so that there is ample opportunity for you to go to confession in preparation for the celebration of Our Lord’s birth. Of course, you may go to another parish, if you so choose for confession. Whether you come here to St. Joseph or go to another parish, it warms a pastor’s heart to know that his parishioners have received this sacrament of Our Lord’s mercy. Jesus was born to take away our sins, but he cannot take them away unless we ask him to do so. In next week’s bulletin, I will provide an examination of conscience to aid you in making your confession.

You have probably noticed that we have two outdoor nativity sets this year. There is the one by the church doors that the parish  already possessed. The one that is out by the church sign near Main Street is one that the parish received from the estate of Msgr. Robert Gass, for which we are grateful. Please remember the repose of the soul of Msgr. Gass in your prayers. We thank the members of the Knights of Columbus for setting these nativity displays up last weekend.

On Thursday, December 16, I invite you to a Christmas open-house at the rectory from 6:30 to 9:00 P.M. Zeke is really excited about this as he loves parties (Don't worry. I will have him kenneled up)! So, I hope to see you that evening for some refreshments, appetizers, and socializing.

I pray that your Advent is going well and that all of you are finding the time for some extra prayer during this holy season.

God bless,
Father Gutowski

This Week

Prayer Intention for the Week
For the sick: Joyce Cockerill, Kathy Ewing, Harriet Green, Ted Riha, Duane Poser, Sally Leyden, Chrissy Skinner, Jerry Martin, Dorothy Foged.

ACTIVITIES IN THE PARISH
Sat., Dec. 9, Springfielder at Heart Dinner
Sun., Dec. 10, Christmas Open House 3 – 5 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 13, RE, 6:15 P.M.