The Advent penance service for our pastoral region will be 7pm on Tuesday, December 4 at St. Julie Billiart.  If it has been a while since your last confession, Advent and Lent are opportune times to return to the grace of the Sacrament(s).

We begin the season of Advent today.  Advent is Latin for “coming toward.”  God is coming toward us to bring salvation, redemption from darkness, freedom from sin and death.  It is a time of waiting and a time of preparation.  We look forward with courage and strength because God has promised a Messiah, a Savior, and this God keeps his promises.  In “Las Posadas” and in the story of the Nativity we hear that there was no room for Jesus in the inn.  We prepare so that he will find a room in our hearts.

Prominent during this season is Mary, Mother of God and star of our hope.  You might see her on Christmas cards or even on stamps.  You will see her in nativity scenes, in your home, in public, on TV and internet videos.  We also celebrate her feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 (patronal feast day for our country, the United States).  We will have a packed house at 10pm on December 11 to welcome in Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast on the 12th.  Mary is honored as Mother of God in our liturgies on January 1.

I hope some of you will enjoy St. Julie’s Christmas concert this afternoon at 4pm as part of the German Village Christmas Walk.  If you are going to a Saturday Mass for the Immaculate Conception or the early vigil at St. Joseph, you might enjoy a Sing-along Messiah with the Butler Philharmonic at West Chester Church of the Nazarene, 7pm Friday, December 7.

Prepare your heart to receive our Savior who is coming near.