Behold, the virgin shall

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1 Saint Peter Catholic Church Inside Who is First on Your Christmas List? Come Adore the Newborn King! Church Decorating Committee Creates a Special Atmosphere Year-Round Understanding the Mass Giving Thanks to God in the Most Powerful Way Possible 7 Altar Servers Learning the Value of Service at a Young Age A Letter from Our Pastor December 2013 Dear Parishioners, He is Coming! Are You Prepared? Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name Him Emmanuel, which means God is with us. How many times have we heard those prophetic words? We ve heard them in readings from the prophet Isaiah, and we ve heard them repeated in Matthew in the readings for the last Sunday in Advent. What do we think of when we hear that Word? How close to our hearts is that proclamation? At this time of year, those words should be very close. I think in particular of the meaning of Emmanuel, God is with us. That is one of the most basic tenets of stewardship that God is with us on our stewardship missions. This month of December should be one of the high points of our annual stewardship journeys. From the first day of the month up until Christmas is our Advent journey. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which literally means coming. We must also understand that adventus was the Latin translation of the Greek word parousia, which refers specifically to the second coming. Advent, our time of expectant preparation for the first coming of Christ with His birth, is thus also a preparation for His second coming. On the first Sunday of Advent (December 1), St. Paul and Jesus both tell us we need to be awake, to get ready. However, we all know what a challenge that can be with everything else that goes on around us during this season. In our hearts, we know that this is a holy time, but the lists of things we develop to be done might often seem a continued on page 5 St. Peter Parish is a Catholic community of faith bringing the light of Christ to all by serving others

2 St. Peter Catholic Church Who is First on Your Christmas List? The Christmas season is fast approaching. We have already made our gift lists, and perhaps even checked them twice. First on the list is family, followed by friends, our children s teachers and coaches, and maybe even the mailman. Christmas inspires us to give our family and friends gifts of love and appreciation, in gratitude towards all they do for us during the year. The very idea of holiday gift giving a display of love and gratefulness to those who have touched our lives is parallel to the concept of stewardship. When we give to God, we are effectively saying thanks for all He has done for us. Think of all God has done for you this year. How have His loving arms embraced you? Maybe He has answered a special prayer intention. Maybe He has created a job opportunity for an unemployed loved one. He may have helped safely bring a new baby into the family, or instilled peace during a particularly difficult time. God s blessings are countless, and the abundant gifts He bestows upon us are given freely out of incomprehensible love despite our unworthiness. Think of the ways you respond to God s bountiful blessings. How do you choose to show Him your thankfulness? As we prepare for the coming of Christ during Advent, will we remember to add Jesus name to our list? Uncle John wants a new drill, and Grandpa definitely needs a new cardigan but what does Jesus want? It is His birthday we are celebrating, after all. The very first name on the list above our spouse, children, relatives and friends should be God s name. As disciples of Christ, we are called to give God our first fruits, not our leftovers. We should joyfully place God first on our gift-giving lists, not out of guilt or as an afterthought, but out of love and appreciation. Stewardship allows us to tangibly give a Christmas gift to God through our time, talent and treasure. We give God gifts of time through prayer, such as spending time before the Blessed Sacrament or praying the Rosary. We can give our talents to God by way of simple charitable actions, such as bringing a meal to a hard-pressed neighbor, or watching a young mother s children so that she is able to prepare for her own family s Christmas celebration. And as for treasure, we can give God a portion of our income this Christmas by dropping an extra dollar in the collection basket. Whatever choices you make this season, make the decision to be a good Christmas steward. As we prepare for the coming of Christ during Advent, will we remember to add Jesus name to our list? Uncle John wants a new drill, and Grandpa definitely needs a new cardigan but what does Jesus want? It is His birthday we are celebrating, after all. 2

3 December 2013 Come Adore the Newborn King! by Scott Fitzgerald Midnight Mass on Christmas night is an especially beautiful and moving liturgy. In the still darkness of what was thought to be the darkest night of the year, we celebrate that Jesus Christ was born. Every year at the Midnight Mass liturgy, the Christmas Proclamation is sung. For us, this is the English translation of what is written in Latin, and is contained in the Roman Missal. This Proclamation of the Birth of Christ comes from the Roman Martyrology, the official listing of the saints celebrated by the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. It situates the Nativity of Christ within the context of salvation history, making reference not only to biblical events but also to the Greek and Roman worlds. The coming of Christ at Christmas, then, is seen as the summit of both sacred and secular history (Scott P. Richert). Proclamation of the Birth of Christ Today, the twenty-fifth day of December, unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth and then formed man and woman in his own image. Several thousand years after the flood, when God made the rainbow shine forth as a sign of the covenant. Twenty-one centuries from the time of Abraham and Sarah; thirteen centuries after Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt. Eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges; one thousand years from the anointing of David as king; in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel. In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad; the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome. The forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus; the whole world being at peace, Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary. Today is the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. We hope you have a wonderful and happy Christmas. And, especially if you want to avoid the Christmas Eve Mass crowds, why not give Midnight Mass a try? We would love to see you there! 3

4 St. Peter Catholic Church Church Decorating Committee Creat When attending at Mass during the Christmas season, it s impossible not to notice the beautiful flowers and decorations that adorn the church. St. Peter s Church Decorating Committee is not only responsible for these holiday decorations, but also for adorning the church on Holy Days of Obligation and for the different seasons of the liturgical year. With their care and attention to detail, we are able to worship in a space that is aesthetically pleasing and welcoming. The Decorating Committee was founded about six years ago, and currently numbers about 10 members. During most of the year, the group makes sure that the proper altar cloths are placed on the altar, and each month, a different person on the committee is responsible for watering all the plants in the church. The group also meets several times a year to plan the decorations for major holidays and Holy Days of Obligation. We ll all get together ahead of time to discuss ideas on how to decorate the church, says Tamy Cassady, who co-chairs the committee along with Pat Ludwig. We try to rack everyone s brains to come up with something new. I think we ve begun to do a lot more now in the way of decorating that we did before. Before, we just mainly put some flowers on the altar and called it good. Now, we are into really decorating for the different Church holidays. The committee puts a great deal of time and effort into making their own decorations as opposed to buying them, which is cost-effective while adding a personal touch. When preparing for the Christmas season, for example, the group starts planning and making different garlands and floral arrangements starting at the end of October. The decorations are mostly kept low-key during the season of Advent, and then the group members pull out all the We all feel like we re a part of the Mass. I have met a lot of new people through this, and it s been great. Some of these women even bring their husbands on the decorating day to help out, so we all get to know each other. Tamy Cassady stops when they decorate for Christmas on the afternoon of Dec. 23. This year, we ll have greenery and decorations on the pews, and we ll have flags under the Stations of the Cross with lighted greenery and more décor, says Tamy. We always have poinsettias, which people donate in memory of loved ones. Our priest is very generous and big into Christmas, so he bought two humongous Christmas trees for either side of the altar, and he also donated a tree for the narthex. He also went out and bought a brand new manger, which is beautiful! And on the day that we decorate, he will be there to help. Tamy has enjoyed playing an active part in the decoration of the church, and has appreciated having the opportunity to meet other parishioners through the ministry. We all feel like we re a part of the Mass, she says. I have met a lot of new people through this, and it s been great. Some of these women even bring their husbands on the decorating day 4

5 December 2013 es a Special Atmosphere Year-Round to help out, so we all get to know each other. I would tell anyone that they should really do it. It s not complicated, it s not hard, and you don t have to be responsible for the whole thing. We do it as a group, as a committee. I think they d truly enjoy it if they did it. For more information or to join the Church Decorating Committee, please contact the parish office at A Month Filled with Gratitude continued from front cover long way from holy preparation. There is baking to be done; decorations to put up; lights to be hung; preparations for visitors to arrive at our homes, or for trips to visit others; gifts to be bought and wrapped. We really do have to wake up and be alert for signs of the Christ Child and for signs of the Lord, because it is so easy for them to be lost amidst everything else that fills this time of year. Stewardship instructs us to step back and to keep in mind the reality about this Advent and Christmas for us as Catholics and Christians. Yes, this may seem like a tired theme because we people of faith articulate it so often. Nevertheless, that focus on what is vital is also a challenge to stewardship throughout the year, as well as a trial that seems most paramount right now. Christ deserves more from us than an hour and a half or so on Christmas Eve. He deserves daily prayers and devotions in preparation. Before Santa takes over, we need to ensure that Jesus is part of our preparations and our lives. Stewardship as a way of life is never easy. But at this time of year, I suggest that each of us, each family, read the Christmas Story at the beginning of Advent, not just at the end. Then, we need to go back to that story and reflect upon that message again and again during our Advent and Christmas journeys. To complete our preparations and to bring the passage to fruition, we all will long to hear those words: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests. God be with you during this holy time of our Church year. Yours in Christ, Rev. Msgr. Leo J. Enlow Pastor 5

6 St. Peter Catholic Church Understanding the Mass Giving Thanks to God in the Most Powerful Way Possible It is ironic that today, with all of the freedom of religion that we enjoy in the United States, many of us wonder why we must go to Mass on Sunday. However, if we really understood what the Mass is and how we participate in the celebration, we would instead be asking why we, as sinful human beings, are even able to participate in the holy Mass. If we simply understood and recognized that God s infinite goodness allows us to do so, we would be eager to go to Mass on Sunday and every other day of the week. It is true, however, that all Catholics are obliged to Keep holy the Lord s Day by sharing in the Mass. But why are we obliged? The Eucharistic Liturgy is the center of our faith. It is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed and it is the font from which all her power flows (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 26). It does not exhaust the activity of the Church, but is most certainly her greatest work. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross is literally re-presented to the Father during Mass, and Christ allows us to join with Him in offering that sacrifice. Imagine our Lord and Savior dying on the cross for us right up the street. Imagine knowing that Mary is sitting at the foot of the cross with St. John, witnessing her Son giving Himself to the Father for the sake of all of us. Would we not run to be there? Would we not desire to share in His sacrifice, just as Mary did? Believe it or not, the sacrifice of Calvary is really, truly happening at our parish, every time the Mass is offered. Our participation in Mass gives us the strength and the graces we need to live our lives as Christ s disciples. So what does this mean for us? This means we have a front row seat to the sacrifice of Calvary. Given such a gift, how can we not accept it? We also have a chance to join in Jesus sacrifice by offering our own prayers and petitions. As an example, what better gift could we give deceased loved ones than the offering of prayers for their souls in Purgatory? Most importantly, we have the opportunity to receive the Eucharist, followed by quiet time, when we offer sincere thanks and allow God s graces to fill us. Think of all that you are missing when you do not properly prepare yourself to receive the Holy Eucharist. We ought to joyfully run to Church each Sunday, eager to give God glory in the greatest way we can! Attending and actively participating in Mass every Sunday is our obligation as Catholics. But we should not allow the fact that our attendance is required to stop us from going. Nor should we allow our laziness to overshadow the amazing privilege and the many blessings that lay before us in the Mass. The pope and the bishops direct us to participate in the Eucharistic Liturgy every Sunday because they know there is no better way to keep holy the Lord s day giving God thanks for all He has done for us in the most powerful way possible. They know that, through the Mass, we gain the graces necessary to live our lives in this world. Our ability to participate in the Mass is a wonderful gift, not a great burden. May Christ enlighten our minds and hearts to clearly see the wonders of the celebration, and give us great enthusiasm and eagerness to participate. 6

7 December 2013 Altar Servers Learning the Value of Service at an Early Age Active service is important for all of us, regardless of our age. For the youth of our parish, serving on the altar is a great way to become active stewards and learn the value of serving God and others from an early age. It brings them to a realization that it s not about them, it s about serving the Church in any way they can, says Deacon Bob Lundberg, who trains the altar servers at our parish. It s helping to serve God, and through serving the Church you can serve God. There are around 60 altar servers in our parish. These boys and girls assist the priest and deacon throughout the celebration of the Liturgy. During the Mass, they are involved with the readings, the processions, and the preparation of the Eucharist. They assist the priest and deacon with the Roman Missal and the Mass book, receiving the offertory, and more. At St. Peter, boys and girls in fifth grade and older may be altar servers. Bob provides the training for all of the servers the training sessions are held one or two times a year. During the training process, the servers go through the different parts of the Mass and learn how to carry out their roles and responsibilities, as well as how to carry themselves while they are serving on the altar. And though there are many tasks and duties that the servers must carry out, there are many benefits to their service. I ll ask the servers if they like to serve, and they say they love it, Deacon Bob says. Then I ask them why. You get mixed answers, but the one I get the most is that they love being close to the altar and the priests. Most of them, especially when they first start serving, they really enjoy it. The altar servers often become very closely connected to the celebration of the Mass. I ll ask the servers if they like to serve, and they say they love it. Then I ask them why. You get mixed answers, but the one I get the most is that they love being close to the altar and the priests. Most of them, especially when they first start serving, they really enjoy it. Deacon Bob Lundberg They re closer to the altar, Deacon Bob says. I ve noticed sometimes you ll bring kids up to the altar, and when they re closer to when everything s consecrated and they see how the Mass flows, they re more attentive to the homily and they get more out of it. For that reason, this ministry can also be a great stepping stone to considering priestly and religious vocations. If you see how the priest does things, it creates some interest in that type of ministry, Deacon Bob says. It gives them more of a chance to see how things work and how the liturgy flows. It gives them more exposure to being in front of everybody. It touches them more in that way. There have been a lot of altar servers who have become priests. It can be kind of a stepping stone. For more information about the Altar Servers Ministry at St. Peter, please call the parish office at

8 St. Peter Catholic Church 2600 Maine Street Quincy, Illinois Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 105, Quincy, IL Mass & Reconciliation Schedule Sunday Masses Saturday: 5 p.m., Sunday: 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Weekday Masses Mon-Sat: 8:00 a.m., except for Wednesdays: 8:30 a.m. Reconciliation Saturday: 7:30-7:50 a.m., 3:30-4:30 p.m. or by appointment Christmas Mass times: December 24: 4 p.m. 6 p.m. (Children s Mass) Midnight December 25: 8 a.m. 10 a.m. Merry Christmas from the clergy and staff of St. Peter.

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