Planning Faith-Full Celebrations

September 14, the Feast of the Holy Cross, was a special day for St. Francis of Assisi. Each year, he began his personal “second Lent,” preparing for Christmas Day.  This is a good day for us to begin planning for a faith-full celebration of coming events.
Halloween is the gateway to our Christian feast days of All Saints (November 1) and All the Faithful Departed (November 2). These are days of joyfully celebrating the Saints and sadly remembering our departed loved ones. This is a time for prayer: the All Saints Holy Day, Mass at a local cemetery, prayerful visits to church, a cemetery or a special seasonal Dia de los Muertos altar. This is an ideal time to reach out to those who have lost a loved one during the past year.  
Many traditions have grown up around All Hallows’ Eve. It’s important for believers to be intentional about the way we celebrate this day. If you or your children are planning costumes, talk about the values or the message behind the image you are selecting. Is it fun, creative, joyful? Do we need more frightening images in this world of terrorism and fear? 
If children come to your door to Trick or Treat, always welcome them warmly and never forget to say, “God bless you!” as they leave.
Election Day, November 8, should be a time of prayer. Our churches and chapels will be open for quiet intercession and for Mass.  In our homes we should gather in prayer as well, asking God’s wisdom, deliverance and protection in the coming days.
November 9 should be a continuation of this prayerful preparation for an unknown and uncertain future.
Thanksgiving Day, November 24: Plan ahead and come to morning Mass,  bringing one item of food to be blessed and returned to your table. Make plans as a household to adopt a family through the parish or to select non-perishable food items for the church pantry when you do your holiday shopping.  Find a prayer or Scripture reading to make certain that God has a mention at your
Advent, November 27:  Place an Advent Wreath on your table!  Shop early while they are still available.
St. Nicholas Day, December 6: St. Nicholas is the patron of children (and of our new parish childcare center). There are long-standing traditions of celebrating his day, especially by inviting children to put out their shoes (not hang their stockings). This can be a fun event for the family and an opportunity to remember faith and a saint who delighted in giving to others.  Go online to learn more and surprise the kids in your life by beginning this annual celebration this year.
Christmas Day, December 25: Happy birthday, Jesus, the Prince of Peace!

Fr. John Keller, PastorComment