From the Pastor 11/22/20:

Dear Parishioners,
"A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” John the
Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the
whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being
baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. (Mk 1:3-5)
As we hear the cry of John the Baptist may we heed the call, this Advent to live differently. May we enter the desert with
John the Baptist, work to prepare the way for the Lord, and see forgiveness in our lives. Recognizing that we are in the
midst of a pandemic, we find ourselves having to do things differently. Our gatherings of family and friends, parties,
shopping, and prayer are all affected by what we need to do to be safe and to keep our loved ones safe. Given these changes
due to the pandemic, how will we live Advent differently this year?
Using the words from the preface for funerals "life is changed not ended" when it comes to COVID19. Let's allow our
Advent and Christmas to be changed this year, not just cancelled/ended. We can fret over all the things we can't do and the
fear of COVID-19, or we can challenge ourselves to do things differently, to be changed. What might this look like for
Advent this year?
Let's first go someplace safe, the desert, for prayer. Where can we quietly go for some quality prayer time this
Advent. Perhaps we have a place in our homes that could be designated as our prayer space. Decide to be with God in
prayer each day, and find a space and time for it to happen. If you feel you can safely get out and come to church we have
daily Mass at 6:45 a.m. (Grand) and 9:00 a.m. (Waldo), Tuesday evening 6:30 p.m. (Grand) and all of our weekend Masses.
Second, let's pace ourselves on our Advent/Christmas decorations. The weekend after Thanksgiving is the first Sunday of
advent, not full blown Christmas. Make your own Advent wreath and spend some time with whomever is in your household
or alone gathering around and praying the four weeks of Advent. Let the scriptures build our hearts towards Christmas. Feel
the longing and the expectation of the coming of Christ. Hold off on all of our Christmas decorations for at least a few
weeks.
Third, check out the unique things that we are offering at the parish this advent. Note that we are committed to socially
distance, wear masks, and sanitize frequently. Come for an hour or prayer time on our parish retreat day (Thursday, 12/10)
to be before the blessed sacrament. Plan on responding to John the Baptist call to repentance by coming sometime during
our day of reconciliation (Thursday, 12/17). May we prepare our heart, mind and our soul to truly encounter Christ this
Christmas.
Fourth, be patient with yourself, your family, your friends and with all the changes that need to happen to be safe this
Christmas. It is alright to feel that we are “wasting time” with God, as we await in prayer for a miracle for this
pandemic. Let us build patience in our lives as we patiently await the coming of Christ.
Fifth, pray everyday for an end to this pandemic, a vaccine for COVID-19, healing for all who are sick, wisdom for those
gathering together in groups, and safety for all. Let this be part of our daily prayer.
Six, do your shopping by purchasing your gift cards through our scrip program at the parish. Simply email or call your
order in and swing by one day to pick it up.
Seventh, spend some time in study, good Catholic study. Take one of the good Catholic books that you have been meaning
to read. Go to "FORMED" (instructions on our parish webpage: sfamanitowoc.org) and search for ADVENT. There are
54 options available. Great resource for all ages.
Lastly, prepare to creatively plan Christmas differently. Don't just cross off Christmas, plan to live it differently, safely. Be
open to God's guidance to new and different ways to celebrate His birth of Jesus into the world
This Advent plan to live life differently, choose to wait and grow in patience.
Happy Advent,
Fr. Doug 

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