Retired Religious Sisters and Brothers
Next Sunday we have the annual second collection for the retired religious. Members of religious orders like the Franciscans, Dominicans, Jesuits, Sisters of Mercy, etc, take personal vows of poverty. Their income goes to the religious order to feed and clothe all the members. In the past, they expected to use the income from working members to feed and house the elderly members, but with the decline in religious vocations in recent years, many religious orders have too few active and working and too many retired and in need. Not all religious orders suffer this poverty, but some are in severe need. About thirty years ago a tri-conference committee set up by the USCCB has been collecting the funds from this second collection on the second Sunday of December to allocate funds to religious orders according to their need.
At both Sacred Heart and St. Ann, our schools were staffed by religious sisters. For those of us who attended Hamilton Catholic, we remember the religious brothers. Members of religious societies like these across the United States are helped by this collection according to their actuarially determined need.
Every year I am asked if this collection also addresses diocesan priests. It does not! Diocesan priests (like Fr. Adam and me) receive a salary. We do not take a vow of poverty, so we own our own cars and personal items. If we have been frugal, some may have IRA savings. When the bishop allows us to retire at age seventy, we receive a pension from an Archdiocesan fund that has been built up from an annual allocation of monies collected in the Catholic Ministries Appeal (formerly known as the Archbishop’s Fund Drive).
Both Sacred Heart and St. Ann will carry on the tradition of having “giving trees” this year. Many families use the giving tree as a tradition that teaches their children the meaning of generosity and self-sacrifice. Sharing with those in poverty at this time of the year makes the season meaningful. Thanks for your support in the past and for your consideration of this opportunity this year.
Don’t forget that December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation for the United States. This will be referenced in the bulletin next week, but I wanted to give you a “heads up” as this usually comes as a bit of a surprise.
Grocery Certificate and Gift Card Programs
As we approach Christmas, please consider buying “gift certificates” as presents for your friends from the gift certificate program that operates in the Narthex or Vestibule of both Sacred Heart and St. Ann. If every parishioner did this at his or her respective parish, neither parish would ever be worried about deficit budgets again.
Reflection on Scripture
In the Catholic Church, the First Sunday of Advent begins a new liturgical year. As regards the three year cycle of Sunday Mass readings, this year is Cycle “A.” As regards the two year cycle of weekday Mass readings, we are on Year #1.
The term “advent” comes from the combination of a Latin verb “venio” which means “approach” and Latin preposition “ad” translated “to.” The compound word means to “arrive.” During the four week season of Advent we reflect initially on the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time. Thus there are numerous readings with an eschatological theme. From December 17th to the 24th, we focus specifically on the arrival of Jesus at his birth in Bethlehem. During this season, the priest wears purple vestments.
The theme of the readings today is “stay awake” and alert for we do not know when the Lord will return. We are encouraged to vigilant faith.
Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent
Theme: Stay alert!
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