Memorial Poinsettias 2016

memorial poinsettiasThe Poinsettias that grace our worship spaces have traditionally been purchased through memorial offerings. Again this year, we invite you to remember a loved one by making a donation in their name. These names will be published in the bulletin. (Individual names will not be put on the plants.) Please return the form (linked below) with your donation no later than December 14th, 2016. Thank You!

 

Christian Service Christmas Food Baskets 2016

“Give and gifts will be given to you; packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.” Luke (6:38)

turkeyOnce again we a planning for Christmas Food Baskets to be distributed on December 10, 2016. The great participation of all our parishioners makes this project a way to evangelize to our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate. Once again we will be asking for the donation of turkeys and food so that we are able to make someone’s Christmas a little nicer.

 
Each week for the next four weeks we will be collecting food to be placed in each basket. You may bring all the items or just one of the items. Anything you do will be greatly appreciated. Please place the food in the collection baskets that are already around the entryways in the Church. Thank you in advance for all your help with this project. Any questions please contact Barb Brown 810-385-6736.

  • November 12-13: canned spaghetti sauce, spaghetti, canned soups, soda crackers, tuna, and pudding
  • November 19-20: brownie mix, cake mix, frosting, canned vegetables, cereal and Jell-O
  • November 26-27: canned fruit, rice, mashed potatoes, peanut butter, canned gravy
  • December 3-4: stuffing, cranberries, mac&cheese, toilet paper and paper towels

The Marvelous “O” Antiphons of Advent

O Antiphons of AdventWhat songs can you come up with beginning with the letter, “O?” Think along the lines of being patriotic. How about our national anthem for one? “O say can you see…” What about our neighbor, Canada, across the St. Clair River? It’s national anthem also begins with “O.” “O Canada, our home and native land…” Now that we are in Advent, the secular Christmas tune, “O Christmas tree” comes to mind. The beautiful religious Christmas song like “O Little Town of Bethlehem” may bring back some good memories for us too. Are there any other “O” songs I am missing?

There is nothing missing from our liturgical calendar during the period from Dec. 17th-23rd, because something significant takes place in this octave (eight days) before Christmas. You may not know that it is a period when the marvelous “O” Antiphons of Advent are either recited or sung. These particular “O” Antiphons are the verses for the ancient hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” and they refer to the names or titles of Christ, whose attributes are mentioned in Scripture.

First, what is an antiphon? It is a short sentence that is either sung or recited before or after a psalm, for example. Also, an antiphon could be sung in place of the opening hymn at the beginning of Mass. In addition, antiphons are recited or sung during the Liturgy of the Hours – the daily prayers of the Church (e.g. Morning Prayer/Lauds and Evening Prayer/Vespers). In this specific time during the week before Christmas (Dec. 17th – 23rd), the “O” Antiphons are recited or sung each day during Evening Prayer before the Magnificat canticle and then repeated again afterward. (FYI – A canticle is a hymn or chant – “little song” typically with a biblical text that forms a regular part of the liturgy). Also, the Magnificat recalls Mary’s joyful song of praise to God (Lk. 1:46-55) in which Mary encountered her cousin Elizabeth at the Visitation.

According to the U.S. Bishops website, usccb.org, these seven antiphons “are a magnificent theology that use ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative ‘Come!’ embodies the long of all for the Divine Messiah.” Furthermore, each title or antiphon refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. If one starts with the last Messianic title and takes the first letter of each one working backwards from Dec. 23rd – Dec. 17th – Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia – the Latin words ERO CRAS are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.”

The “O” antiphons that have been sung or recited in the Church since at least the eighth century are as follows:

  • December 17: O Wisdom (Sapientia) of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!
  • December 18: O Leader/Lord (Adonai) of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!
  • December 19: O Root (Radix) of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!
  • December 20: O Key (Clavis) of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!
  • December 21: O Radiant Dawn/Rising Sun/Dayspring (Oriens), splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
  • December 22: O King of all nations (Rex Gentium) and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
  • December 23: O (Emmanuel) with us is God, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!
* Latin words are in italics

In The Spirit of Joy for the Coming of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Fr. Jeff

Source: www.usccb.org

Religious Formation News – December 11, 2016

Peace be with you!
Advent Season – New Liturgical Year

  • Our church has so many beautiful traditions to go with its Liturgical Seasons.
    Of course our “church year” begins with the season of Advent! Last week we wished all of our students a “Happy New Year” and each class has a new Liturgical calendar posted in their rooms so that they can learn what the Catholic Church year looks like! It features John the Baptist in the art work and his story in Salvation History!! It is a round calendar and shows each season of our Church year.
    A large Liturgical calendar is posted in each church. Stop by and spend some time with your family viewing it. In St. Stephens it is posted in the Southeast entrance (before you go into the Sacristy and at St. Joseph in the vestibule).
  • Another rich tradition is the Advent Wreath. Each of the classroom prayer tables features an Advent wreath and the kids are taught the meaning of each candle and also of the wreath itself.
    The wreath is round to depict that God has always been and will always be! No beginning or end!!
    The wreath is ringed by evergreen branches to tell us that God’s never ending love for us is always alive and well.
    The four candles represent the four weeks of the Advent season when we prepare our hearts and minds for the “coming of Jesus” of course to remember the celebration of his first coming on Christmas Day and being prepared always for His second coming!!
    We teach that the four candles represent: Readiness, Repentance, Joy and Promise!
    First purple candle – What extras will we do during Advent to be ready for Jesus?
    Extra prayers…. Helping the less fortunate….. Spending time with an elder….. Remembering our soldiers, etc. etc. ?
    Second purple candle – Have we sinned? Do we need the Sacrament of Reconciliation? This is our time to repent! Our second graders and those older have been preparing and will celebrate their First Reconciliation on December 7th, 2016 along with their families! We schedule this during the Advent season to be ready!! Have we sat quietly with God and asked for His forgiveness?
    Third candle (it’s pink) – We look Joyfully to Christmas day!! Our waiting is almost over. We joyfully pray and bake cookies and buy gifts for our loved ones…. it’s almost time to celebrate The Savior!
    Fourth candle (purple once again) – We remember God’s Promise! He promised to send a Savior to us and He did! Come Jesus Come!
  • Deacon Dennis will offer a moving presentation on “Great is God’s Mercy” for the Confirmation candidates and their families on December 18th, 2016 from 4 to 6 p.m. in St. Stephen church. We have decided to open this up to EVERYONE who wishes to attend! What a great Advent opportunity! There will be music and reflection, a great presentation and fellowship. Please join us!!!

Waiting for Jesus!! Karen Clor – DRE
810-985-9069 or moc.o1481262279ohay@1481262279erneh1481262279petst1481262279s1481262279

The Name of God is Mercy

Presented By: Deacon Dennis

December 18th 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
at St. Stephen Church

Music by: Mary Fran & Lois
Hosted by: Confirmation Candidates!!

Don’t miss this unique Advent opportunity to learn of God’s great Mercy for YOU and how we can show mercy to others!!

2016 Christmas Mass Schedule

nativity scene

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord
Christmas Eve
Saturday, December 24th, 2016

     4pm at St. Joseph
     4pm at St. Stephen
     10pm at St. Joseph
Christmas Day
Sunday, December 25th, 2016

     9am at St. Stephen

New Years’ Mass Schedule
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
New Years’ Eve
Saturday, December 31st, 2016

     4pm at St. Stephen
New Years’ Day
Sunday, January 1st, 2017

     9am at St. Stephen
     11am at St. Joseph

Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School Events

basketballMark your calendars! Cardinal Mooney Catholic will be hosting our annual Christmas Basketball Tournament on December 27th and 28th, 2016. On behalf of Cardinal Mooney and the teams competing in the tournament, we would love to see you all in attendance. This is a great opportunity to see some of the best teams in the area play some great basketball.

Tickets for each day of the tournament are $5 and can be purchased at the door the day of the event. The teams competing in the tournament will be: L’Anse Creuse, Memphis, Algonac and Cardinal Mooney.   If you or your kids love basketball, there will be some great games to be seen.

music notesAlso, our choir will be performing at Our Lady on the River church on Tuesday 12/13/2016 at 7:00pm. The concert is free to attend and is a great way to get in the holiday spirit! We hope to see you and your families in attendance at these great events.

2016 Year End Statements

Please note! Year-end statements of donations will no longer be mailed out automatically. Statements will only be mailed out to those requesting one. To request your statement, please fill out the form (linked below) and drop it in the collection basket or mail it to the parish office:
325 32nd St., Port Huron MI 48060.

Please call the parish office, 810-984-2689, if you have any questions.

Christmas Food Basket Distribution 2016

Food Baskets will be distributed on Saturday December 10th between 9 and 11 a.m. To accomplish this we rely on much needed help from all our parishioners. This is also a good opportunity for any student who wishes to obtain service points to do so.

food basketStarting Friday, December 9th:
10a.m. –12 noon set up regifting area
2p.m. – 4p.m. sort food for boxes
4p.m. – 6p.m. pack food boxes

Saturday December 10th
8a.m. – 9a.m. drop off turkeys (please bring them frozen) in gym at St. Stephen’s site
9a.m. – 11a.m. distribute food boxes (We help the recipients take their food baskets to their cars and always can use some help with this process.)

If you are interested in helping please just show up and we will put you to work. Any questions please call Barbara Brown at 810-385-6736.

Thanks to all of you who help make this project a success.

Synod ’16 Fuels AOD with Boldness, Unity, and Direction

Synod 2016 logo47 years ago many of us were not even born, or we were a heckuva lot younger. It was also a transition time in our universal Church since it was four years after the conclusion of the Vatican II Council in 1965. But 1969 was the last time our archdiocese came together in a special meeting, called a synod, to dialogue on paradigm-shift changes as to how the archdiocese was to better function in order to serve the needs of believers in our local church of Detroit.

The weekend of Nov. 18th – 20th, 2016 was an opportunity for nearly 360 people represented from all 222 parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit (AOD) to gather once again at another synod, almost fifty years later, which was the 11th overall in the AOD’s history, established back in 1833. To kick off the event synod members processed from the Westin Hotel in Detroit down the block to St. Aloysius Church for Mass where bishops, priests, and lay people recited an Oath of Fidelity, professed the Nicene Creed, and put their hand on the Book of the Gospels. Guided by the Holy Spirit and under the leadership of our shepherd, Archbishop Vigernon, a few hundred people, plus expert advisors and observers came together to intensely discuss and deliberate on four key topics: 1). Individuals, 2). Families, 3). Parishes, and 4). AOD Central Services (the day-to-day operations of the archdiocese in the downtown office). 46 propositions were laid out among the four topics. Then table discussions ensued to decide by a consensus which was the best proposition(s) for each table. Results were tallied, and then all would reconvene in the large ballroom to discuss the results of each proposition. Random spokespeople from some of the tables would share their insights in front of everyone which included the reasons why certain propositions were chosen over others.

Three people from our parish were represented. Dcn. Dennis Crimmins, Rebecca Sweet, and I (Fr. Jeff) were blessed to be involved in the three-day event. Though there was a pledge of confidentiality given at our tables, I am able to share some of the themes drawn out from our weekend as well as some points that Abp. Vigneron mentioned in his homilies and synod remarks to focus on the future of the AOD. There was a heavy emphasis on evangelization as well as on other themes like hospitality, communication, resources, overcoming racism, an encounter and relationship with Jesus Christ, Catholic Schools, among others. In one of his comments, the archbishop said, “the wounds of shame (e.g. communal or personal sin, like racism) can become the wounds of glory.” He asked the synod members to view the small group tables as a sign of the Eucharistic table. He went on to talk about changing the very DNA of how our local church functions. In addition, the archbishop spoke about evangelization being personal and mentioned that our participation in the work of the Holy Spirit is a mystery. He also wants us to be aware of and involved in the “movements” of the Holy Spirit (e.g. Third Order Franciscans), for example.

A few statistics have already been published in a three-part, “Synod 16 Edition” by the Michigan Catholic which gave us helpful feedback on some of the topics. In terms of individuals and families, Saturday’s session asked members to identify one of two specific projects for Archdiocesan Central Services to pursue. Out of forty-six tables who cast votes, 56.5% (26 votes) voted for the proposition that stated: “Envision and develop a plan for ongoing human and spiritual formation for all stages of life (e.g. children, youth, adults and seniors).” 43.5% (20 votes) were cast for the proposition, “Envision and develop processes for sacramental preparation, and for marriage preparation in particular, modeled after the practices and phases of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), and focusing of conversion to a life of missionary discipleship, catechesis on the sacrament, small group dynamics, mentoring and ongoing formation.”

In terms of the topic on parishes, synod members were asked to come up with a proposition from each of the sub categories: Parish Culture, Parish Functions (Pray, Invite, Connect, Mentor, Send), and Parish Leadership. In Parish Culture, 48.9% (22.5 votes) agreed with the proposition, “Build a culture of personal encounter with Jesus that permeates every aspect of parish life and that leads to a loving encounter of our neighbor.” On the topic of Parish Functions, 26% (12 votes) went with the proposition, “Equip, empower, and support individuals and families in mission (e.g. evangelization, social and economic transformation, and spiritual and corporal works of mercy).” In Parish Leadership 39.2% (18 votes) supported the proposition, “Establish pastoral leadership teams as a normative practice, where team members develop shared responsibility ad accountability both to the vision of the archbishop and the mission of the parish. Extend the same team dynamics and practices to all parish and/or school staff.”

It was also mentioned by Abp. Vigneron and Cardinal Maida about how well we all wish Bp. Byrnes (now Abp. Byrnes) in his new endeavor to serve the people on the island of Guam in the south Pacific knowing the major leadership role he played in preparing us for this synod over the past two years. To sum it up, Abp. Vigneron reiterated the call for all of us to be a band of joyful missionary disciples! The archbishop did say that once all of the feedback has been compiled, and he has reflected on what has been shared, he will have a document published, what he called, an “account” that will be made public to the people of the archdiocese by Pentecost (June 3rd, 2017) to set a new course of direction for the AOD.

It was truly a blessing to see people collaborate well at their small tables knowing that every voice was heard. There was also a sense of bold confidence, unity and direction that came out of this weekend, which I am very excited about… something to look forward to in the coming months and years… Stay tuned, keep praying to the Holy Spirit, and discover how you can make your mark in becoming a joyful missionary disciple in our Church. In conclusion, the archbishop said, “the synod is God’s gift.” It was a gift, and I’m quite confident it will be a gift that will keep on giving for the next 50 years +/-. There is much to be thankful for, especially for the gift of synod 2016. Happy Thanksgiving!

Guided and Inspired by The Holy Spirit,
Fr. Jeff

Watch The Face of Mercy This Sunday Afternoon!

Jim Caviezel

Actor, Jim Caviezel

On Sunday, Dec. 4th, 2016 the Old Town Church Tour and Open House will take place from 1 – 3pm which will be an opportunity for us to visit and see the unique and historic architecture of 11 beautiful churches in the Port Huron area. Trolley Transportation will start at Our Savior Lutheran. The address is 1029 6th St.

But also on that same afternoon, another event will take place right in your own homes. A Knights of Columbus – produced documentary, The Face of Mercy, will be televised. This documentary has been chosen for distribution on ABC TV affiliated stations (WXYZ – channel 7 in our area) through a partnership with the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission (IBC). It will air on Sunday afternoon, Dec. 4th, 2016 at 2pm. The narrator of the show will be Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in The Passion of The Christ and who has recently played a large role in the show, Person of Interest. Testimonies from the film, The Face of Mercy, will be given by Immaculee Ilibagiza, Det. Stephen A. McDonald, Eric Mahl, Fr. Don Calloway, Jennifer Trapuzzano, and Frater Matthew Desme. This is very timely considering that the “Year of Mercy” in our Church concluded on Nov. 20th. For more information go to https://faceofmercyfilm.com.

This is a win-win situation as both events will be a blessing to experience. Enjoy!

In The Merciful Jesus,
Fr. Jeff