Pastor's Corner 1st Sunday of Advent
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today is the First Sunday of Advent. With this day, we begin a new liturgical year, and our time of spiritual preparation to celebrate the birth of our Lord at Christmas. We are celebrating the Rite of Acceptance into the Catechumenate (for someone who is not baptized) for one person at our 2 PM Mass, and the Rite of Welcoming into the process which will culminate with Reception into Full Communion at the Easter Vigil (for someone who is baptized in a different Christian faith) for three people at our 11:30 AM Mass and for two at the 2 PM Mass. In Spanish the people have been preparing for over a year, and in English for the last three months. Next spring, on the First Sunday of Lent, the non-baptized person will have the opportunity to receive the Rite of Election by our Bishop.
On Monday, December 7th, we will have a 7:00 PM vigil bilingual Mass for the feast day of The Immaculate Conception. On Tuesday, December 8th, being a holy day of obligation, we will have an 8:30 AM and a 7:00 PM Mass. Epiphany School will have a 1:30 PM Mass that day, however, it is restricted to no public attendance.
For the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we will begin at 10:00 PM on Friday, December 11 with a rosary, followed by a procession and Mass in Spanish which will end around midnight. The next day, Saturday, December 12th, we will have a 12:00 PM bilingual Mass followed by some outdoor activities for children.
Within months of my arriving at the parish more than four years ago, several people or groups of people approached me asking if a permanent, traditional crucifix could be placed in the sanctuary. (The image of Christ the Priest, Crucified, hanging over the exit sign and door which goes down to the ground floor is just on the outside edge of the sanctuary.) I told them then that I really needed to get my bearings in the parish, and that the Bishop advised that a new pastor not make major changes during his first year in a parish. I also saw pressing needs, like expanding the parking and erecting better signage. Now that I have been here longer, we have had a committee that began to meet before covid to look at the possibility of placing a crucifix in the sanctuary, and also studying where to place it so that it would not obscure the view of our stained-glass window. Covid certainly slowed us down, but we have finally found a corpus that is 70 inches long and 67 inches wide. With a wooden cross that would be added, it would be 8 feet by 6 feet. We have thought of hanging it on the wall on the left side of the arch as you are facing the altar, pending approval by the Diocese. But before I approach the Bishop’s representative, I would like to make sure there is enough interest so that we would not need to touch our reserves at a time that giving has decreased due to covid. When I first arrived, there were three different individuals (or couples) who indicated that they would like to sponsor it. I didn’t write their names down at the time, and the one couple I do remember has since moved out of the parish. The cost of the Corpus (and INRI plaque) with shipping would be $7512.40. (We have contacted a supplier that re-purposes sacred art from churches that have closed.) Someone has offered to build a cross for the corpus and install it for $700. This would give us a total of 8,212.40 for the entire project. If you are willing to sponsor some (or all) of this project, please contact me at the rectory so that I can proceed to get approval for the project from the Diocese.
We will be participating in the annual Culpeper Heat Shelter this year during the week of January 24 through January 30, 2021. Our Church and over 25 other churches and organizations in the Culpeper area support the Culpeper Winter Heat Shelter. This winter is difficult because the Covid pandemic shut down the Shelter’s sleeping facility. An increased number of homeless people are being housed at local motels without food. The Shelter, with God’s help, will feed the homeless through the winter with area churches providing dinners. Neil Dodson and Belinda Ferrari are our coordinators.
We will conduct a food drive to provide the homeless breakfast and lunch snacks to supplement the dinner. Donation bags will be distributed on December 5 and 6. The donations are to be returned on December 13.
I continue to ask you to offer prayers, fasting and almsgiving for our country. We are grateful to our parishioners who are able to continue to support the parish during this time of covid as giving has gone down. We would like to encourage you to sign up for FaithDirect, by going to: https://membership.faithdirect.net/ enroll/va226 Thank you for your continued generosity.