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Rediscover the Power of Advent

This Sunday we enter the season of Advent – the next Advent in our life. Again, God calls us to embrace a sacred time of anticipation and reflection. Advent, derived from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming,” is a time of special significance for Catholics. It marks the beginning of the liturgical year, inviting us to prepare our hearts and minds to celebrate the inauguration of our salvation with the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

During the next four Sundays, lighting of the Advent candles will mark not only our journey to the festive celebration of Christmas but, above all, our personal journey to the Lord. God wants us to do next step in our spiritual life and deepen our relationship with himself. The Advent wreath, adorned with evergreen branches, reminds us of the eternal life found in Christ. The candles on it represent the increasing light that dispels the darkness.

Advent, as Lent, calls us to a profound examination of conscience and repentance. If we are not reconciled with God and people, how can we celebrate joyfully Christmas together with our family, friends, and members of Corpus Christi parish? If we are washed in the grace of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, we can fully enjoy the promise that is given to us and our children – the promise of everlasting life in God’s Kingdom. The Sacrament of Reconciliation becomes a pivotal aspect of our Advent journey, allowing us to approach the manger with hearts purified and ready to receive the Newborn Savior.

Let us then do everything, brothers and sisters – in our homes with Advent and Christmas decorations, prayers before meals, reading of the Scripture, personal prayer and meditation – so that this Advent and Christmas will be a special time for us and our family. Be assured that our efforts will be rewarded. Everything depends on us.

Nativity Scene Plenary Indulgence

This year on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the faithful gathered at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy, to honor the beloved Italian saint and celebrate the 800th anniversary of the approval of the Rule of St. Francis (1223) and the creation of the Nativity scene in Greccio.

As part of the celebration of this Franciscan Centenary, the Conference of the Franciscan Family asked Pope Francis for the approval of a plenary indulgence. A plenary indulgence is a grace granted by the Catholic Church through the merits of Jesus Christ, Mary, and all the saints to remove the temporal punishment due to sin. The indulgence cleanses a person of all temporal punishment due to sin.

The Conference of the Franciscan Family wrote:

 “In order to promote the spiritual renewal of the faithful and increase the life of grace, we ask that the faithful receive a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions from 8 December 2023, the solemnity of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to 2 February 2024, Feast of the Presentation in the Temple of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by visiting the churches run by Franciscan families throughout the world and stopping in prayer in front of the Nativity scenes set up there.”

The Apostolic Penitentiary welcomed the request, allowing the faithful to receive this indulgence under the usual conditions (1. detachment from all sin, even venial; 2) sacramental confession, Holy Communion, and prayer for the intentions of the pope. Sacramental confession and receiving the Eucharist can happen up to about 20 days before or after the act performed to receive a plenary indulgence.)

Fr. Mark Jurzyk, Pastor