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Thanksgiving & Advent 2021

Blessings of Thanksgiving and Advent!

Typically Thanksgiving, the first and last weeks of Advent and Christmastide many of our parishioners travel from our Boston parish to be with family and friends in other towns, cities, states and countries. While we continue to face unprecedented situations of  public health and safety travel this year is finally rebounding and is so much less restrictive . And so we who remain here pray in Spirit with all who are away.

Yes, we’ve experienced and learnt a great deal these past nearly two years. We’ve lived through, addressed and are overcoming a variety of uncertainties and disparities. Hopefully we’ve come to a practical and realistic approach to daily living that grounds us in acceptance and faith and our mission as parish and Catholic Christians. Advent is my favorite liturgical season!
One of my top 3 favorite Advent songs rings out the message of the passing of time with all verities and uncertainties of life & standing transfixed by faith and bringing God’s love to earth - Lord Jesus come and reign.
 (Marty Haugen - “Night of Silence”)

These weeks of this Advent season we can be sure that we have risen to be extraordinary individuals and people rooted in a better understanding of what is truly most important in life. We strive to focus and maintain a balance. Advent begins our new liturgical year 2022 and our scriptural cycle of the Gospel of Luke.

Throughout the Gospel, Luke calls upon the Christian disciple to identify with Jesus, who is caring and tender toward the poor and lowly, the outcast, the sinner, and the afflicted, toward all those who recognize their dependence on God. No gospel writer is more concerned than Luke with the mercy and compassion of Jesus. No gospel writer is more concerned with the role of the Spirit in the life of Jesus and the Christian disciple and the importance of prayer.

This new liturgical year of 2022 will see the end of the year of Saint Joseph (December 8, 2021);  the continuance of the year of the Eucharist and a closing Eucharistic Congress (June 18, 2022); and Saint Joseph Church one hundred sixtieth anniversary (160th - November 9).  As a parish we shall acknowledge and significantly celebrate these three particular dates in light of the gospel of Luke. We will review the history and collective mission of our parish and our individual call to discipleship.

With the exception of a few weeks these past two years and the exception of a few years this past 1.5 centuries our church has been accessible many hours a day 7 days a week to you and any passerby folk. This simple act is the most commented of all we do! People truly appreciate our welcoming them to a moment of quiet, reflection and prayer in the presence of our Lord in the Eucharist.

For those families in sacramental preparation & all of us in ongoing faith formation we shall have a word of the month! This month of November the word is Eucharist. Eucharist, what we do and what we receive every Sunday, simply stated means Thanksgiving. Eucharist is an early church Greek word meaning an act of Thanksgiving.
(FYI December word of the month - Incarnation!)

November is the month of our national day of Thanksgiving
For us here at St Joseph’s as we conservatively and safely continue to rebound in ministry and parish life we are grateful and give thanks for each and all. We are appreciative of each and all who have prayerfully, spiritually and financially supported our mission and discipleship these past two pandemic years and these past 160 years of our history and mission.

November is also the month of remembrance of our beloved deceased.
Throughout this Covid19 pandemic we continue to pray for those who have assisted in meeting our needs from super markets to surgery rooms. Acknowledging over 750,000 COVID deaths in the U.S., and over 5 million deaths world wide, we should also remember all who grieve and those of the end of the frontline - funeral directors & their employees. We prayerfully remember those who have gone before us in faith.

These upcoming  Sundays of Advent beginning our  liturgical year & our scriptures connect closely with the realities of today as well as throughout salvation history. In his life on earth, our Lord lived in the human condition. He understands the struggles of our lives, and we can approach him, knowing that Jesus understands human life. These  apocalyptic themed scriptures speak to us of salvation history and the end times.

As our Autumn to Winter seasons change let us take note of our scriptural and liturgical seasonal changing too. Our weekly/Sunday biblical readings remind us, ground and guide us that as Christ’s followers we are called to discipleship-relationship and servanthood. “Love God and love your neighbor” captures the essence of Jesus’ message.

November is also our church dedication and parish anniversary. November 9, 1862, St Joseph church was consecrated. Next year, 2022, we celebrate 160 years as disciples in mission.

we have much to be thankful for;

we continue the mission as entered into November 9, 1862
In fact our very Outreach efforts are referred to as Indeed!
Neighbors In Need- Neighbors In Deed (NINNID) is our Capernuum Outreach Program which responds to our neighbors and those who struggle with and without  the very basics of needs: health, food, shelter and expenses.

Thank you one and all who have since 1862 and who today continue to sustain St Joseph’s Parish and mission especially throughout these fragile and challenging times of COVID 19 pandemic.

Through your generosity and efforts in discipleship these week before and of Thanksgiving we have distributed over 25 turkeys and the supplies for the meals. Your goodness provides our local food pantry and Catholic Charities with hundreds of pounds of food and household supplies. You assist every first Monday of the month with the MND-Monday night dinner of OASIS. OASIS is a multiple decade long local interfaith provision of a meal everyday of every week throughout the year.

And now our Advent Giving Tree is another tradition and opportunity to assist and support our brothers and sisters this December.

Fr Joe