Dear Parish Family:
There may be too much to say in this letter with Thanksgiving just over, the First Sunday of Advent is upon us and the start of Forty Hours of Eucharistic Devotion. I have been happy to share this bulletin space with our other clergy and staff, who are working hard for the Kingdom of God. We are blessed to have all of them! They want to share with you what is going on from their view of parish life. I think they have been doing that well. This makes our parish life so much richer; having all the gifts and talents of so many people working to advance the mission of Jesus right here in Flemington.
What we are about to celebrate this coming week is the uniting glue of everything we do at St. Magdalen's: We will gather around our Eucharistic Lord and give Him honor, praise and worship. Every activity in our parish comes to a halt in order to provide some intentional time of reflection, prayer, praise and worship of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. The more I live my life as a priest and as a man who has decided to follow Christ, the more I realize how important sincere, sustained and open prayer before the Lord really is. Unless I am having a regular conversation with Christ and being united with Him in Holy Communion and going to regular confession, I find my energy waning for all the right things. I too, get distracted by so many demands on my time, deadlines, expectations, and over commitments. When I bring my heart to Him, I find the real reason for my life.
This is what we hope to do during 40 hours of Devotion to the Eucharist. Beginning this Sunday afternoon after the 1:30 pm Mass, our Church will be a place of perpetual welcome and prayer for the next 40 hours. We will honor the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist through exposing Him in the monstrance on the altar. If you have never attended these days of prayer, or are unsure or unfamiliar with this type of devotion and worship, please come. Now is the perfect time to surrender more of your heart to Him. You will learn by being present and there will be prayer guides to help. Christ left us His very presence in the Sacrament of the Altar. Spending time with Him may seem unproductive, but it is really fuel for our soul to engage our lives more realistically with an eye to what is ultimate, to shift to what truly matters.
Each evening we will celebrate Vespers together, 7:00 pm on Sunday and 7:30 pm on Monday and Tuesday. This year I am happy to welcome Father Denis Carbonaro as our preacher for these days. He was one of my Seminary formation faculty years ago at St. Charles Borromeo, the Philadelphia seminary where I studied for the priesthood. He is a gifted speaker who loves the Lord and the priesthood and will have much to share with us. Please make every effort to set time aside to join us for these times of communal prayer and preaching.
As we approach the season of Advent, we long with the whole Church for Christ to come again. We need Him to come into so many parts of our heart that is not yet converted. We all need a fresh start, we need hope, we need light, we need peace, we need Him.
and Prayers in Mary's Advent Heart,