Advent at Holy Cross: Add these parish activities to your calendar

A time to pray for our nation, to discern God’s will, to celebrate with our children

As we wrap up a long weekend of turkey supreme meals and get a jump-start on holiday shopping, we are all invited to take a breath, shift gears and direct our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time – and the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas.

There’s a lot going on at Holy Cross in this special season; activities for the family, for the individual, and for the greater community. All are invited to participate in the following opportunities to grow in faith, and to invite others who may be interested in doing the same.

Content quick links: Advent Calendar | Advent Wreath | Giving Tuesday | Prayer Service for Healing of our Nation | Immaculate Conception | Presentation: Discerning God's Will in Our Lives | Children's Christmas Play | Christmas/New Years Mass Schedule | Year of Spirituality Book Reading Groups Launch

November 26-27 | First Sunday of Advent

Blessing the Advent Wreath and Lighting the First Candle

At Masses this weekend, we are blessing our parish’s Advent wreath and lighting the first of its four candles. One purple candle will be lit this weekend. Two purple candles will be lit next weekend, then a pink one will be added the third weekend. The final purple one will be added on the fourth weekend of Advent. These actions help to bring our faith family together in a special way, with thoughts and prayer that remind us of the true meaning of this Christmas season.

Households can do the same, reinforcing the message with prayers available on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website. A small supply of fliers with Advent wreath prayers is available on the information table in the gathering space. The USCCB site also provides a downloadable Advent Calendar for households to use, with a reflection or activity for each day of the Advent season

Don’t have an Advent wreath? Just use any four candle holders, with one pink and three purple candles (or all white candles) arranged at the center of your dining table. Bless your ‘Advent wreath,’ then light that week’s candle while offering a prayer before beginning your meal. Follow the same pattern as used in the weekend liturgy: one purple candle the first week; two, the second; add the pink candle on the third, and then the last purple candle on the fourth week. If your household schedule is hectic, aim to light your Advent wreath at least once during the week. It’s a good way to slow down and focus a little more on Christ in the midst of your holiday preparations. 

November 29 | Giving Tuesday

This is a global day of giving fueled by social media and collaboration. Consider a gift to one of the special collections that support the Church’s works of social justice, evangelization, and education. Here at Holy Cross, that includes supporting the parish's Christmas outreach project which provides $25 gift cards for individual Catholic Charities households. The gift cards provide funds that enable the families to purchase Christmas gifts and necessities for Christmas. You also may want to consider a gift toward the Kente Cloth Project; information is in the gathering space.

You may make your gift online on Giving Tuesday. Log into your Give Online account and select Give a New Gift, then select the category you wish to support. If you haven't set up your giving online account yet, you can do this easily at any time. You may, of course, offer your support through the weekly collection. When making a gift to a specific purpose, be sure to note that on your check or envelope when donating at church, or in the purpose line when making a one-time donation online. 

If you haven’t completed your recommitment card in support of Holy Cross, consider signing up on this day, or updating your Holy Cross online giving account. Commitment cards are available on the information table in the gathering space at church.

Wednesday, December 7 | Prayer Service for our Nation

Join us at 7:00 p.m. for this prayer service for our nation, that all division might cease and all citizens might join together on a mission of peace and love. This event is open all who would like to join in prayer and reflection at this time. The prayer service will be held in the sanctuary of the church, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with prayers, reflection, and hymns led by the Holy Cross Gospel Choir.

Thursday, December 8 | Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

(Holy Day of Obligation).

Mass times for this Holy Day of Obligation: 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (No 12:15 p.m. Mass) Read about this special feast day

Saturday, Dec. 10, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. | Presentation on Discerning God’s Will in Our Everyday Lives

Special invitation to teens, young adults

Wondering what God's will is for you in your life? You're not alone. The parish's Spirituality Committee has arranged for a presentation on the topic, Discernment of God's Will in our Everyday Lives, by Br. Casey Cole, OFM, a student Franciscan Friar based at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham. He is author of the blog, Breaking in The Habit, and produces videos posted to his YouTube channel by the same name. This session is open to all, with a special invitation to teens and young adults, or anyone discerning God's will in their lives. This program is hosted by the Holy Cross Spirituality Committee as one of our Year of Franciscan Spirituality programs.

Sunday, December 11, 1:30-4:30 p.m.| Children’s Christmas Play followed by Christmas Party

Play being presented by our faith formation youth; party is being hosted by the KCs

The kids have been working hard to prepare; come out to enjoy their presentation.

Saturday, December 24 | Christmas Eve Masses

  • 5:00 p.m., Children’s Liturgy/Family Mass
  • 12:00 p.m., Midnight Mass. Come at 11:45 p.m. to join in the caroling before Mass

Sunday, December. 25 | Christmas Day Mass

10:00 a.m.

Saturday/Sunday, December 31, January 1 | New Year's Eve/Day Masses

Regular schedule: 5:00 p.m. Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Sunday

Monday, January 9 | 6:30-8:30 PM | Holy Cross Year of Franciscan Spirituality

Reading & Discussion Groups

We will be reading, "Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go," by Richard Rohr, a Franciscan, a prolific writer, and the director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.M.

This revised and updated edition of one of Fr. Rohr’s bestselling books explores St. Francis’s ancient call to the simple life, where joy, not dry theology, helps us build relationships and find peace in ourselves. Need a preview? Read an excerpt. Invite friends who may be interested in this shared learning and spiritual growth experience. The book is available in Kindle and print, online at Amazon and other booksellers. Add the book to your Christmas wish list, then make a New Year’s pledge to participate in a discussion group. Sign up for reminders and other details

Tags: Prayer service for healing our nation, Franciscan Year of Spirituality Reading Groups, Simplicity The Freedom of Letting Go, Richard Rohr's book, KCs, Children's Christmas Party, Children's Christmas Play, Advent wreath

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