Happy Rejoice Sunday! In the days when Mass was celebrated in Latin, this Sunday was known as Gaudete (gow-DAY-tay) Sunday because the first word of the entrance antiphon (or hymn) was Gaudete, a word that means, to rejoice. Gaudete Sunday is a counterpart to Laetare Sunday (the Fifth Sunday of Lent) which provides a similar break about midway through the season, which is otherwise penitential in character and signifies the Lord’s coming. The spirit of the liturgy all through Advent is one of expectation and preparation for the feast of Christmas, as well as the Second Coming of Christ. The penitential exercises suitable to that spirit are “suspended,” if you will, in order to symbolize the joy and gladness in our promised redemption. As the rose candle is lit, the priest has the option to wear a matching rose-colored vestment rather than the usual more somber colored violet. Its lighter hue represents the morning sun on the horizon, dispelling the darkness of night. Flowers may also adorn the sanctuary.
Since the season began, there have been many questions posed by both staff and parishioners as to which direction the Advent wreath is properly lit: clockwise or counterclockwise? The simple answer is: providing the rose candle is lit on the Third Sunday, it does not much matter which direction. However, in doing a bit of research, I came to find an “unofficial-official” Catholic manner in which the wreath is lit, is as follows: the four candles are arranged in such a way that the top and bottom candles are both violet, the candle to the left is the rose candle, and the final violet candle is placed to the right. They are then lit in the same way the Sign of the Cross is made: Week 1 (top); Week 2 (bottom); Week 3 (left); and Week 4 (right). Good enough for me!
Many Catholics are surprised to learn the Advent wreath traditionally began as a Lutheran practice. Roman Catholics in Germany began to adopt the custom in the 1920s, and by the 1930s, it began to spread to North America. As a wreath, its circular shape has come to represent God’s infinite love. Its evergreen leaves represent the hope of eternal life brought by Jesus Christ. Sometimes the wreath is situated with a fifth white candle in the center, referred to as the “Christ candle.” Often, it is lit on Christmas Eve and Day, as well as throughout the Octave of Christmas (the eight days following Christmas). The candle is white, as it is the liturgical color prescribed throughout the Christmas season.
SOCIAL JUSTICE COLLECTION – This weekend, ushers will be in the narthex to accept your donations to the Social Justice Fund.
VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED to help decorate the church for the Christmas Season! All are welcome! Please meet in the Narthex on Monday, December 23rd at 4:00 p.m.
CHRISTMAS PROJECT GRATITUDE – Our basket delivery is complete! A great big thank you for helping us to surpass our monetary goal, for providing gift cards and gift basket items, for creating greeting cards, and for assembling, wrapping and delivering baskets and poinsettias to our parishioners and neighbors. Our parish community is blessed with immense generosity.
ADORATION REMINDERS – Adoration is cancelled on Monday, December 23rd as the church is being decorated for Christmas. We will have adoration on Monday, December 30th. Anyone is welcome to pray before the Blessed Sacrament between 1-9 p.m. every Monday in the chapel.
JUST 4 FUN COMMITTEE – Parishioners of St Noel, along with their families and friends, are invited to join us on Friday, December 20th at 6:45 p.m. for our Christmas Movie Night! All are invited to watch the movie ELF (rated PG) which will be projected on the big screen in the Banquet Center’s Large Hall beginning at 7:00 p.m. (run time 1 hr. 37 min.) Seating will be set up theatre style. Cookies and Hot Chocolate will be served! Wear your “Ugly Christmas Sweater” and join in on the fun! Hope to see you all there!
FREE FRESH PRODUCE – Our next senior market is scheduled for Monday, December 16th from 2-4 p.m. in the Banquet Center. Please spread the word. Our November market served 153 people.
LEAF – Our next LEAF meeting is Monday, December 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the Nativity Room. If you have a loved one who is incarcerated, consider attending LEAF (Listening, Empowering, Assisting Families). LEAF is a non-denominational ministry where relatives and friends of those incarcerated can join with others in conversation and fellowship. Meetings are anonymous and registration is not required. Visit www.leafministry.org or call the St. Noel parish office at 440-946-0887 for more information.
PRIME TIME – Calling all high school students! We will meet in the Teen Center on Sunday December 22nd from 10:15 to 11:00 a.m. between Masses. We will celebrate Christmas and have a cookie exchange, so bring a small plate of your favorite cookies.
SOCIAL JUSTICE FUND 2019 – The Social Justice Fund supports a number of ministries including the Food Pantry, AERC, Buy Once, Give Twice Fair-Trade Sale, CEPROSI, St. Augustine Meal, and the Neighbor to Neighbor Meal (in partnership with the Endowment Fund). In addition, the Social Justice Fund provides financial assistance for families in need within our Willoughby Hills community, in the wider community through the Lake County Community Network and other Catholic parishes, as well as nationally and internationally through Catholic Charities, USA and Catholic Relief Services. To date in 2019, the Social Justice Fund has contributed $29,515.64 to assist our brothers & sisters in need. Thank you for your support of the Social Justice Fund!
JAIL MINISTERS NEEDED – St. Noel is part of a 5-parish team that leads Sunday night communion services in the Lake County jail. We are in need of additional ministers for 2020. We always serve in pairs and training is provided. Please consider God’s call to this important ministry and contact Anthony if interested (440-946-1128).
FOOD PANTRY NEEDS – So far in 2019, the pantry has served 1566 people with the equivalent of 14,097 meals. Special thanks to Impact Nutrition of Willoughby Hills for recent donations to the pantry. Thanks, also, to all who donated egg cartons; we have enough now and are no longer accepting egg cartons. Thanks to all who support the pantry!!
CEPROSI ITEMS – We have a few items left for purchase from our Nicaraguan partners. See the table in the narthex. Thanks for your support of CEPROSI.
- NOEL CONCERT SERIES– Offer yourself and your loved ones a gift of music during this Advent- Christmas season. The last concert for December will be this Sunday, December 15th.
- Sunday, December 15th at 5:00 p.m.- CityMusic Cleveland (Freewill offering) Fire and Ice CONDUCTOR:Stefan Willich SOLOISTS, TBA, PROGRAM: Giaocchino Rossini – Overture to CinderellaJoseph Suk – Meditation on the old Czech chorale “St. Wenceslas” Franz Joseph Haydn -Symphony No.59 (“Fire”),Arcangelo Corelli – Christmas Concerto, Op.6, no.8, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – German Dances, K.605 (“Sleigh Ride”),Engelbert Humperdinck – Knusperwaltzer (Gingerbread Waltz), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – Prayer from Suite No. 4 (“Mozartiana”),Manuel de Falla El Amor Brujo – Ritual Fire Dance.
MARY’S HANDS PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY – now has a sufficient number of Prayer Shawls (blankets and mini-prayer squares too) for anyone in your life who is in need of spiritual healing of mind, body, or spirit. There is no cost for these items. You can obtain a Prayer Shawl, blanket, or prayer-square from the parish office during office hours. Simply fill out a request form, select your item, and the prayer team will continue to pray for the recipient at each of their gatherings. Prayer Shawls are a beautiful way to surround those in need with God’s healing love and the loving presence of our parish community. We thank the anonymous donor for “Our Lady of Fatima” relic medals. The medals are attached to the mini-pocket prayer squares. Upcoming meeting dates are Tuesday, Jan. 7th from 11a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 25th from 9:30-11:00 a.m. in the Resurrection Room. Donations are always appreciated. For more information, please contact Joyce Puin 440-473-1238, Nikki Rini 440-823-0413, or Candice Minello 440-336-0991.
HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE – needs volunteers to serve coffee and doughnuts on Saturday at the 5:00 p.m. Mass. The commitment is for once a month beginning in January 2020. Anyone interested in helping, please call Betty Louis (440) 942-4009 or the St. Noel Office at (440) 946-0887.
ST AUGUSTINE CALENDARS are now available in the parish office. Your $25.00 donation for each calendar gives you the opportunity to win throughout the calendar year and support a worthwhile cause.
Please complete the numbered card insert and mail to the St Augustine Hunger Center, 2846 West 14th Street, Cleveland, OH 44113. Checks are payable to St. Augustine. Winners will be mailed a check on Wednesday of each week.
BLOOD DRIVE – Volunteers are needed for the next blood drive on December 29th. Signup on the kiosk. Donors can schedule their appointments online at redcross.org.