All of you know that Christmas is December 25th and can fall on any day of the week. When Christmas falls on Sunday, as it does this year, there are a number of advantages. We have the maximum time of Advent in which we can prepare for Jesus’ birth. We on the staff face the most simple Christmas schedule. We avoid configurations such as next year when Christmas falls on a Monday making the fourth Sunday of Advent Christmas Eve. With this schedule multiple Liturgical celebrations fall on the same day.
Christmas on Sunday is for many ideal. The only group in our parish who does not enjoy Christmas on a Sunday is our Finance Committee. Usually in December we have 5 collections: one on each of the four Sundays of the month and then Christmas Day. This year with Christmas on a Sunday we will have only four. That is a significant challenge to our budget.
As pastor, I am suggesting a way to address this challenge. I do not need to worry about the people who only worship with us on Christmas. They will contribute as they usually do. But I am asking you who are reading this bulletin to help. When you make your Christmas donation, could you include something extra for the Sunday in December we are missing this year? It will help us maintain the ministries and necessary upkeep of our parish.
Let me also remind you of our Christmas schedule. This Saturday is Christmas Eve. Masses will be at 4:30, 6:30 p.m. and Midnight. There will be one Mass on Christmas Day at 11:00 a.m.
With the additional seats we will add to the church, we are able to seat 800 people. Each year at the 4:30 p.m. liturgy, we have about 900 people present. So you will clearly need to arrive early if you desire to be seated. At all the remaining Masses attendance runs between 400-500 so you will not have a problem finding a seat. But I invite you to come early so that you can enjoy the Christmas music provided by our Music Ministry which will begin 20 minutes before each Mass. Be sure to welcome the many guests who will join us for the Christmas liturgies.
Finally allow me to thank all of our parishioners for all they do for our community. God’s Blessings as we celebrate our Savior’s Birth.
AUGUSTINE RAFFLE CALENDARS – are being sold to support the Hunger Center. They are $25 each and offer 365 chances to win throughout the year. They make good Christmas gifts. Calendars will be available after Masses this weekend in the Narthex.
UPCOMING BLOOD DRIVE – Our blood drive is scheduled for this Sunday, December 18th from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. in the Banquet Center. Walk-ins are welcome.
PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL – Parishioners who have been recommended to serve on the Parish Pastoral Council should have received response forms in the mail this week. Please return these forms by December 31st. Yellow information sheets to assist in your decision can be found in the kiosk.
COLLECTION ENVELOPES – You can pick up your box of envelopes today after Mass. For those who participate in the Catholic Education Fund, please stop by the parish office to pick up your envelopes.
EUCHARISTIC ADORATION – There will be no Eucharistic Adoration on Monday, December 26th.
SOCIAL JUSTICE/ST. AUGUSTINE – Our volunteers will not be serving a meal at the St. Augustine Hunger Center next weekend.
BULLETIN ARTICLES – Due to the holiday printing schedule, articles for the December 31st-January 1st bulletin must be in the office by Monday, December 19th.
LITURGICAL MINISTERS – Sign-up sheets for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are on the bulletin board by the coatroom. Please sign up if you are able to minister.
PARISH PICTURE DIRECTORY – The final version of the directory has been delayed and will not be available until after the first of the year. Questions can be directed to Anthony at 440-946-1128 x 122.
CHRISTMAS DECORATING VOLUNTEERS – We will be decorating the church for Christmas this Thursday, December 22nd at 4:00 p.m. If you would like to help decorate, please call the parish office at 440-946-0887.
HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS – If you play an instrument or are willing to sing please consider joining our Music Ministry for Masses on Christmas Eve (4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m. or midnight) and/ or Christmas Day (11:00 a.m.). Our repertoire will include the Christmas carols only. It would be ideal if you could join us for rehearsals (Tuesday, December 20th and Thursday, December 22nd 7:00-9:00 p.m.). Other parishioners and their guests are also invited to join this short term musical project. If you are interested, please contact Agnieszka (Aga) Bieniek at [email protected] or 440-318-4680.
LEAF – If you have a loved one or family member who is incarcerated, consider attending LEAF (Listening, Empowering, Assisting Families) at St. Noel. Sessions take place on the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. The next meeting is this Monday, December 19th. 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.
ADVENT COLORING PRAYER – Do you want some time for quiet reflection in the week before Christmas? Do you like to color? Join us this Monday, December 19th from 7-8 pm in the Small Hall to color and pray. Materials will be provided, but if you have a favorite set of colored pencils you can bring them along. All ages are welcome. Contact Michele ([email protected] or 440-946-1128 x121) to reserve your space.
NOEL FOOD PANTRY – Now is the perfect time to support the pantry. Most needed items include: tuna fish, spaghetti sauce in jars, peanut butter, jelly, macaroni & cheese, toilet paper. Please pick up a blue grocery bag in the narthex, fill it with non-perishable food, and return it to St. Noel. Our pantry served 72 families during the month of November. Thanks to all who support the pantry. Remember, online donation is always available at https://stnoel.org/social-justice/.
BAGELS FOR THE PANTRY – Thanks to Carole, Ingrid, LouAnn, & Rich, we have begun to pick up bagels from Brueggers to distribute through our pantry and at the Neighbor to Neighbor Meal. Our parish always responds with generosity.
TECH TALK – Over the holidays, many people receive new electronics. Do you have a device such as a cell phone or iPad that you could use some basic help navigating? Parishioners of all ages are invited to take advantage of free tech support offered by the youth of our parish after all masses January 7th and 8th. Simply bring the device with you to Mass and stop in the Resurrection Room afterwards where our very own tech team will be ready to help! Contact Erica Zalar with questions.
PARISH DAYTIME RETREAT – will be on Wednesday, January 4th from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. “Following Your Star: Pay Attention to God’s Direction” will be facilitated by the Retreat Community. Sign up on the kiosk or call Fran at 440-625-1228. A suggested donation of $6.00. All are welcome!
NOEL FELLOWSHIP – Meetings are held on Thursdays at 12:00 Noon in the St. Noel Banquet Center Small Hall. Activities are: NO MEETING on December 22nd and 29th. On January 5th & 12th, Bingo. On January 19th, socializing meeting; 12:30 p.m., Luncheon; Cavatelli with meatballs, salad, bread sticks, and dessert. For tickets call Theresa Durik at 440-585-9088. Cost is $6.00. Deadline for tickets is January 16th. On January 26th, Bingo, Birthdays and Anniversaries. Bring something for the food pantry and receive a free 50/50 ticket. Everyone is welcome!
GIRLS’ BOOK CLUB – will meet again on Tuesday, January 24th at 6:30 p.m. The book we will be discussing is “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen. Copies of the book will be available to sign out in the parish office. Sign up on the table in the narthex. This event is open to all girls in grades 6-12.
LOOKING AHEAD TO LENT – The Jesuit Retreat House invites you to participate in “Embracing the Mystery,” a four-part series designed specifically for St. Noel Parish. The series will be held at St. Noel on Mondays, February 6, March 6 and April 3, from 6-9 p.m. and conclude with a retreat on Saturday, May 6 from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Cost for the series is $40, which includes Henry Nouwen’s book, “Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World.” Participants will explore landmarks on the spiritual journey, including suffering and death, grace and redemption, enhancing their Lenten and Easter experience. The series will be led by parishioner Emma Krueger, a certified spiritual director, graduate of the Ignatian Spirtuality Institute at John Carroll University, and certified leader of Contemplative Prayer and Retreat through the Shalem Insitute. You can find more information and a registration form on the kiosk in the Narthex or on the parish website (stnoel.org).
DIVORCED OR SEPARATED and struggling with the Holidays? It’s not too late to join us for our remaining three sessions! This special program is intended to offer practical advice, support, and the skills to move forward. We will meet Tuesday evenings from 7:00-9:00 p.m., on January 3rd and 10th, 2017, at St. Noel Church, 35200 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills. To register or for more info: call Karen @ 440-352-8282 or email: [email protected].
NEED THE PERFECT GIFT for your spouse this Christmas? Give your spouse the gift of your time and love by taking him/her on a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend in Hudson at the Clarion Inn and Conference Center on February 17-19, 2017. Applications and further information is available online: www.GreatMariagesOhio.org or call 330-305-9963.
RETROUVAILLE WEEKEND – Someone once said “marriages may be made in heaven, but they sure take a lot of work on earth.” Have you become so distracted by outside pressure that you neglect your spouse? The Retrouvaille program can help you put your troubled marriage back on track. This program is supported by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, but is open to couples of all faiths. The next Cleveland Retrouvaille weekend will be held on January 20-22th. A registration fee of $150 is required to confirm your reservation.
For more information concerning the program, or to register, please call Marce or Liz Gliha in complete confidence at 440-357-6580, or 1-800-470-2230. For additional information or to register online, please go to www.helpourmarriage.org.