Over the years the practice of celebrating the Sacrament of Penance has changed greatly. In the early church the sacrament could only be received once after baptism. Moreover, it was a public sacrament in which penitents would confess their sins in front of the whole community. The sacrament was reserved only for the most serious sins, such as adultery and murder.
Through the centuries it became more common for the sacrament to be celebrated only between a penitent and a confessor, and lesser sins were included in the confession. Far from being celebrated only once, it became the custom to use the sacrament regularly, even weekly. With this varied history it is no wonder that many misconceptions concerning the sacrament exist.
Allow me to clarify one of them. Although Catholics may use the sacrament whenever they have sinned, they are only required to use the sacrament in situations where there is serious sin. Since many of us are able by God’s grace to avoid serious sin, it is possible for a Catholic to go for years without receiving the sacrament and still fully participate in the life of the church.
Even though we are required to use the sacrament only in these specific situations, there is still an advantage to receiving the Sacrament of Penance in connection with major events in one’s life or at certain times of our liturgical year. In this way, lesser faults of our lives can be lifted up to God for forgiveness and healing. One such opportunity is the season of Advent. As we prepare to celebrate the gift of Christ at Christmas it is fitting for us to examine our lives and ask God’s forgiveness for the ways we have been deficient as disciples. It is particularly appropriate to celebrate the sacrament in a communal setting in which we acknowledge our common need for forgiveness and renewal.
We will have an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance in this way on this Wednesday, December 17th at 7:00 p.m.
As you prepare for the feast of Christmas, please consider whether it is a time for you to enrich your celebration through the Sacrament of Penance this week. Your presence will not only be for your benefit but also will support other members of our community who are seeking God’s forgiveness.
BULLETIN ARTICLES – Due to the holiday printing schedule, all articles for the December 27th-28th bulletin and January monthly calendar events must be in the office by Tuesday, December 16th. Articles for January 3rd-4th bulletin must be in the office by Monday, December 22nd.
VOLUNTEERS FOR CHRISTMAS DECORATING – We will be decorating the Church for Christmas on Sunday, December 21st immediately following the 11:00 a.m. Mass. If you would like to help decorate, please call the parish office at 440-946-0887.
LITURGICAL MINISTERS – Sign-ups for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are on the bulletin board in the coatroom area. We only have a little over a week until Christmas, so please sign up if you will be attending any of the liturgies.
PRAYER LIST UPDATING – As you may be aware, our prayer list in the bulletin has grown quite long and has not been updated in some time. We are asking you to contact us should you want your name or the name of a loved one to remain on the list after the weekend of December 27th and 28th when we will begin a new list. Thank you to all who faithfully pray for those who are ill in our community. Your ministry is invaluable!
CHRISTMAS PROJECT – Thank you to all who were involved in the Christmas Project! As a result of your generosity we raised over $7,000 and were able to provide holiday baskets, gift cards and homemade cookies to 121 families! We also delivered fruit, poinsettias and handmade cards to our home bound parishioners. This project was such a success because of your active participation and enthusiasm.
CALLL – There is NO CALLL session this Wednesday, December 17th. Families are invited to the Parish Communal Penance Service at 7:00 p.m. in Church.
CONFIRMATION – We are updating our Confirmation list. If you are going into 10th grade or older and have not received the sacrament of Confirmation and wish to do so in the upcoming year, please contact Erica Zalar in the parish office.
CAREGIVER SUPPORT GROUP – Serving as a caregiver is a tremendous joy and commitment. The next gathering of the Caregiver’s Support Group is scheduled for Tuesday, December 16th at 1:00 p.m. in the Resurrection Room. If you are a caregiver and looking to find support from people who understand all that comes with your commitment, please consider joining us on December 16th.
RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE – Our next blood drive is scheduled for Sunday, December 21st, from 9-1 p.m. You can register online at: www.redcrossblood.org or use the sign up on the kiosk. Thanks to Janice Cackowski for coordinating this drive! If you would like to help on the day, please call Anthony at the parish (946-1128 x22).
REACH OUT DURING THE HOLIDAYS – many of our parishioners could benefit from a card or phone call during the holidays. Would you like to make a contact and brighten someone’s day? Please contact Anthony at the Church (440-946-1128 x22) to learn how.
ADVENT REFLECTION BOOKLETS – Copies of The Word Among Us are available for your Advent prayer. You can find these booklets on the table in the narthex.
MUSIC MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH – YOUNG VOICES – is a singing group for children in grades 3-8 that meets every Tuesday from 5:45-6:30 p.m. in the church. YOUTH BELL CHOIR meets every Wednesday from 4:45-5:45 p.m. in the Lower Level. HIGH SCHOOL ENSEMBLE is a new group for students in grades 9-12. Rehearsals will be at the church on selected Sundays at 5:45-6:45 p.m. All these groups are accepting new members. Please join us. For more information, contact Agnieszka Bieniek at [email protected] or 440-946-0887.
JANUARY 2015 HOSPITALITY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! – The Hospitality Committee needs more volunteers to serve coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts at the 11:00 Mass. The commitment is for once every four or five weeks beginning in January Please call Betty Louis at 440-942-4009 or the parish office at 440-946-0887 if you are interested in serving.
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.
NOEL FELLOWSHIP – Meetings are held on Thursdays at 12:00 Noon in the St. Noel Banquet Center Small Hall. Activities are: On December 18th at 12:00 p.m. socializing, meeting; 12:30 p.m. luncheon, menu: roast strip loin of beef, red potatoes, mixed vegetables, tossed salad, rolls & butter, cheesecake with topping.For tickets call Theresa Durik at 440-585-9088. Cost is $13.00. Deadline for tickets and payment is December 15th. Birthdays and anniversaries will be celebrated on December 18th. Bring something for the Food Pantry and get a 50/50 ticket. December 25th, NO MEETING. Next meeting January 8, 2015. Everyone is welcome.
ATTENTION RETIRED MEN AND WOMEN – Would you like to be of service to your parish? Are you available mornings to be an usher-server for funerals at St. Noel? You would be called on a rotating basis and need serve only at your convenience, approximately once a month. For more information call Ray Kiraly at 440-942-3553.
BIBLE CLASS – The Bible Class that is held on Tuesdays from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. in the Visitation Room will break for the holiday season and resume on Tuesday, January 6, 2015.
DIVORCED OR SEPARATED? STRUGGLING WITH THE HOLIDAYS? Join us for this special program intended to offer practical advice, support, and the skills to move forward. We will meet Thursday evenings from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., on December 18th and January 8th at St. John Vianney Church, 7575 Bellflower Rd., Mentor. To register or for more information: call Karen at 440-352-8282 or email: [email protected].
WE WAIT IN JOYFUL HOPE: POEMS OF ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS – On December 16th, gather to explore and celebrate the sacred spaces of Advent and Christmas, we go within with poets as our guide, facilitated by Kim Langley, M.Ed. The process includes prayer, lectio divina with the poems, and take-home packet of poetic “gems” to carry with you through Advent and Christmas. Time is 6:45-8:30 p.m. Cost is $15. To register contact Jesuit Retreat House 440-884-9300 or visit www.jrh-cleveland.org.
CALIX AA MEN’S RETREAT: A PEOPLE WHO LIVED IN DARKNESS HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT – On December 19-21, the Christmas theme will be the Spiritual Awakening of Step 12, granting Vision and a New Life where there was only darkness and despair of alcoholism, facilitated by Francis X. Cook. Cost is $155, and includes full room and board, retreat leadership, and materials. To register contact Jesuit Retreat House 440-884-9300 or visit www.jrh-cleveland.org.
RETROUVAILLE – 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 pressures that you have neglected your spouse? Retrouvaille can help you put your troubled marriage back on track. The next Cleveland Retrouvaille weekend will be held on January 9-11, 2015. A registration fee of $150 is required to confirm your reservation. For more information, or to register, please call Diane or Al Miskinis in complete confidence at 330-665-3506 or 1-800-470-2230, or register online at www.helpourmarriage.org.
OUR LADY OF MT. CARMEL CONTEMPORARY CHOIR’S CHRISTMAS CONCERT- is Saturday, December 20th at 7:00 p.m. in Church, 29850 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe. Enjoy an hour of both traditional and current Christmas song collections. This concert benefits the St. Vincent de Paul Society to help all Wickliffe residents in need throughout the year. A goodwill donation of non-perishable items or cash will be appreciated. All are welcome!
SAINT JOSEPH ACADEMY CHRISTMAS CONCERT – will be held on Thursday, December 18th at 7:00 p.m. in the school’s auditorium. For more information on this free concert, contact SJA Music Teacher Kathleen Cooper at [email protected]. SJA is located at 3470 Rocky River Dr., Cleveland.
JOHN VIANNEY CHURCH – is proud to present its Thirteenth Annual “Choral Sounds of Christmas” Concert on Sunday, December 14th at 3:30 p.m. in the Church. The concert features the Adult Choir, Children’s Choir, and Bell Choir. Admission is free to the public, but donations would be greatly appreciated. All funds are used to support St. John Vianney’s Choral Music Program. Any questions, call Marge Beatty at 440-257-8888.
FLOCK OF FRIENDSHIP – (Singles 40 and over) Friday, December 19th at 7:00 p.m., join us for our monthly game night at St. Paschal’s Life Center. This is one of our best attended events and is good for old and new members. Please bring a snack to share, money for pizza, and your favorite game. Please let Jim know you are coming at 440-944-1552.