1401 Valley Ave, Sumner, WA 98390
Phone: 253-863-2253 Fax: 253-863-3567
Our mission at St. Andrew Catholic Church is to become saints.
Following the example of our patron, St. Andrew, with humility we seek to:
Hear God’s call through the truth of the Catholic Church
Respond in love with acts of charity and mercy
Grow continuously through the sacraments and daily prayer and
Proclaim the Good News through our vocation.
This Sunday we begin a new year, liturgically that is. We begin anew our journey through the life of Christ as, with longing, we await His birth. Each of us has different traditions for this time of year, yet sadly the season has been commercialized so much that we start Christmas celebrations immediately following Thanksgiving. Slow down. Think about how this season of waiting can be highlighted in your life, in your family. I remember the Advent calendar that we used to have as we prepared as children. I would anticipate the ritual of taking out the little plastic piece of the nativity each day until that great day when finally we would take out the little manger and the baby Jesus.
Our bishops saw this happening nearly fifty years ago and commented:
Changing customs, especially in connection with preparation for Christmas, have diminished popular appreciation of the Advent season. Something of a holiday mood of Christmas appears now to be anticipated in the days of the Advent season. As a result, this season has unfortunately lost in great measure the role of penitential preparation for Christmas that it once had.
Zealous Christians have striven to keep alive or to restore the spirit of Advent by resisting the trend away from the disciplines and austerities that once characterized the season among us. Perhaps their devout purpose will be better accomplished, and the point of Advent will be better fostered if we rely on the liturgical renewal and the new emphasis on the liturgy to restore its deeper understanding as a season of effective preparation for the mystery of the Nativity.
For these reasons, we, the shepherds of souls of this conference, call upon Catholics to make the Advent season, beginning with 1966, a time of meditation on the lessons taught by the liturgy and of increased participation in the liturgical rites by which the Advent mysteries are exemplified and their sanctifying effect is accomplished.
If in all Christian homes, churches, schools, retreats and other religious houses, liturgical observances are practiced with fresh fervor and fidelity to the penitential spirit of the liturgy, then Advent will again come into its own. Its spiritual purpose will again be clearly perceived.
A rich literature concerning family and community liturgical observances appropriate to Advent has fortunately developed in recent years. We urge instruction based upon it, counting on the liturgical renewal of ourselves and our people to provide for our spiritual obligations with respect to this season.
Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence excerpted from Pastoral Letters of the United States Catholic Bishops
There are many ways we can reclaim this season and I leave it to you to find the way. There are many resources out there for you as you seek to make this season holy. The most important part of this season is the anticipation of the birth of Christ. We are so accustomed to instant gratification and waiting is laborious to many, yet it helps us to focus on that which we want and that which is most important. Perhaps a time of fasting from all the things that distract us from what is most important, our relationship with God and with each other, might be in order. Get rid of that which is taking you away from what is most important. Fast from the distractions (TV, internet, facebook, etc.) and focus on your relationship with Christ. The best way to do this is daily contact with Him in the scriptures and the Church gives us rich scriptures in the readings for the Mass, on Sundays and during the week. Walk with your mother the Church in this season and she will help you to anticipate with joy the coming of our savior. If you can, come to daily Mass. Let the Lord draw you into the mystery of the season.
Come Lord Jesus!
Fr. Jack D. Shrum
For more of Father Jack's reflections click here