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PLEASE PRAY FOR: Lorraine Penhos, Tony Perry, Gerrie Derr, Tess McCallen, Jackie Hoffman, Catherine Bell, Catherine DeBonis, Adrianne Ward, Frankie Frolick, Ford Bartle, Lillian Fabrey, Kim Anglin and Grover McKnight.
   





Fr. Tom Whitman
St. Joseph Pastor







  From the Pastor's Desk
2nd Sunday of Advent 

CATHOLIC ADVOCACY NETWORK OF PENNSYLVANIA
Some time ago I alerted you to the Catholic Advocacy Network sponsored by the Pennsylvania Conference of Catholic Bishops. I joined this some time ago and am very happy with the updates I receive about issues coming up for a vote in the Pennsylvania Legislature. I can send a message, often already pre-printed, to my representatives in Harrisburg to support legislation that has moral significance or can benefit the greatest number of people. You can sign up by going to www.pacatholic.org and click on the link for Catholic Advocacy Network. Once you sign up you will be sent updates on legislative issues and can voice your concerns to your representatives. Sometimes we wish we had a way to do more with the legislative issues of our day and now we do. If you are concerned about the social justice issues of our day, this is one way to become more involved in the solutions.

PARISH 2020 CALENDARS
Thanks to McGonigle Funeral Home for again sponsoring our parish calendars. Calendars are available at all the church exits.

COMING EVENTS
Christmas Masses: will be at 4:30pm and 9:00pm on Christmas Eve and at 9:30am on Christmas Day. (Please note there will not be a midnight Mass this year).
Comedy Night:
We will again host a comedy night on Friday, January 17, 2020 in the Guild Hall. The same company will provide new comedians with clean comedy. Dinner will be a part of the event. Mark your calendars. Tickets are available in the parish office, Fr. Tom, and after Masses this weekend and next weekend.

ADVENT PENANCE SERVICES
Please take advantage of the Penance Services that are offered. We have several priests hearing confessions in order to make things go quickly. Also remember that it is part of the Penance Service to be there at the start since that is when we do the act of contrition and examination of conscience. Some people come late and some of the priests have already left because there is no one in line and this drags the evening out longer. Please be considerate of others.

Good Shepherd, West Middlesex – December 10 at 6:30pm
St. Michael, Greenville – December 15 at 1:00pm
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mercer – December 15 at 4:00pm
Notre Dame, Hermitage – December 17 at 6:30pm
St. Joseph, Sharon – December 19 at 7:00pm
Beloved Disciple, Grove City – December 22 at 1:00pm

FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY
is traditionally December 8, but that falls on a Sunday this year. Thus, the feast is not a Holy Day. Mass on Monday, December 9 at 8:00am will celebrate the feast but there is no obligation to attend Mass that day.

CHRISTMAS COLLECTION
As we have done in the past, we will Tithe the Christmas Collection. We will send 10% of the Christmas collection to the Prince of Peace Center. In years past some anonymous donors have matched what we give to Prince of Peace, this year I already have one donor willing to match our tithe. If you would also like to match our parish tithe, please contact Fr. Tom. Last year we sent over $6,000 to the Prince of Peace center – a little over $2,000 from the parish tithe and two donors matched that tithe. It is a great way for us to support the great work that Prince of Peace is doing and to share in the real spirit of Christmas.

MONEY COUNTERS
We are in need a few more money counters to help count the collection. It could be once a month or twice a month depending on the group and the time they count. Please contact Fr. Tom if you are interested.

REFLECTION ON THE READINGS
The first readings during Advent keep reminding us of the vision of the kingdom we are hoping and longing for. This week Isaiah contrasts earthly kings and kings who follow the ways of God. The earthly kings judge by appearance and dominate the poor and afflicted. The king we are waiting for will be a king who will judge with justice for the poor and the afflicted. This new king will also transform traditional roles of predator and prey into a community of peace and love. Not only nature will be transformed but also people will be transformed in this way.

In the second reading Paul speaks about the harmony he is working for amongst Jews and Gentiles.

In the Gospel we hear about John the Baptist and how people are coming out to him to be baptized in order to turn their lives around. The Pharisees and Sadducees come out for the baptism but John questions their sincerity. He challenges them to show evidence of their desire to repent. He seems to be sure of the sincerity of the people who have already come to him. He also speaks about a baptism that Jesus will perform with the Holy Spirit and Fire. This will be the strength to persevere in the changes that we have made in our lives.

The readings invite us to look at our spiritual lives and see where we need to grow, where we need to deepen our relationship with Jesus. Once we identify where we need to change, then we need to make that change and be strengthened by the grace of God to make that change happen. Advent and Lent are two seasons where we provide multiple opportunities for the sacrament of reconciliation. This might be a good time to examine where we need to make that change and experience the forgiveness of God for past failures and be strengthened to move forward in a more positive direction.



   

Mass Schedule

Weekday and Holy Day schedules can be found in the bulletin.

Saturday: 5:15 pm (Vigil)

Sunday: 8:30 am and 11:00 am

Sacraments

Baptism: Baptisms are scheduled by appointment. Class is required for first time parents. Please call the church office to schedule your class. No baptisms during Lent and Advent.

Reconciliation: Saturday afternoons, 4:00-4:30 pm. Confessions at other times by appointment.

Matrimony: By appointment six months in advance.

Sacrament of Holy Orders: Some men fulfill God's call to holiness by serving as priests or permanent deacons. Men, high school age or older, who feel God may be calling them to pursue the Sacrament of Holy Orders should contact our parish priest.

Programs

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA): Please call the rectory office.

Prayer Line: For intentions, please call 724-981-3232.

Religious Education Program: CCD Grades K-11, at Case Avenue Elementary, Sundays 9:30 am -10:45 am (during the school year).

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