Homes for Christmas
I am excited to share with you, plans for our Advent 2017 Parish Family Project, “Homes for Christmas”.
The project has a two-pronged approach, with the ultimate goal of raising $6,000 to build a concrete block home for a needy family in Haiti. The first “prong”, if you will, is physically raising the actual cash for the home; the second, equally important prong, is for us to prepare within ourselves, via acts of charity, a spiritual home for the birth of Jesus.
The icon for the project will be the empty crèche, or stable, that will be placed at the front corner of our sanctuary, and an empty manger, which will be placed in front of our Advent wreath. The crèche will serve as a reminder that the Holy Family, like so may others in the world, was homeless and without adequate shelter, and therefore accepted the offer of the crèche from the innkeeper.
The manger serves to remind us that the baby Jesus was comforted by the straw that was placed in the manger. Our “Good Deed Straw” represents that the good deed you did, made life more comfortable for the person you helped and symbolically will help provide the same comfort for a needy Haitian family.
Here’s how the “Homes for Christmas” project will work:
- beginning on the First Sunday in Advent (December 3) our bulletin will contain an insight into the meaning of the candle to be lit on our wreath in the church and at home that week. It will also provide a selection of scripture, which you can read and reflect upon, or perhaps use as the prayer when you light your Advent candles at home each week.
- also on the First Sunday in Advent, a suggestion for a collection box to be used at home will be listed in the bulletin. The box can be used at home from the First Sunday in Advent through the Feast of the Epiphany (January 7, 2018.
- each Sunday in Advent, you will find baskets containing strips of yellow and brown paper at all the doors of the church. As you leave Mass, we ask you to take home a few of these strips and during the week, write down each Spiritual or Corporal Work of Mercy (Love) that you perform. When you return to Mass the following week, we ask that you place your “Good Deed Straw” into the manger, preparing a comfortable bed for the baby Jesus. Our hope is that you will take strips each week and repeat the process until the end of Advent.
- on the Feast of the Epiphany, which commemorates the arrival of the Three Kings (Magi) in Bethlehem with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh for the baby Jesus, we ask that you deliver the money you collected during Advent and Christmas, and like the Magi, offer it to the baby Jesus; leaving it in the basket that will be placed by the crèche.
- on the following week, having counted your offerings, we will let everyone know if we as a parish family collected enough money for an entire house or part of it.