The Meaning of Advent - A Note from Fr. Bob
Advent: Because That’s Just Who We Are
Advent comes from the Latin word for “Coming” or “Arrival”. It’s obviously about the birth of Jesus, but it is also about the arrival of the Kingdom. The attributes we assign to Advent regarding the birth of Jesus: preparation, readiness, awareness, conversion; are also the same attributes assigned to us for the coming of the Kingdom of God.
The Gospel for the last Sunday of the Church year (Christ the King) gives us the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats. The “King” separates people as a Shepherd would separate sheep and goats. “Come, you who are Blessed by my Father. Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. The assumption is that the Kingdom is a reward for their behavior (not an inheritance at all). Here’s the thing, it’s not a reward. The “Sheep” have no idea what the King is referring to. The “Goats” respond that they would have acted differently if they had only known, or if they were told; “When didn’t we minister to you Lord?” “Just tell us the rules”. The “Sheep”, after their actions are commended, reply, “Oh that, it’s just what we do”. They’re not following rules, performing good works, they are just doing the right thing because that is who they are. They sincerely have no clue about the depth of their disposition to others, and THAT’S THE POINT. The Kingdom is a RELATIONSHIP made up of people who will instinctively, naturally and without thought or calculation, JUST TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER.
The Kingdom and the preparation of Advent, is not about being good, behaving properly, or following the rules; it’s about doing the right thing, because that is simply who we are. Advent is a time to help us become people who build the Kingdom by doing what comes naturally as people of Faith. If it’s simpler or easier to accept by just being told to feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned; of course that is exemplary, and you should do that (as the “Corporal Works of Mercy” are a wonderful guide). The call and challenge, however, is to DO all that, without even knowing you’re doing it, or, at the very least, have no idea why.
Advent is a time to cultivate an automatic, instinctive, and natural disposition to take care of those in need, not for credit or some type of reward, but because it is just what we do, because it’s just who we are.
The Birth of Jesus doesn’t make us good, it makes us Kingdom-People. The most successful Advent would be the one that ends with hearing God say, “You are Blessed because you have created the Kingdom by taking care of me”. And us responding, “Oh that, we didn’t even know that was you, that’s just who we are.” Happy Advent!
Call to Prayer Safety Issues
Mask It or Casket! A reminder about the importance of wearing a mask in church.
Please be advised that in accordance with CDC guidelines and our previously announced requirement that all who choose to attend Mass at St. James MUST wear either a mask or other face-covering that covers the mouth and nose is mandatory and no exceptions will be made.
Anyone observed not wearing a mask/face covering will be asked by an usher to either don a mask or immediately leave the church. Should that individual refuse to comply with the usher’s request, the ushers have been directed to interrupt the presider, who will publicly address the situation with the offender.
The wearing of face coverings has been shown to reduce transmission of droplets that may carry the coronavirus or other illnesses. As such, it is a simple and effective sign of courtesy and respect towards others in our midst.
Your cooperation is vital in order for us to continue to publicly celebrate Mass during the ongoing pandemic.
Ecumenical Corona Wedge Humor
The lockdown caused by the ongoing pandemic has affected the majority of houses of worship, regardless of their specific faith tradition. The struggle to provide safe ways to bring people back to church is universal and has resulted in some humorous approaches to the issue. Here's what one Episcopal priest has done to entice his parishioners back to church services: ( be sure to have your volume on!)
Sunday Mass has resumed at St. James
From the Pastor’s Desk
I am pleased to share with you the latest information from our diocese relative to the resumption of public worship in our churches. Our current schedule of public Mass is Saturday at 5pm, and on Sunday at 9:30am with the following restrictions:
- We are limited to 120 people at each Mass. All in attendance MUST wear a mask or face covering and all are required to practice the current CDC guidelines to maintain social distancing and remain 6 ft apart. You will find that certain pews have been roped off while others have been marked to indicate where you may be seated. In the interest of safety, please sit only in those pews that are open and appropriately marked.
- Entrance to the church will be only through the new sacristy entrance, where you will find ushers at the doors keeping count of people entering the church. While we prefer that you exit via the sacristy doors as well, the other doors may be utilized for this purpose.
- Please feel free to utilize the hand sanitizer stations located throughout the church.
- The 5pm Mass will be live streamed and taped for broadcast on our website and Facebook pages.
- Daily Mass will continue at 8am, Mon-Fri; no morning Mass on Saturday.
- The resumption of our regular Mass schedule will be revisited in the coming weeks as we continue to monitor not only Mass attendance, but the number of COVID cases in our area. The health and well being of our parishioners remains our top priority.
We have also been given the go-ahead to resume private baptisms (one family at a time), an adjustment to our previous practice of celebrating the sacrament with multiple families; if you are interested in scheduling a baptism, please call the office as soon as possible to discuss the schedule and available dates. Weddings and funerals will also resume, again following CDC guidelines related to masks, social distancing, and reduced attendance in the church.
As I’ve mentioned in earlier communications, the church we are returning to is, in so many ways, different from the church we attended a few months ago. We have endured physical separation from each other and had some of our most beloved traditions upended, specifically surrounding the Triduum days and Easter. Yet, throughout this entire ordeal, our faith has sustained us and we will once again be able to gather around the Table of the Lord within the walls of our church.
Some physical changes to the church include the long awaited replacement of our air conditioning units which took place this week; the electrical work will not take place until next week, so we ask for your patience as the workers make every effort to complete this job as quickly and safely as possible.
In addition, the new/refurbished tabernacle is in place, having been pulled forward from the alcove in which the previous tabernacle was housed. A wall has been installed that now encloses the alcove, allowing us to create additional much needed storage space. The finishing touches on this project will soon be in place, but again, I ask for your continued patience.
Amidst all of this good news, we unfortunately are faced with a deficit of $85,000 in our collections (year to date). These past months have been challenging for all of us, and the financial issues brought about by the pandemic cannot be taken lightly. As our economy begins to reopen, please continue to remember how vital your financial support is to the survival of our parish.
Finally, please allow me to not only thank all of your for your support and prayers, but to also ask you to remember that the resumption of in person celebration of Mass and all that is associated with it, is a process, and will, of necessity, continue to evolve as the weeks unfold before us. We will make every effort to keep you informed of additional changes, and invite you to regularly visit the parish website for the latest information on this rapidly developing situation.
Pax et bonum,
Looking for our virtual Masses during the COVID 19 Health Emergency? Look at our banner at the top of this page where you will find links to Holy Week celebrations as well as our weekly Masses.
For your convenience, you will also find above, links to homilies by both Fr. Jim and Fr. Fitz.
Help for Our Daily Bread
A special request for help from the staff at Our Daily Bread
Dear Fellow Parishioners,
May God bless and protect you and your families during this challenging time. While we are all impacted by the changes to our lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, some people are particularly vulnerable. Among those are the homeless, the poor, and the unemployed. Additionally, many of the small businesses in our community are facing severe hardship.
We continue to see an increase in the number of people coming to Our Daily Bread for assistance and once again ask for your assistance in keeping our pantry stocked with non-perishable items such as peanut butter, jellies/jams, beans, canned tuna or chicken, canned fruits, pasta, mac and cheese, cereal, rice, tomato sauce. Personal care/toiletry items are also needed, including toothpaste, soap and toilet tissue.
Thank you for your generosity, and stay safe and healthy.
Our Daily Bread Volunteers
RECTORY OFFICE HOURS
Please be advised that our rectory office has resumed regular office hours and our staff will be available to assist you in person or on the phone during the following times:
Monday-Friday: 9am-4pm (closed for lunch 12-12:30)
In accordance with CDC guidelines, we ask that you wear an appropriate face covering when visiting the office.
Thank you for helping to keep everyone safe and healthy!
A new offering from Bp. Robert Barron's "Word on Fire" Institute
A new course has been added to the Word on Fire Institute!
VIRTUAL MASS SCHEDULE CHANGE!
We are pleased to announce that our virtual Masses will be available here on our webpage and our Facebook pages, at 5pm on Saturdays. This Mass is currently live streamed and taped for viewing at a later time for those parishioners who are unable to attend Mass in person.
The link will remain on our website homepage until 10pm on Sunday nights, after which it will be available via the "Weekly Video Mass" tab at the top of the home page.
We hope that this modification to our viewing schedule is helpful, especially for those who would typically attend the 5pm Mass on Saturdays.
Televised Masses during the COVID 19 Crisis
We are happy to tell you that through the kind generosity of St. James parishioner Jim Townsend and his partner Corey Arnold, and Corey's son Justin, of Bars and Tone Media Productions, we will continue to provide our weekend celebration of the Mass at 5pm on Saturday evenings. Mass will be available on the website as well as the parish Facebook page.
The Catholic Faith Network (CFN), will continue to provide televised and online daily Masses. CFN also offers other devotional and spiritual programs. (Optimum channel 29/137; Verizon FiOS TV channel 296 and Spectrum channel 162/471)
St. James Church will continue to be open Mon-Sat 8am-5pm for private prayer, reading of scripture and adoration before the tabernacle. In accordance with the latest directives provided by Governor Cuomo on April 18, please wear an appropriate face covering/mask when leaving your homes.
We, the Catholic community of the Three Village area, formed as the Body of Christ through the waters of Baptism, are a pilgrim community journeying toward the fullness of the Kingdom of God, guided by the Holy Spirit, nourished by the Eucharist and formed by the Gospel.
We strive to respond to Jesus’ invitation: to be faithful and fruitful disciples; to be a Good Samaritan to (our) neighbor and enemy; stewards of and for God’s creation and living witnesses of Faith, Hope and Charity … so that in Jesus’ name, we may be a welcoming community, respectful of life in all its diversities.
Mass Times and Sacraments
THE PARISH OF ST. JAMES WILL RESUME OUR REGULAR MASS SCHEDULE ONCE THE HEALTH CRISIS HAS PASSED.
Weekdays and Saturdays: 8:00 am
Saturday: 5:00 pm Youth Mass
Sunday: 8:00 am, 9:30 am, 11:30 am
Sacrament of Reconciliation:
Saturdays 4:00 - 4:45 pm
and by appointment. DURING THE COVID CRISIS, CONFESSIONS WILL ONLY BE HEARD BY APPOINTMENT.
One Family in Mission, Called to Evangelize
To donate, please visit: https://www.drvc.org/cma/
Give On-Line Securely
During this time of uncertainty surrounding the COVID19 virus, many of us will choose to remain at home and not venture out to church or other places where large groups of people may gather. While respecting that choice, please remember that our parish still needs our financial support in order to meet regular operating expenses such as electric bills, heating/cooling, water and payroll. If you have not already signed up for electronic giving via Faith Direct, please consider doing so now.
Thank you for your continued support of St. James.
Give securely either here on-line or by texting: 631.206.5614
Click on the link below to make a one time gift through Faith Direct: Faith Direct
12/03/20 4:30 am
Readings for the Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, priest
Reading 1 IS 26:1-6Read More
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Reading 1 IS 25:6-10A
12/01/20 4:30 am
Reading 1 IS 11:1-10