- December 24: Vigil of the Nativity with Holy Mass at 4pm.
- December 25: Solemnity of the Nativity. Holy Mass at Midnight and 10am.
- December 26: Feast – St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr.
- December 27: Feast – St. John, Apostle & Evangelist. Holy Mass at 7pm with Blessing of Wine.
- December 28: Commemoration – Holy Innocents.
- December 30: Feast of the Holy Family. Holy Mass at 10am.
- December 31: Solemnity of the Humble Shepherds. Holy Mass at 9:30 and 11:30am.
- January 1: Solemnity of the Circumcision. Holy Mass at 10am.
- January 2: Solemnity of the Holy Name (Parish patronal feast), Holy Mass at 7pm.
- January 6: Epiphany of our Lord. Holy Mass with blessing of chalk, charcoal, and incense at 10am.
- January 7: Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. Holy Mass at 9:30 and 11:30am.
Memory verse: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. — John 3:16
- 12/24 – Revelation 22:12
- 12/25 – Hebrews 9:28
- 12/26 – Matthew 24:44
- 12/27 – Revelation 1:7
- 12/28 – John 14:3
- 12/29 – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
- 12/30 – 1 Corinthians 15:52
Pray the week: Lord Jesus, I rejoice in Your Nativity. I long for Your return.
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD: Should you build me a house to dwell in?’ “It was I who took you from the pasture and from the care of the flock to be commander of my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you went, and I have destroyed all your enemies before you. And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth. I will fix a place for my people Israel.”
So here we are. In about six hours we enter into the Vigil of the Nativity. Six hours after that, we join in the celebration of the Lord’s coming, His Nativity, in candlelight and soft tears – our hearts alive with the spectacle of extreme love made real.
When we face extreme love, when we experience the power of God, we are left to stand in awe. Wow, look what God did for me, look how He guided my steps. The next thing you know, we want to do good, to repay God. David felt that way. He was humbled by all that God had done for him and wanted to reward God. God was not amused.
God says, look at all I did, I have complete and ultimate power to accomplish all things. I took a shepherd boy from nowhere and made him king. I protect my people, and you’re going to build Me a house?
God proceeded to tell David what would happen. I am going to build the house. I am going to establish the kingdom. From your people, your lineage, will come the King, the Messiah. I will raise up your Heir after you, sprung from your loins, and I will make His kingdom firm. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.
The rest of today’s scripture flows from this promise. Paul, writing as an Apostle of the promise delivered, tells his people, Give praise and glory to Him who can strengthen you. Rely on God to deliver – because He already did. He will make you strong in the face of everything. Don’t worry about what you can do for Him – but rather just praise Him, glorify Him for what He has done.
That reaction, that praise comes from our attitudes, our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies. We are to be ready to give this witness of praise. Our praise is to be a living portrayal of the glory of the Nativity, the freedom bought by the Cross, the promise of the Resurrection, and the Ascension. It is living in advent expectation for His return in glory.
The end of our Advent journey is the beginning of a new and more powerful journey. It is time to rethink our reaction to God. God chose what would be done and He fulfilled all he promised to do. We can give Him nothing except to live differently, to listen like Mary and to react as she did – “Behold, I will do what the Lord asks, I will do His will. Let all things in my life be according to God’s word.”
This week’s memory verse: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. — Philippians 4:4
- 12/17 – Acts 16:34
- 12/18 – Luke 10:20
- 12/19 – Isaiah 65:18
- 12/20 – Ephesians 2:8
- 12/21 – Isaiah 61:10
- 12/22 – Psalm 113:1-9
- 12/23 – John 3:36
Pray the week: Lord Jesus, I rejoice in Your tremendous gift of salvation, freely given. Grant that I may be generous in sharing your love.
Brothers and sisters: Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil.
Today’s message from scripture is one of doing (while rejoicing).
As we listen to Paul’s instructions to the Thessalonians, it sounds much like the instruction of every parent when they drop their children off somewhere. “Always be respectful. Listen closely. Pick up after yourself. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Call me if you need anything. In fact, just call me period.” The list goes on. Most of the time those words are not even heard, because our children know them by heart. They have heard them repeatedly. But, like Paul, we have to wonder if they connect. Hearing is different from grasping and doing.
Reading Paul’s list of final exhortations, we are called to tune in attentively. Not only to listen, but to put these easy to remember admonitions into practice: REJOICE, PRAY, GIVE THANKS, DO NOT QUENCH, DO NOT DESPISE, TEST EVERYTHING, REFRAIN FROM EVIL.
Like to Letter of St. James, the First Letter to the Thessalonians is thought to be one of the earliest writings in the Christian community. Paul is laying out directions for how Christians are to live. What are we to do every day? These things: REJOICE, PRAY, GIVE THANKS, DO NOT QUENCH, DO NOT DESPISE, TEST EVERYTHING, REFRAIN FROM EVIL.
We do not really hear it in English, but in Paul’s Greek, he laid these out in poetic form, a sort of mnemonic device, with a special rhythm so they would be easily remembered. He wanted the faithful to have this in their ears, on their tongues every day, like a song you cannot get out of your head.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all things! These imperatives are to be our individual response toward God. We are to recognize God as the source of our daily joy and we are to offer Him thanksgiving. We are to do so regardless of what is going on around us or even very close to us. We are to find joy and reason to give thanks ALWAYS.
Especially telling, the Thessalonians were facing tragedies and deaths at the time of this letter. Things that were not joyful were shaking their faith, darkening their hearts. Paul reminds them as he reminds us – If these human and earthly things, which have no power over the person faith, over people with the promise of eternal life, and who look to the immanent return of Christ can shake us, what value is our faith, our devotion, our worship? People of real faith cannot be shaken because we stand on Christ Jesus. We own His salvation.
The next set of admonitions apply to us as a faith community, as the Church. We together are to recognize God working right here, among us. Do not quench the Spirt, do not despise prophetic words, test everything and retain what is good! God is at work here, and we see it daily, weekly. We are to take full part in that and re to do it together. We are to be open to God’s voice through the work of the Holy Spirt while at the same time testing to ensure we are consistent with scripture and Holy Tradition.
We are not to be passive or complacent in this time of waiting. We are to sing Paul’s song of God-centered action – rejoicing, praying, giving thanks, discerning, and testing. We are to live this song, this poem. It is to be the rhythm of our lives – our imperative as Jesus’ people. Let’s be His!
Future Direction Subcommittee of the Supreme Council of the Polish National Catholic Church
Dear Bishops, Very Rev. and Rev. Fathers, Deacons and Faithful of our Holy Church,
We are excited to announce that the theme selected for 2018 across our Holy Polish National Catholic Church is: “The Year of the Family.” This was decided at the recent National Clergy Conference where after prayer, reflection and discussion the clergy selected this theme for 2018.
The hope and prayer of our clergy and the Future Direction committee is that this Year of the Family will help strengthen all our families in living out our Christian faith, virtues and values and will become an important and consistent part of their lives.
We will be sending various blessings and prayers to be done before or after Holy Mass as well as some materials for our families to take home. Below is the link to download a copy of the 2018 Action Plan – it is also included in this email as well.
An Advent Reflection
Advent is a blended season, a mixture of hope, repentance, anticipation and joy. We know that Christ has already come, establishing his Kingdom through his life, death and resurrection. But Christ will come again in glory to establish His Kingdom in its fullness. Meanwhile, Christ comes to all who are willing to make a place for Him in their hearts.
Our Advent models are Isaiah who yearned for the coming of the Lord, John the Baptist who announced the presence of Christ, and Mary who was transformed by grace. Like Isaiah, we look forward to Christ’s glorious return. Like John, we recognize Christ’s presence among us and our need for repentance. And like Mary, we seek to accept the will of God in order to make a place for Christ in our hearts. And allow His will to be done in us.
As we approach the coming Christmas Season – our Lord through His Holy Church reminds us that we need to be ready as we heard in the Gospel on the First Sunday of Advent. Ready to first, celebrate properly His birth and second, ready to meet our Lord at any moment by living as he taught following His saving Gospel. This is a time when we are reminded by John the Baptist to “prepare the way for the Lord”. It is important that we do this and prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming celebration of Christmas and for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
An Advent Prayer
Let us pray. Almighty and Eternal God, You became one of us that we might have the life of Christ forever. Through this season of Advent, rekindle in us a desire for the coming of Your Kingdom. Knowing how much our world needs Your grace and truth, we ask You to guide us in the way of compassion that we might help your suffering ones. Fill us with every grace and blessing as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior. Amen.
Join the Effort
If you know of parishioners or friends who are not a part of our monthly email updates – please have them email us at FutureDirection to become a part of this important effort for our Holy Church.
Please keep this church-wide undertaking in your daily prayers – asking God to bless this work and allow it to bear fruit for the building of His Kingdom through our Holy Church.
As we begin this Holy season of Advent may we use this time to spiritual prepare ourselves to again celebrate the Incarnation and be ready for His rerurn in glory. May we show our thankfulness to God not just in our words, but more importantly buy our actions. May God bless you and your family during this Advent season.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
PNCC Supreme Council Future Direction Committee
Most Rev. Anthony A. Mikovsky, Prime Bishop
Very Rev. Robert M. Nemkovich Jr., Chairman
Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end,
Today’s message from scripture is one of hope. This hope is expressed in three different ways.
The first expression from Isaiah is taken from the second set of Chapters. Chapters 1 to 39 of Isaiah were written before the exile, Isaiah saw the cause of the wars and tragedies that led to the Babylonian exile including faithlessness and overall social injustice. Chapters 40 to 66 were written during and after the exile in Babylon. They are filled with a message of trust and confident hope that God will soon end the exile.
Today’s reading, from Chapter 40 is the start of this second set of Chapters. It involves the commissioning of prophets. God is instructing them on the message they are to bring. Literally, speak tenderly to Jerusalem means they are to speak “tenderly” to the heart, the seat of reasoning of each person. It has nothing to do with the city of Jerusalem proper because the city is a long way off and is in ruins.
This message of hope is so important to us. It provides perspective on the City and Kingdom of God. The City and Kingdom of God has absolutely nothing to do with any earthly city. It is not Jerusalem or Rome, it is not any one place. What people fight over or call their capital is of no import or consequence. How silly will believers in cities seem in the eternal kingdom.
The City of God – the new and eternal Jerusalem, will come from God – not from the earth. That City and Kingdom starts with the state of our hearts and minds, and how we point to Him in Whom our hope is focused.
Our hearts, minds, and hopes are to go to the high places – to rise up. We, like Isaiah and John, are to proclaim the Good News. We are to do so without fear, saying: Here is God. That is a powerful and hope filled message for the world. The reward for those who proclaim that message is exactly this: God will feed us. God will gather us into His arms. He will carry us and will lead us with care.
The second expression of hope is set forth by Peter. It is so helpful to us every day, but with particular import during this penitential season. The Lord does not delay His promise, as some regard “delay,” but He is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
This is such an important hope – that we have assurance of God’s patience with us. Are we ready? Perhaps not; we can all do better. We can proclaim God’s kingdom better and more often. We can point to God more often in our actions and with voices that correspond to our actions. Here is God. This is what He is like. Come meet Him and find true hope. We must also bring to mind that this hope comes with a warning – Don’t wait forever.
Finally, we have the hope expressed in the Gospel. God made a promise and He was fulfilling it. The Messiah was about to appear. John pointed to immanent hope. Like John, we are to point, but to hope now present.
It is time to hope. It is not just hope because of the past; because Jesus came and spent 33 years on earth. Rather, it is time to hope because we live is the aftermath of that salvation, promises fulfilled, and eagerly approaching the great eschatological moment, when Jesus returns, when we are gathered in, where our hearts and minds will overflow with joy, and where hope is completely fulfilled.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
One of the wonders of Advent and the Christmas season is Why. Why did Jesus come to earth? Why did God allow Himself to be humbled in such a way as to take on our humanity, to be born in a stable, to proclaim eternal truth to a people who would not listen, to be mocked and persecuted for that message, and to sacrifice Himself? In the most simple terms, it is about completion. The dictionary defines completion as ‘the action or process of finishing something.’ God did all these things to complete us; to bring about the fulfillment of God’s plan for humanity. The Church does not often speak of eschatological things – the end times and Jesus’ return – but as we focus on the moment of salvation that started coming ever closer in the stable at Bethlehem, we are called to do exactly that. Advent preparation is meaningless if it is just about Christmas day, or the forty day season of Christmas. We are to be preparing ourselves and living for complete completion. What began that night 2,017 years ago was God’s offer of all we need to get there. What we are to do today, throughout Christmas, and every day is to witness and cooperate in moving toward the completion Jesus offered and offers. We stand in this intermediate time. We are the link. Together we build the bridge from the joy of Christmas, the exaltation of resurrection, to completion.
Join us in prepare through Advent and begin the celebration of the Christmas season (all 40 days of it). We have our annual pot-luck vigil dinner on the 17th, a great breakfast on the 10th, and many other special events including our traditional candlelight midnight Holy Mass (really at midnight). Take a look at some of the reflections as well – like ‘Why be a member of this Church.’ Ever wonder, ever think about the answer – check it out. We so look forward to seeing you.
You may view and download a copy of our December 2017 Newsletter right here.
This week’s memory verse: So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. — Hebrews 9:28
- 12/3 – Revelation 22:12
- 12/4 – 1 Thessalonians 5:2
- 12/5 – 1 Thessalonians 4:16
- 12/6 – John 6:50-51
- 12/7 – Romans 2:6-8
- 12/8 – Philippians 3:20-21
- 12/9 – 2 Thessalonians 2:15
Pray the week: Lord Jesus, I long for Your return. Come, Lord Jesus.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
I heard ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’ for the first time this past week. People of faith singing out with such longing, such desire. It made me sad.
There are a lot of things that can make us sad at this time of year.
In part, it is melancholy – a sober thoughtfulness as we prepare. Maybe we think of Christmases past, people no longer with us, some regret, distance from those we love, separation, an unresolved conflict we wish had never happened. We think about those things with longing – a wish things were different.
Perhaps we are sad as we bang our heads against the wall trying to get ready. Shopping, buying, spending – will they be happy and satisfied? Did I measure up? Decorating, dragging out the dusty trees and ornaments. Looking at it all, and comparing to the neighbors – are we good enough this year? The lights that didn’t go on quite straight. Not being Martha Stewart in the kitchen. Remembering at the end of it all we just have to put it all away. Then all the crowds and the traffic. We think about those things longing that it would be different – a wish things could be simple once again.
Listen to the words from the Prophet Isaiah: Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants. The people of Israel were crying out. They had lost their way, they lost sight of God. They wanted His promises, His consolation. They wanted His presence, the coming of Emmanuel. They knew they were missing out. Things weren’t the way they were meant to be. They were sad, melancholy.
The key to Advent is to connect to the reason for the underlying sadness in our lives. We do many things to fill our lives, including what we do to fill the Christmas season ahead, but none of that is really able to help us deal with the melancholy or longing within us. None of it can silence what is calling us.
So how do we find what will fill us, what will bring us the fullness of joy and contentment? We start by finding some common ground with what Israel was going through, to put ourselves in their place. If we take the time to reflect on their longing, their melancholy, their sadness – we begin to connect with the gift God was getting ready to give them. He definitely heard their plaintive cries – and sent His Son to them, the Messiah, Emmanuel. If we spend this Advent season in prayer, scriptural reading, and reflection, listening for the voice of the Spirit, we will find Him pointing us to Jesus. Then we will find our hearts and minds really calling out for the fullness of what will satisfy.
Unlike Israel, we have an advantage. Our hope is a post salvation hope. Yet we still long. Advent connects us to this remaining longing. Our hearts and minds call out for the fullness of what will remove all sadness, melancholy, and longing. Advent connects us to the event that will satisfy – Jesus’ return and entry into the kingdom. Let us be ready. Return, return, Emmanuel!