For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade

Through much of Advent we read from the Prophet Isaiah. In those readings we often hear a reference to the poor and how God will save the poor. Later in the Christmas season we will hear Jesus quote Isaiah 61:1 when He gets up to proclaim the Word and teach in the Synagogue: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. We might think to ourselves, well isn’t Jesus just great with the poor! Think of how He helps them and causes us to exert our charity in helping the poor. He lays out all this stuff about us doing for the least of these, thus doing it for Him. That work for the poor helps us get to heaven. The Church, in the model of Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, established the Corporal Works of Mercy focused on the poor.

What we tend to miss in all this discussion of the poor is the fact that Jesus did not specifically come to address the economically poor. Remember, He told us: For you always have the poor with you. (Matthew 26:11). If He did not come to address the economically poor, then who did He come to help? The answer is simple enough, Me. Jesus came and gave His all for me. I started in a place that was very poor – my humanity – and Jesus took on my poorness, entered into my poverty – to raise me and many on high, up to the very heaven He came from. He sacrificed His life to make me rich, a co-heir with Him to all His Heavenly Father has.

As we walk through Advent and finally gaze on the representation of Jesus in the poverty of the stable, let us remember where we were before we came to faith in Jesus and how very rich we are now. Then let us act! Certainly, to act means to care for the economically poor as required of us by the gospel of Jesus, but also beyond that to lift up those who are what we were, poor without Christ Jesus. Let us use this new Church Year to invite them into the Kingdom, to share in the treasure we have, to be rich with us.


Welcome to our December 2022 Newsletter and the journey through Advent to the start of the Christmas season (all forty days of Christmas starting Christmas Day). As you can imagine, there is tons going on.

The Opłatki / Christmas Wafers and Advent Wreath are blessed. The Church’s youth are gathering the evening of December 2nd. We have our Seniorate Advent gathering and youth meeting on December 3rd. There is daily Holy Mass at Noon and Rorate Holy Masses every Wednesday of Advent at 7:30am. Join us for our Wigilia / Vigil Dinner on December 11th. Help us decorate (green the Church) on December 18th. We have a full schedule of Holy Masses for Christmas (the traditional three) including the Shepherd’s Holy Mass at Midnight – yes, a real Midnight Mass right here in Schenectady. Join in our giving efforts, enjoy a concert by the Thursday Musical Club, offer a Memory Cross in honor of someone you wish to remember this Christmas season, and join us in giving thanks for all who do so much on behalf of the parish. Above all, remember to keep centered on the Holy Eucharist.

All that and more in our December 2022 Newsletter.

Peace.

Advent is here and Christmas is less than four weeks away. As we enter this season of expectation, thoughts turn to where we should be versus all the anxieties found in our daily life. As we enter this season and approach Christmas, let us consider peace. Peace is mentioned more than 429 times in the Bible. In the Bible, peace is taught as the Shalom of God. Being of God, Shalom, peace, encompasses many meanings including totality or completeness, success, fulfillment, wholeness, harmony, security and well being. Shalom is an ordering of life ordained by God through creation and established with God’s people in the covenant. Shalom is a place of being where chaos cannot exist. Chaos is those things we all abhor – sickness, war, social strife, any violation of the covenant and God’s law of love. As we enter Advent, let us consider the place of peace in our lives. Where are we in terms of the totality or completeness, success, fulfillment, wholeness, harmony, security and well being God desires for us? Where are we in relationship to Him and each other? Are we living His Shalom or are we enveloped by chaos? The Church presents Advent as that time to re-enter the Shalom of God. We have this short period of time, set aside – really separate – where we can retreat and pray, worship (communally in church), study (Biblical reading), fast, share (get rid of the excess we have), re-connect, and holistically enter into God’s peace. To do otherwise is to allow ourselves to slip into the abyss of chaos that is screaming around us. Jesus is inviting us into his peace. He is constantly doing that. He wants us to be prepared, settled, rested, and ready for His return, both symbolically at Christmas and in reality. As we stand before the manger, at Christmas, throughout its forty days, and thereafter, let us do so in peace.

December, Advent and the approaching Christmas season. So much going on – be part of it. We are reintroducing Candlelit Rorate Holy Masses every Wednesday in Advent at 7am. We have wafers/opłatek available for you to take home. We will bless and light the Advent wreath on December 1st, have our Vigil/Wigilia dinner on December 15th (come and partake) and the greening of the Church on December 22nd (come help decorate). We have our food and clothing collections ongoing for those in need in our local community. Of course a whole schedule of Holy Masses for Christmas, including a true Solemn Midnight Holy Mass, the blessing of wine on the Feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist – and so much more.

Read about all this and a reflection on generosity in our December 2019 Newsletter.