"A community committed to welcoming, stewardship and evangelizing since 1868."
As we are in the season of Advent, we have the Giving Tree up in back of church. Please take an ornament if you want, as a reminder to bring back your donation for those in need this Christmas and throughout the year. We have found gift cards for gas, groceries and discount stores work best. Also, if you or someone you know is in
need this Christmas, please contact Father or the parish office.
All seniors 65+ are invited to the 15 th Annual Carver Senior Luncheon on Dec. 13 at 11:30 am here at St. Nicholas. You must RSVP to Sandy to attend. See the flyer in back of church.
Volunteers are needed here on Sat., Dec. 16 th to assemble and deliverChristmas Food Baskets to local Love INC clients in the Eastern Carver County area. See the Love INC section on the back of the bulletin to register to help.
Thanks to all who participated in the photo sessions for the new directory. If you were not able to get a spot, please contact the office so we can get you on the update list. We can do another day of photography as soon as we have 20 families.
Fr. Thomas Joseph
Congratulations Barney & Marita on your Wedding Anniversary!
December 10, 2017 – SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Pain changed into Blessing! St. Thomas Aquinas said, 'Out of every evil comes something good.' Many times, in my personal life and in being a pastor, I have found this to be very true; pain can really be transformed into Blessings. Recently, I took time to visit people in hospitals and other medical facilities. May God bless them all: the medical professionals and the patients who receive care and are on the path to rehabilitation. We salute doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who are specially trained. Just as painful medical procedures can transform into the blessing of saving people's lives, so too, the pain of daily life, well-handled, could be transformed into blessings of all kinds. Whether we like it or not, there will be moments of pain in our lives; there will be moments we don't like. We do not have to look for pain and suffering, but when they come our way, we should be determined to change them into blessing and never get deterred or get distracted.
Confession for Advent/Christmas! We will have our Advent Confession on Friday, December 22, from 5-9 PM with Mass from 6-6:30 PM. I hope you will come to Confession either here at St. Nicholas or at other churches at your convenience. There is a list posted outside our confessional with the area church's confession schedules.
Christmas Mass Schedule! Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24: 4 PM (English), 5:45 PM (English), and 7 PM (Spanish). Christmas Day, Monday, December 25: 8 AM (English), 10AM (English), 12 Noon (Spanish).
Reflections from Last Sunday! Last Sunday we reflected on Jesus' word 'Watch.' When Jesus tells us 'Watch,' He is not warning us with terror. Jesus is not constantly warning us how destructive He could be. He is not wanting us to be afraid. Rather, He is wanting to win us close to His heart. We do not need God to destroy this world. With the nuclear capabilities we have, we are capable of destroying this world not once, but 100 times. When Jesus says, 'Watch,' He is not threatening us, but wishing that we will turn toward Him so that He can keep us close to His heart. In our daily lives, we can get things done in two ways--by fear or by love. Spouses can use fear tactics or win each other with love. Parents can win their children with love or make children do things out of fear. In the workplace, lots of things can be accomplished out of love, but managers can also make threats which are often ineffective and less productive. Let us be clear, when Jesus says 'watch,' He is not threatening us, but deeply desiring us to be close to Him.
We officially exceeded our CSA goal! We should win people with love and not with terror. Here at St. Nicholas, 'God's City set on the hill,' we smell goodness and are healthy because we do so out of love. We are successful as a church and able to think beyond ourselves. Continually exceeding the CSA goal for nine years in a row shows something must be right up here on the hill. We pray, as Archbishop Hebda mentioned in his October 22 homily, that St. Nicholas may always remain a lively parish, welcoming people, serving the rich and poor, spreading its rays of bounty to the valleys and beyond. For now, let us focus on the Advent season and the Merry Christmas soon to come. In early February of 2018, we will begin the new CSA campaign year. On behalf of St. Nicholas we thank each and every one of you who actively support the CSA as 25% of your contributions come back to St. Nicholas.
Dear Padre! Why should I go to Confession when it is so boring? Just as so many people love going to the Sacrament of Confession, it is also true a number of God's people do not go to Confession thinking it is boring or that, 'I don't want to tell my sins to another man.' There are many reasons why it is important to use the Sacrament of Confession as many times as you can. First, it was one of the seven Sacraments given to us by Jesus Himself. Second, it restores your peace with God and one another. The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1468 reads, "The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship... Reconciliation is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation..." Third, if you are shy by nature, it is not an excuse not to go to Confession. Why? Because you don't have to give details, date, or time of your every sin; you can tell the sins to the priest face to face or behind the screen. Fourth, you should not feel ashamed or afraid to confess your sins--because those of us who represent church are also sinners. Fifth, many great people, like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, went to confession every single day. Even though it is not possible for us to go to Confession every day, we can be aware, 'If Saints like Mother Teresa went to Confession every day, I want to go to Confession as often as I can--if Confession was good for Mother Teresa of Calcutta it must be good for me.' Let us conclude with the story from Dear Padre: Questions Catholics Ask, found on page 128. Saint Gerard, a Redemtorist brother, used to travel with fellow missionaries. Being the holy man that he was, people would usually consult him before going to confession. My advice to you is, if you are someone who goes to Confession regularly, or if you are someone who is struggling to go to Confession at all, pray to St. Gerard. Just as he counseled people before they went to Confession, in the same way he will counsel you.
Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception! Christmas (birth of Jesus) that we all look forward to has strong ties to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Just as a healthy mother would give birth to a healthy child, Mary had to be a healthy, holy, wholesome, immaculate, and perfect Mother to be able to give birth to Jesus, who is God. In the year 1854, Pope Pius IX wrote, 'The most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instant of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.' Some Christian churches have difficulty accepting the importance of Mary in the salvation history, but they need to realize there is an intimate connection between Mary and Jesus. Just as we love our biological mothers, so too, Jesus loves His biologic mother, Mary. When we honor Mary, Jesus feels honored. When we pray the Rosary, it is not just about Mary alone, it is about Mary and Jesus. The Feast of Immaculate Conception celebrates our belief that Mary was born without sin. Since Mary became the Tabernacle to carry Jesus in her womb, She deserves all of our respect. Let the words of the Angel Gabriel ring in your ears (Luke 1: 30-31),"...Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus."
Sunday Reflection! Dear brothers and sisters, the Gospel for this Sunday is from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1, Verses 1-8. It reads,'...As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert: Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John the Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: 'One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.' Based on the Scriptures and other writings about John the Baptist, he must have been a very charismatic figure with a commanding voice. Using his charisma and commanding voice, if he called himself the Christ. He could have fooled lots of people and people would have followed him thinking John was the Christ. Instead, John the Baptist said, 'One mightier than I is coming after me.' Ask yourself, 'Do I always put Jesus Christ above yourself?'
In Christ Jesus,
Fr. Thomas Joseph
The Archdiocesan permanent deacon formation program will begin the discernment and application process this fall for admission to Aspirancy (novitiate) in fall 2011. Men married or single and at least 30 years old can begin now by: 1) applying to the prerequisite Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute that begins on Monday evening, September 13 (go to the St. Paul Seminary webpage at http://www.stthomas.edu/spssod/ for an application or call 651-962-6890), and 2) attending our “Diaconate Inquiry Course” on Tuesday evenings Oct. 26, Nov. 2, Nov. 9 and Saturday morning Nov. 20 at the St. Paul Seminary. This course will introduce men (and their wives) to the vocation, spirituality, and role of the permanent deacon in the Archdiocese and will explain the discernment, application, and formation process. Those who cannot attend this fall may attend one of the courses offered next winter or spring. For more information on the Diaconate Inquiry Course, contact Deacon Russ Shupe at (651) 291-4428 or email: email@example.com. Even if you cannot apply for diaconate formation now, you may still attend the Diaconate Inquiry Course to learn more about this unique vocation in the Church.
Thanks for your generous support of Fr. Ramirez and the 2nd collection for Yarumal Missionaries. We collected $1,070!
Blest Art is here this weekend. They have hand-carved nativity sets, statues, crosses, rosaries, and many other pieces of beautiful olive wood art. We kindly invite you to visit their display and consider purchasing a piece of art from the Holy Land. In doing so, you will help support the many families who depend on this for their living. Please be sure to check it out!
We are in need of a few more leaves to pack around the roses in the prayer garden for the winter. If you still have some, please take a bag from back of church, bag up your leaves and return them to us as soon as possible this week. Thanks!
Check the bulletin board in back of church for many upcoming area events.