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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Our Lady of Lou

9:00am – 4:00pm


Our Lady of Lourdes (OLOL) Parish, 44 Cleveland Avenue, Milltown, will host its 40th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS BAZAAR on Saturday, December 1, from 9:00am to 4:00pm. NEW this year, the OLOL EMPORIUM is a booth offering beautiful gift items. Many well-known “names” including LENOX™ and Mikasa™ as well as lovely linens and many other “giftable” items will be available. The event will offer a day of holiday shopping, food and family activities. Highlights include our OLOL EMPORIUM, OLOL Shoppes, Old Fashioned Bake Sale, New-to-You Christmas, Brand Name Ornaments, Vintage Jewelry, Religious Articles, Stocking Stuffers, and “Nearly New” toys. Games for children, Basket Raffles including a Gift Card Christmas Tree Raffle, and Magic Christmas Tree are also favorites. Vendors will offer crafts, jewelry, designer bags, homemade chocolates and candy, toys, decorative items, organic skin care products, wreaths, and grave covers. The Knights of Columbus annual Breakfast with Santa will also take place December 1 with seatings at 9:00am and 10:30am. Advance registration is needed. Breakfast and lunch items will also be available. For more information, call Bernadette at (732) 828-6726, visit www.ololchurch.nj.org, or search @ololmilltown on Facebook.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

First Sunday of Advent

12:00 am – 12:00 pm

On December 2, we begin the season of Advent, which marks the start of a new liturgical year for the Church. The Advent season includes the four Sundays that precede Christmas. Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of the Lord. In this season, we recall two central elements of our faith: the final coming of the Lord in glory and the incarnation of the Lord in the birth of Jesus. The key themes of the Advent season are watchful waiting, preparation, and justice.

In this new liturgical year, the Gospel of Luke will be the primary Gospel proclaimed (Lectionary Cycle C). Today's Gospel is taken from the last chapter before the passion narrative in which Jesus is teaching in the Temple. We hear Jesus speak to his disciples about the need for vigilance and prayer as they wait for the coming of the Son of Man in glory. This passage marks the conclusion of a lengthy dialogue in which Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, warns about the persecution and tribulations to follow, and identifies the signs that will signal the coming of the Son of Man in glory.

The community for whom Luke wrote his Gospel may have believed that they were already experiencing some of the events Jesus described. Most scholars believe that Luke's Gospel was written after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 A.D. At the time, many Christians interpreted this event as an indication that Jesus' second coming was near.

Though Jesus predicts a time of destruction and fear, Jesus indicates that others will be frightened; Jesus' disciples are not to fear, but are to stand tall. Yet Jesus does not promise deliverance from anxiety or tribulations. He encourages his disciples to pray for strength. The early Christian communities did not find consolation in the promise of a utopia, nor should we. Instead, we find in our Christian faith the means by which we witness to God's unfailing love for us in all circumstances.

Jesus' predictions about the end times may sound dire, but in the next paragraph Luke tells us that people woke early to listen to Jesus' teaching in the Temple area. In his person and in his message, those who heard Jesus found strength and consolation. Like the first Christians, we may encounter events and circumstances that could lead us to despair. Through prayer, however, we find strength and consolation in Jesus' words and in his continuing presence with us to endure all things and to witness to the action of God in our world.

(Content courtesy of Loyola Press: https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/liturgical-year/sunday-connection/first-sunday-of-advent-cycle-c-sunday-connection)

  • Location: All Parishes
Sunday, December 9, 2018

Second Sunday of Advent

12:00 am – 12:00 pm

This week and next, our Gospel readings invite us to consider John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus. John the Baptist appears in the tradition of the great prophets, preaching repentance and reform to the people of Israel. To affirm this, Luke quotes at length from the prophet Isaiah. John baptizes for repentance and for forgiveness of sins, preparing the way for God's salvation.

The three Synoptic Gospels—Mark, Matthew, and Luke—attest to the importance of the baptism of John in preparing for Jesus. Only the Gospel of Luke, however, extends the connection between these two men to their birth. The first two chapters of Luke's Gospel contain the Infancy Narrative, which tells about the births of John the Baptist and Jesus. These stories set the stage for the beginning of Jesus' public ministry in chapter 3.

The evangelist Luke is the author of the Gospel that bears his name, and he also wrote the Acts of the Apostles as a continuation of the story of Jesus and the Church. In these two works, Luke's sense of time and history emerges. He identifies three epochs of salvation history: the time before Christ, the time of Christ, and the time of the Church and the Holy Spirit. In today's Gospel reading, as elsewhere, John the Baptist is presented as the figure who bridges the time before Christ and prepares the way for Christ's own ministry.

In today's Gospel we also note Luke's attention to political and historical detail. Luke shows that salvation is for all people and situated in world events. Therefore, Luke lists the political and religious leaders at the time of John's appearance in the desert. Salvation is understood as God's breaking into this political and social history.

John's preaching of the coming of the Lord is a key theme of the Advent season. As John's message prepared the way for Jesus, we too are called to prepare ourselves for Jesus' coming. We respond to John's message by repentance and reform of our lives. We are also called to be prophets of Christ, who announce by our lives the coming of the Lord, as John did.

(Content courtesy of Loyola Press: https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/liturgical-year/sunday-connection/second-sunday-of-advent-cycle-c-sunday-connection)

  • Location: All Parishes
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Evening Prayer to launch Diocesan year of awakening

7:30 p.m.

Bishop Checchio has announced his plan to consecrate the Diocese of Metuchen to Our Lady of Guadalupe in 2019. There will be a year-long preparation process launching December 12, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, with Evening Prayer at the Cathedral of St. Francis in Metuchen at 7:30pm. All of the faithful are invited to attend. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas and was also given the title, The Star of the New Evangelization, by St. John Paul II. The purpose of this consecration is to invoke her aid for our diocese so that we can be spiritually renewed and equipped to live out our call to evangelize more faithfully. For more info: www.LightingHeartsOnFire.com 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Christmas Party for Children and Young Adults with Disabilities


The 3rd Annual Diocesan Christmas Party for Children and Young Adults with Disabilities will be held on December 15. Due to limited space, this is a ticket only event and pre-registration is required.

Please contact the Office for Persons with Disabilities by emailing: 2018domchristmasparty@gmail.com or by calling (732) 765-6432 for more information. Please register by October 31. 

We will graciously accept donations from parishioners who wish to contribute towards gifts for  this event. (Checks only please, no toys or gift cards).  Thank you for your generosity. 

  • Location: St. John Neumann Pastoral Center
Sunday, December 16, 2018

Third Sunday of Advent

12:00 am – 12:00 pm

This Sunday's Gospel continues last week's focus on John the Baptist and his role in preparing the way for Christ. Recall that last week's reading described John's appearance in the desert and established his connection with the prophetic tradition of Israel. If we were to read Luke's Gospel continuously, we would learn about John the Baptist challenging the crowds who came to him and calling upon them to show evidence of their repentance. John tells his listeners that they cannot rely on their lineage as Israelites because children of Abraham can be raised up from stones. Repentance, rather, must be observable in one's actions. Here, Luke is continuing to set up two important themes of his Gospel message: the Christian faith is expressed in one's actions, and the call to salvation is extended to everyone, Jews and Gentiles.

In today's Gospel reading, the crowds ask John the Baptist for specifics. What evidence of repentance is required? John replies by naming concrete actions: crowds should share their food and cloaks; tax collectors should be just; soldiers should act fairly. The concern for justice is a hallmark of Luke's Gospel.

When the crowd begins to wonder if John the Baptist might be the Messiah, John interprets his baptism and makes it clear that his ministry is in preparation for the Messiah. John the Baptist knows his place and role in God's plan of salvation. By encouraging the crowd to act similarly in accordance with their stations in life, John's teaching suggests that each person has a role to play in God's salvation. It is the great mystery of our salvation that God permits and even asks for human cooperation in his divine plans.

The third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word that means “rejoice.” This name is taken from the entrance antiphon for Sunday's Mass, which is also echoed in today's second reading from the Paul's letter to the Philippians. Some people mark this Sunday by lighting a pink candle instead of a purple one on their Advent wreath. It is a reminder that the Advent season is a season of joy because our salvation is already at hand.

(Content courtesy of Loyola Press: https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/liturgical-year/sunday-connection/third-sunday-of-advent-cycle-c-sunday-connection)

  • Location: All Parishes
Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Catholic Prayer and Support Group for Families Affected by Mental Health Issues

10 a.m.

The Diocese of Metuchen's Office for Persons with Disabilities will offer a Catholic Prayer and Support Group for Families Affected by Mental Health Issues on December 19 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 327 Greenwich Street, Belvidere, NJ 07823. The support group will offer spiritual support and tips on how to cope with this health issue. For details, please contact the Office for Persons with Disabilities at (732) 765-6342 or catholicswithdisabilities@gmail.com.

A Catholic Prayer and Support Group for Families Affected by Mental Health Issues

7 p.m.

The Diocese of Metuchen's Office for Persons with Disabilities will offer a Catholic Prayer and Support Group for Families Affected by Mental Health Issues on December 19 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 327 Greenwich Street, Belvidere, NJ 07823. The support group will offer spiritual support and tips on how to cope with this health issue. For details, please contact the Office for Persons with Disabilities at (732) 765-6342 or catholicswithdisabilities@gmail.com.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Connect: A Eucharistic Holy Hour for Young Adults

7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The Diocese of Metuchen's Office of Young Adult Ministry would love to get you connected! We will be hosting Adoration, Confession, and Praise and Worship at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral on Thursday, December 20, 2018 from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. Holy Hour will be followed by connecting with other young adults at a local restaurant. We look forward to seeing you there. If you have questions, please email youth.ministry@diometuchen.org or call (732) 243-4576.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Advent

12:00 am – 12:00 pm

On this the last Sunday before Christmas, our Gospel reading prepares us to witness Christ's birth by showing us how Jesus was recognized as Israel's long-awaited Messiah even before his birth. The Gospel turns our attention from the ministry of John the Baptist to the events that preceded John the Baptist's birth. The story of John the Baptist and his parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah, are reported only in Luke's Gospel. Luke pairs the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus, establishing John's early connection to the Messiah.

Our Gospel reading recalls Mary's actions after the announcement of Jesus' birth by the angel Gabriel. Mary goes to visit Elizabeth, her cousin, who is also with child. Elizabeth greets Mary with full recognition of the roles that they and their unborn children will play in God's plan for salvation. If we were to continue to read the verses that follow in Luke's Gospel, we would hear Mary respond to Elizabeth's greeting with her song of praise, the Magnificat. Both women recall and echo God's history of showing favor upon the people of Israel.

In Luke's Gospel the Holy Spirit helps reveal Jesus' identity as God to those who believe. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and sings Mary's praise because she bears the Lord. We sing these words of praise to Mary in the Hail Mary. Even John the Baptist, the unborn child in Elizabeth's womb, is said to recognize the presence of the Lord and leaps for joy.

It is appropriate in this season of Advent that we consider the role of Mary in God's plan of salvation. Elizabeth describes Mary as the first disciple, as the one who believed that God's word to her would be fulfilled. Mary's faith enabled her to recognize the work of God in her people's history and in her own life. Her openness to God allowed God to work through her so that salvation might come to everyone. Because of this, Mary is a model and symbol of the Church. May we be like Mary, open and cooperative in God's plan for salvation.

(Content courtesy of Loyola Press: https://www.loyolapress.com/our-catholic-faith/liturgical-year/sunday-connection/fourth-sunday-of-advent-cycle-c-sunday-connection)

  • Location: All Parishes