Dear Friends:

As we begin the season of Advent, we launch into a new liturgical year. In the Lectionary, the cycle of readings for Sunday Mass this year is Cycle B, during which we will read from the Gospel of Mark on almost all the Sundays of this year, with some exceptions during Lent and the Easter Season as well as a six-week period during the summer when we will read from the Bread of Life Discourse found in chapter six of the Gospel of John.

The season of Advent has two primary purposes, one of which is keeping us fixed on the coming of the Lord at the end of time, which will be our focus for the first two weeks or so. The latter days of Advent focus our attention on preparing to celebrate the wonder of Christmas as we remember the birth of the Lord as one like us in all things but sin. It is my hope that these weeks of Advent will not be unduly overshadowed by the hectic preparations for Christmas. Advent is a season in its own right and as such, we do not sing Christmas carols or set up the Christmas crib in church during this time. Advent has a rich musical heritage in its own right and it is only proper that we make full use of as many Advent hymns as possible during this all-too- short time of year. Of course, our personal observance of Advent should include time for quiet prayer each day to take us away from the hectic nature of this time of year. It should also include our celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To that end, there will be additional hours for confessions both at St. Mary’s and at St. Agnes’ as Christmas approaches.

Next weekend at all Masses in both churches, we will be conducting a canvass of the parishioners regarding the new weekend Mass schedule that will take effect in a year’s time, namely on January 1, 2019. All parishioners, eighteen years of age and older, will be asked to indicate which of two proposed schedules they prefer. We will take into serious consideration the input we receive in making a final decision. Again, however, I want to emphasize that the current weekend Mass schedule will remain in effect throughout 2018. It will effect those who wish to schedule Masses for loved ones in 2019 and beyond. Once we have reached a determination as to which of the two options is most preferable, I will announce the new schedule.

A reminder that the Annual Collection remains underway. To date, the total received stands at almost $43,000. To those who have made a gift, I

thank you. I encourage those who have not yet made a gift to do so before December 31 if you wish your gift to be included in the total sum of your donations to the parish for income tax purposes.

Once again, going forward, please make all checks payable to Precious Blood Parish. We will be closing the accounts of the old St. Mary’s Parish and the old St. Agnes’ Parish in the next several weeks. After that, we will have to return all checks not made payable to Precious Blood Parish so that they can be reissued. I know very well that old habits die hard, but I thank you for your cooperation.