Advent Reconciliation Schedule:
Wednesday, December 13 – noon and 7:00 pm – (Our Lady of Lourdes)
Saturday, December 16 – 10:00 am – (St. Matthias)
Advent IV Mass Schedule:
Saturday, December 23 – 5:00 pm
Sunday, December 24 – 8:00 am and 10:30 am (no 6:00 pm)
Christmas Mass Schedule:
Sunday, December 24 – 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm
Monday, December 25 – 8:00 am and 10:30 am
Welcome to our Advent 2017 online retreat! We hope you will visit us throughout this season for a brief break from the business of this season.
Advent is a time to slow down, pause, and reflect on the coming of Christ historically, the coming of Christ at the end of time, and the coming of Christ in our everyday lives. We live in a reality that does not support this idea, yet a few moments of your day spent with God’s word, a little music, or even a simple action on behalf of another person can be the touchstone for a pause.
The rhythm of our retreat is a bit of Scripture on Monday, an action on Wednesday, and a musical reflection on Friday. You may jump into this at any time and at your need.
Since this is a very short Advent—the shortest possible—we will offer some special options for the week of December 17 as we explore the beauty of the O Antiphons.
Now, take a breath and begin…
December 13 - Reconciling
Wednesday Action: Reconciling
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
and they shall be his people,
and he will dwell among you.” [Zec 2:14-15]
The great celebration of wholeness is closer than you think!
Fear is gone; love is the rule over all.
Is there a bit of fear that holds onto your heart? What prevents love from being the rule of your life?
If you are human, most likely some reconciliation is needed in your life. We cannot seem to escape from saying the wrong thing, misperceiving another’s intention, or being on the receiving end of a hurtful action.
Reconciliation is needed. But let’s face it, reconciling is often difficult.
“Jesus said to the crowds:
‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for yourselves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.’” [Mt 11:28-30]
How might you reconcile with someone today?
- Make that phone call you’ve been putting off
- Send a note—make it a Christmas card
- Are you doing battle with a teen in your life? Slip a note under their bedroom door telling them you love them and are willing to listen when they are ready to talk. Then, keep that promise.
- Is there a deeper hurt that you cannot confront face to face? Write it down and then throw the paper away. Some things cannot safely be reconciled in person. Once you can come to forgiveness; however, you will be free. This is often a long process so be gentle with yourself, asking for God’s Spirit to heal you.
- Finally, join us for the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation today at noon or 7:00 pm.
Be the Light in the darkness.
December 11 - No Fear
Monday Reflection: No Fear…
“Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.
Fear not to cry out
and say to the cities of Judah:
Here is your God!” [Is 40:1, 5, 9]
The opposite of love is fear.
It is with great love, that God embraces us. Isaiah calls out to the people, “Comfort, give comfort…Here is your God!”
This second week of Advent, the light grows. Our hope deepens. We await the coming of our God.
Yet, all we need do is to look around. God is with us. Emmanuel! But like the people of Isaiah’s time, we need a reminder. We need encouragement to love, to let go of fear.
Easy to say, hard to do, yes?
Letting go of fear:
- fear of the “other”, the stranger, the immigrant, different.
- Fear for our security, finances, personal safety
- Fear of change, of transition, of new and unknown
Is there a light to navigate your fear?
What brings you comfort?
Might you take a few moments today to let the hopeful, light-filled words of Isaiah wash over you?
I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”
Fear not… [Is 41:13-14a]
Let us go forth as light in the darkness. Just this day…
December 8 - Musical Prayer/Reflection
Friday Musical Prayer/Reflection:
Celebrate the Light in the Darkness, the Light that is our Hope, the Light of Christ!
“Shine Light of Christ. Shine in the midst of darkness.
Shine Light of Christ. Renew our hearts with gladness.
Lead us, Lord, to your light. Illuminate our darkness.
Come, fill us now, with your light.”
© Estela García-López Estela García-López
December 6 - St. Nick, an icon of Light!
Wednesday Action: St. Nick, an icon of Light!
I grew up, as many Milwaukeeans, celebrating the Feast of St. Nick.
The ritual commenced as follows:
- The evening of December 5, place one’s stocking, sock, or shoe outside of one’s bedroom door, or on the stairway, or hang on the fireplace.
- The morning of December 6, wake up obnoxiously early to discover a variety of surprises in stocking, sock or shoe. Mine included an orange, a candy cane, an assortment of chocolate, a mini cereal box, and a trinket of some sort.
We also awoke to a transformed home, decorated in Christmas splendor! We were given a preview of the light of the season.
Do you celebrate St. Nick’s Day? Even if you never have, might you consider surprising someone with a little Christmas preview, a bit of the Light?
- For a child, a sweet treat, book, or Christmas ornament
- For an adult, a cup of flavored coffee or tea, a listening ear, a note to tell them you are thinking of them, a phone call to “check in,” or a visit to a shut in or someone who is ill.
Be the Light in the darkness.
December 4 - A Light in the Darkness
Monday Reflection: A Light in the Darkness
We have entered the darkest time of the year.
The days dawn later, the dusk arrives earlier.
Within that limited daylight, we scurry and hurry to create a season of perfection that is impossible to achieve, when what we desire is peace, light, hope.
Meanwhile, the cyber world offers us the bitter news of yet another mass murder, a horrible natural disaster, political genocide, and stories that are difficult to decipher as true or fake news. The antidote offered is to buy more, decorate lavishly, and bury ourselves in anything we can find to ignore the darkness.
We are seeking the Light.
In Isaiah 30, we read:
“No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
‘This is the way; walk in it,’
when you would turn to the right or to the left…
The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
like the light of seven days.
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows.” [Is 30:20-21, 26]
This word was spoken at a very dark time for our Hebrew ancestors. It came as a word of hope and encouragement. It came as a light in the darkness.
What do you hear when you read this passage?
What do you feel?
How does this word speak to your life? Your day?
How might you embody, or drink in, the hope offered here, that Lord will bind our wounds, heal our bruises, and shine brighter than the light of the sun?
How might you shine, even a tiny bit, this light to another?
“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” [St. Francis]
Let us go forth as light in the darkness. Just this day…
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Advent in 2 Minutes - NEW
May You Find a Light
from The Brilliance
Let it go - Advent Meditation
An opportunity for quiet reflection to music.
Waiting. It’s not an attractive word. It seems boring. What if you were waiting for something that would change your life? How would you get ready for it? Would you make yourself busy, filling your life with noise and distraction? Would you spend all your time doing everything but slowing down?
You Don't Know Jack...about Advent
Christ is Coming
The Advent Wreath
Veni Veni Emmanuel
A Christmas Story: The Man And The Birds
As told by Paul Harvey – a wonderful way to understand the need for the Incarnation.
More than any other time of year, the seasons of Advent and Christmas remind us that there are so many in need of our generosity. At times, this can be overwhelming as so many organizations are asking for help. Because there are so many, it can be difficult to know where our donations of gifts and money actually end up. Here at Our Lady of Lourdes, we offer you a few suggestions that you can be assured go directly to the recipients, both locally and internationally:
The Giving Tree & Santa Shop
The Giving Tree provides gifts & gift certificates for children of all ages. For some of the 325 children we serve, this will be the only gift they receive this Christmas.
With just a few dollars, you can give k4-3rd grade children the joy and satisfaction of “shopping” for gifts for their families through the Santa Shop! The Santa Shop takes your inexpensive gifts and offers them for 50 cents each.
All gifts are due December 11.
Fleece Blankets for the Homeless
All are invited to join our youth to make fleece blankets for Repairer’s of the Breach on Saturday, December 19, from 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Help us care for those who are without homes.
Please come with:
- 2 1/2 yards plain fleece
- 2 1/2 yards print fleece
- A good scissors
Do not buy a kit. It will be too small.
This Christmas outreach opportunity is for beginner blanket makers to experts! Youth will be available to help make blankets for anyone who needs assistance.
Contact the Parish Office with any questions
The Mitten Tree
Another tradition here at Lourdes is the Mitten Tree, where new hand-crafted or store bought mittens, hats, scarves, and gloves are collected for adults and children at a couple of local parishes. The collection site will be in the Front Lobby and marked with a small tree and a wooden manger. The deadline for these gifts is December 17.
Catholic Relief Services
If you are interested in helping on a global scale, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provides the opportunity to donate towards a diverse set of needs.
Serving the Hungry and Homeless