Prepare the Way for Jesus into Our Hearts


We hear it every year: "Remember the true meaning of Christmas! Don't get caught up in holiday commercialism!" (or some equally guilt-inducing variant of that). But every year, there are still presents to buy, decorations to put up, and parties to attend. So how, in all of the craziness, can we take time to really, truly prepare our hearts for Christmas? The answer is simple: decide to take that time; actively choose to dedicate your days to Jesus this Advent.

Begin by finding moments of peace, perhaps when you wake up, while you are commuting, or before you fall asleep. Spend these moments in prayer. Take this time to feel the Lord's presence in your life and to reflect on the love that God gives in Jesus' birth. Reflect on the places you fell short in faith and actions during the past day, ask the Lord for forgiveness, and imagine how to better live the love of God in the coming day.

As many of you know, December's theme for the Year of Prayer is Eucharistic Adoration. As we work to prepare for the coming of Christ, going to Adoration is a wonderful way to open our hearts to Jesus Christ. This Advent, Adoration can be a time to pause, to let go of the stresses weighing us down, and to simply be with Christ. Eucharistic Adoration is about deeply reveling in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and doing so brings us closer to God. By understanding this, and by not only practicing it during Adoration, but feeling Christ's presence in each moment of our lives, we prepare the way for Jesus to come into our hearts and lives.

So when you are overwhelmed by the responsibilities of the holidays, just take a deep breath and try to feel Christ's presence. Let the gifts, the decorations, and the celebrations be acts of love for God and for those around you rather than tiresome responsibilities. Look around, and take a moment to thank God for all of the blessings that surround you this season as you live in adoration of Jesus Christ.

~Claire McDermott


December Theme: Adoration
Prayer of the Week

Christmas Dinner Prayer


God of all gifts, we thank you for the many ways you have blessed us this day. We are grateful for everyone gathered around this table and we ask you to bless us and those we love who are not here today.  In our gratitude, we ask you to bless our food and we pray for those who are without enough to eat. We remember your humble birth in a stable and pray for those who have no place to live. We remember your challenging message of caring and giving and we pray for peace in families and nations throughout the world. We bless you and give you thanks in your Spirit who brings our hearts to life the Christmas Day and forever. Amen.
 
Idea:  Pray before your meals during the Christmas season.

In Need Of...

Decorating Volunteers
Help us make St. Josaphat's even more beautiful for Christmas! We are looking for volunteers to help decorate the church for the Christmas season. We will start decorating after the 12:00 mass on Sunday, December 23. 

Liturgical Ministers
Would you like to serve as an Usher or Lector?  It's easy, and we would love to have you! Please contact the parish office for details at office@stjosaphatparish.org.

Helping Hands
Our Helping Hands outreach is requesting adult sized winter gloves and hats to help keep our community's visitors warm in these colder months.  Socks and men's white t-shirts are always appreciated!  You can drop off donations at the rectory any time.

Thank You from the Giving Tree Committee

The Giving Tree was set up the weekend before Thanksgiving and over the next three weeks, more than 300 tags with requests from St. Agatha's Parish, Marillac Social Center, Courage and St. Josaphat's Helping Hands Ministry were added to it. Thanks to the generosity of our St. Josaphat families, all tags were taken and the "Red Door Room" of the rectory was filled with gifts. 

Last weekend we delivered classroom supplies to Marillac Social Center for their Early Education Program as well as clothes and toys for over 40 individual children.
Thanks to your kindness, 87 individuals from 29 families at St. Agatha parish received gifts to meet their needs of clothing, bedding and other essentials. 

Four vehicles filled with diapers and wipes, formula, bedding and towels, more diapers and wipes, grocery gift cards, and yet more diapers and wipes made a delivery to Courage last week.
A family with ties to our parish will be experiencing a merrier Christmas when they open their gifts from you. The men and women who come to the rectory door for a sandwich and soup often ask for socks, t-shirts, and hoodies, and thanks to your caring response, they can walk away a little bit warmer.
So, from all these folks and the Giving Tree Committee - THANK YOU - and Merry Christmas.



A personal thank you to all the Giving Tree volunteers: Ross & Jean Cali, Amy Cascarano, Emerson family, Maureen Fannon, Fedea family, French family, Carol & Tom Galuhn, Garcia family, Cheryl LeeVan, Lobaugh family, Judy & Jeff Lovero, Lou Marek, Pat & John McGowan, McLaughlin family, Chris & Kathe Monley, Karin O'Connor, Ryan family, Kelly Smith, and Van Kempen family for the time they spent contacting the groups we support to gather their information, assembling the tags for the tree, being available before and after Masses for questions and sorting and delivering the gifts. The Giving Tree Ministry would not be a success without you!

~Kristie French & Charlene Herda

Important Upcoming Dates!

December 23 - Church Decorating at 1pm - join us!

December 24 - Christmas Eve Nativity Mass at 4pm

December 25 - Christmas Day Masses at 9a & 11a

January 1 - Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, Mass at 10am

January 5 - Men's Spirituality

January 6 - The Epiphany of the Lord

January 10 - Dine Around: Broken Barrel

January 10 - Parish Pastoral Council

January 13 - Youth Group

February 23 - Unity Gala

Volunteers Needed
Help us make St. Josaphat's even more beautiful for Christmas! We are looking for volunteers to help decorate the church for the Christmas season. We will start decorating after the 12n mass on Sunday, December 23rd and, depending on how many people we have, it should only take a couple of hours. Come for as long as you can! The more the merrier! Contact Jennifer Miller (jmfiel0204@gmail.com) with any questions and so we know how many people to expect.
Christmas Mass Times
Christmas Eve
Monday December 24th
4:00 pm
Especially for families with young children - brass quartet and children's choir perform.

Christmas Day
Tuesday, December 25th
9:00 am & 11:00 am
Brass quartet will perform.

Solemnity of Mary, 
Mother of God
(New Year's Day)
Tuesday, January 1st
10:00 am

The Epiphany of the Lord
Saturday, January 5th
5:00 pm
Sunday, January 6th
8:00 am, 10:00 am, 12:00 pm
Dine Around
Dine at Panara
400 W Division St
Thursday, January 17, 4-8pm
20% back to our school
Online and delivery included!!! Just add "PRFUND" at checkout!
Men's Spirituality
The Men's Spirituality Group meets on the first and third Saturday of each month (October - May) at 6:30am in the Red Door Meeting Room of the Rectory.  Participants use a resource to guide their discussion and prayer. 
All men of the Parish and their friends are welcome. Our next meeting is :
Saturday, January 5th
Women's Group
All women are welcome (all generations, millennials, single, with parish school children or not) to join. Just come to events where you have time or interest. Our mission is to offer  social/fun/community building among parish women; service opportunities;
 spirituality/reflection; and  book club discussion opportunities. Our next meeting is:
Saturday, Jan 26th 9-11a
Book Discussion:
The Witch's Elm
Photo Directory
It's been 10 years since our last parish photo directory - time for an update!  Lifetouch (a Shutterfly company) will have photographers in the rectory  February 4-9.
Everyone who participates will receive a  FREE 8x10" photo and a copy of our parish photo directory.  This project is near and dear to Fr. Francis' heart as it will help him get to know our parishioners even better!
Schedule your photo session HERE
Unity Gala
Join us on Saturday, February 23, 7pm at Moonlight Studios for an evening of celebration at our annual parish fundraiser. This year's event will feature cocktails, appetizers, an exciting Live Auction, and dancing! 
Purchase Tickets HERE 
Questions? email: stephaniepall@gmail.com

The online auction is only as good as the donations we receive from people like you!  The more items we have, the more money we can raise to fund the vital needs of our church and school.  Please consider donating sports or concert tickets, restaurant, salon or retail giftcards or bottles of wine values over $20.  Donations can be brought to the rectory, info can be emailed to trishhaubrich@gmail.com, or submitted online  HERE.
Shop and Support
Shop Minted.com code: FUNDRAISEJOSAPHAT to save 15%, and 15% donated back to SJS

Recycle your floral vases - bring them to Ashland Addison Florist Co. for a donation to St. Josaphat!

Shop smile.amazon.com and select St. Josaphat Parish as your charitable organization, and St. Josaphat gets  5% on eligible items!

Shop sjs.shutterflystorefront.com and 
SJS gets 13%!

Thank you for your support!