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How Do I?

Fr. Tom’s Letters


Each week Fr. Tom writes a letter to parishioners in our bulletin.  Every letter is comprehensive, including current information about the Parish, an explanation of Scripture for that Sunday, and an invitation to become more engaged in the life of the parish.






December 9, 2018

Dear Parishioners,

We turn today to the Second Sunday and Week of Advent.  The gospel brings to us the traditional Advent figure, John the Baptist.  The first reading from the Prophet Baruch highlights for us that our relationship with the Lord extends far beyond our church walls.  God involves himself in the world of creation and the communities in which we live.  The middle reading from St. Paul offers a beautiful prayer that we can extend to one another, a prayer that I will use to conclude this Advent letter to you.

Today’s gospel from St. Luke makes clear John’s role as precursor or forerunner to Jesus.  He echoes the familiar words from the Prophet Isaiah about Jesus’ coming: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths…”  These words make us mindful of some of the wonderful qualities of Isaiah.  Writing some 700-800 years before the coming of Jesus, Isaiah was a prophet of great vision rooted in hope.  He also was a person of faith with a long perspective.  That long perspective suggests the virtues of patience and fidelity.  The character Isaiah suggests all these virtues as Advent virtues: hope, patience, and fidelity.  Hope is practiced in prayer.  Patience is practiced in waiting.  Fidelity is practiced in perseverance.  These four weeks of Advent are a great time to practice these virtues.

John the Baptist is a different character than Isaiah.  His perspective is one of immediacy.  Jesus is close at hand.  Preparation for Jesus includes the call to repentance and forgiveness.  Sorrow for sin, an openness to change in our lives, and a practice of forgiveness is at the heart of John’s message.  We will hear from John again next week and his preaching will be more direct and severe.  To be able to hear the strong words of John next week, we need to accept the challenge John offers this week: sorrow for sin, openness to change, the practice of forgiveness.  Without these qualities, it is very difficult to hear the preaching word that challenges our behavior.


So many activities fill our Advent calendar at St. Anne’s.  What a great opening to Advent many of us experienced last Sunday at the 5:30PM Mass.  Our annual Lessons and Carols service with our music ministry was incorporated into the Sunday evening 5:30PM Mass.  Nearly 500 people attended and we were truly ushered into the Advent Season.  A beautiful selection of sacred music presented by our most dedicated choir members and excellent musicians made abundantly clear that we have entered this beautiful season.

The music ministry and choir have demonstrated their commitment and flexibility as we have presented Lessons and Carols at different times during the Advent Season.  This year’s time selection of Sunday evening at 5:00PM seemed particularly effective.  Thank you to all the music ministry and choir members.

After the final piece of music we went outside to bless the Knights of Columbus parish Christmas tree.  The incessant light rain kept our numbers down, but the Knights tree lit just as expected and those who withstood the rain were rewarded with Christmas cookies.  Many thanks to our Knights.  Congratulations to the Knights as our Council is one of the fasting growing in the United States.  Great job!

Other gatherings continue to fill these Advent days.  MOMs Breakfast with Santa, Christmas Caroling, Sponsor a Family, Special Needs Mass Nativity are just some of the activities still to come.

In the spirit of John the Baptist’s call to repentance we will have confession available next Monday, December 17th from 3:00 to 9:00PM.  In the past many parishioners have used this extended time for Reconciliation prior to Christmas as an opportunity to return to the sacrament after many years.  Please consider participating in this offering of Penance as part of your Advent practice and Christmas preparation.  You’ll be happy you did.


“Brothers and sisters: I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now.  I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.  God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.  And this is my prayer: that your love may ever increase more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.”

This is a beautiful prayer of Paul for the Philippians.  It suggests the affection and esteem Paul has for this community  It communicates a sharing in the work of the ministry and mission that is theirs.  And it is all linked to Christ Jesus.  He prays for increases in love, knowledge, perception, blamelessness, and righteousness.  All is done for the glory and praise of God.

May this prayer be the kind of prayer that we have for one another during this very special time of the year, Advent and Christmas!

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Tom




















































































































































































































































The letters are available in PDF and require Adobe Reader to view.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for FREE by clicking the graphic to the right.