We have all seen the T-shirts and bumper stickers advising us to, “Keep Calm, and…”

In Advent, that is excellent advice. The time of preparation for Christmas in our Church is counter-cultural. As everyone seems to be in a frenzy of
shopping, wrapping, writing cards and planning family gatherings, the Church sets aside this time for quiet, introspective prayer to contemplate not only the coming of the Christ Child in Bethlehem, but also the second coming of Jesus. It’s a time meant for Catholics to prepare for both blessed events.

Advent, the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year, starts on Sunday, December 3 and brings many opportunities for us to calm down and nourish our spirit. For starters, the students of our EFF program and their families have already begun a “Prayer of the Month” program, concentrating on a particular prayer for an entire month. The December prayer asks “Help us to live in (God’s) love together as a family this Advent.” Also this Advent, the parish staff will be praying for all parishioners and will celebrate an afternoon of Recollection on Tuesday, December 19.

Other activities include:
December 2-17—Advent Giving Tree, offers us the opportunity to share some Christmas generosity with the less fortunate. Ornament tags identify the kind of gift, the age of the recipient, and the drop-off date.

December 6—Advent by Candlelight, a special evening of reflection for women.

December 19—Communal Penance Service, with individual confessions.

December 21—School Prayer Service, where all are welcome to the Saint Elizabeth Parish School prayer service in the church. Students will have Advent
activities and prayers in each classroom, as well.

For more details on all of these and other events, be sure to check the bulletin and the website. We are blessed to have so many ways to prepare the way of the Lord, all of which lead us to a deeper, more meaningful joy, both at Christmas and through-out the coming year. So, this Advent…let us all “keep calm, and pray on!”
                                                                                                                                                                                     - Elisa Sheronas