A Word from Father John

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! Indeed, the Lord is near!" On this Gaudete Sunday, the Church rejoices in the fact that the Nativity of our Lord is quickly approaching. May we spend these final days of Advent making our hearts ready to welcome Christ, so that we can truly rejoice in the splendor of His Presence.

Father John Stokely

Advent Giving Tree

Today is the deadline for returning gifts to the Advent Giving Tree. If you forgot your gift today, please bring it to the parish ministry center tomorrow at the latest. Deliveries are being made early this week. Thanks to all who donated gifts for needy families around the Delaware Valley.

New Evangelization

Catholics Coming Home: A special six-week program, No Greater Love - Catholics Coming Home, begins on Monday, January 8, at 7:00 PM in church. Special referral cards are available in the pews for church-goers to fill out with the names and contact information of a family member, friend or neighbor who has been estranged from the Church for any reason whatever and might be open to a gentle re-entry into a more active practice of their Catholic Faith. Without disclosing the name of the one making the referral, we will send them a personal invitation to Catholics Coming Home here at Saint Elizabeth. Cards may be placed in the basket in the narthex after Mass or returned to the parish office anytime this week. It just might be the best Christmas gift you have ever given!

Reconciliation Opportunities in Advent

All are encouraged to celebrate the sacrament of Penance in preparation for Christmas. Here at Saint Elizabeth, we will have a Communal Reconciliation Service with individual confessions at 7:00 PM this Tuesday, December 19, and an extended period of confessions (9:00-11:00 AM) this coming Saturday, December 23. A number of visiting priests will be on hand for both occasions.

There are also Penance Services in area parishes, as follows: on Monday, December 18, at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church and SS. Simon & Jude Church in West Chester; on Tuesday, December 19, at St. Patrick Church in Malvern and SS. Peter & Paul Church in West Chester; on Wednesday, December 20, ­at St. Joseph Church in Downingtown; and on Thursday, December 21, at SS. Philip & James Church in Exton. All begin at 7:00 PM.

Christmas Mass Schedule

Note: Because of the severe over-crowding at the first Mass on Christmas Eve each year, we encourage our regular parishioners, if at all possible, to plan to celebrate Mass at 7:30 PM on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day itself. Thank you for your cooperation!

Masses of Christmas: December 24-25

Christmas Eve (Sunday): 4:30 PM and 7:30 PM

Christmas Day: 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:30 AM

Remember: Seating in church is on a first come-first served basis; the church is usually full by 3:45 for the 4:30 Mass! Please do not try to reserve seats with coats, etc. for those coming later. Ushers have been directed to fill in all seats and chairs immediately as people arrive. Thank you for your cooperation!

Prior to the Christmas Eve Masses, the choirs will provide a 30 minute musical prelude. In the midst of holiday excite­ment, the volume of conversational noise in church can sometimes escalate above our choirs and musicians. So if you are exchanging holiday greetings with others, please do so out in the narthex and keep an attentive quiet in the main church itself. Thank you!

Christmas Eve Masses at Area Parishes

St. Basil the Great, Kimberton - 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 12:00 Midnight

St. Joseph, Downingtown - 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM, 8:00 PM and 12:00 Midnight

St. Peter, West Brandywine - 4:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 9:00 PM

SS. Philip & James, Exton - 4:00 PM, 5:30 PM, 7:30 PM and 10:00 PM

St. Thomas More, Pottstown - 5:30 PM and 9:00 PM

Mass Intentions for the Week

December 16-17: Third Sunday of Advent

Saturday, 5:30 PM- Michael Ardoline, Sr,

Sunday, 8:00 AM- Theresa Rodner

Sunday, 9:30 AM- People of Saint Elizabeth

Sunday, 11:30 AM- Joan & Peter Reehil

Monday, 7:30 AM- Martha Mathis

Tuesday, 7:30 AM- Joan & Peter Reehil

Wednesday, 7:30 AM- Gilbert & Odette Vertefeuille

Thursday, 7:30 AM- Patricia Douts

Friday, 7:30 AM- Dolores Kearney (1st Ann)

Saturday, 8:30 AM- Thomas Rzucidlo (35th Ann)

December 23-24: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Saturday, 5:30 PM- Albert & Nellie Riviezzo

Sunday, 8:00 AM- Charles & Regina Eppehimer

Sunday, 9:30 AM- Constanza Geigel (29th Ann)

Sunday, 11:30 AM- Liem Nguyen

Readings: 2 Samuel 7/1-16; Psalm 89; Romans 16/25-27; Luke 1/26-38

December 24-25: Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

Sunday, 4:30 PM- People of Saint Elizabeth

Sunday, 7:30 PM- Stokely Family

Monday, 8:00 AM- Mullin-Heath Family

Monday, 9:30 AM- Chambers Family

Monday, 11:30 AM- Intentions of Fr. Stokely

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: There is no Exposition on Christmas Day nor New Year’s Day. On Monday, January 8, Exposition will close at 4:30 PM to accommodate EFF classes in chapel that Monday.

Prayer Corner

Please pray for all those who are ill, including Marie Altieri; Louise Ardoline; Sylvia Blust; Patrick Cerullo; Doris Cullen; Michael Hamilton; Ginny Klimek; Marinell Lamkin; John Lazarich; Suzanna Lezoche; Gloria Makoid; Edward Musuras; Shirley O’Brien; Ngoc Phan and Lurita Soprano.

We also remember those who have died, including Lorraine Hutton, grandmother of Lori Dennis. May all our departed loved ones rest in peace!

Baptism News

The next session of Pre-Jordan I: Preparing for Your Child’s Baptism will be held on Saturday, January 13, and the next session of Pre-Jordan II: A Call to Christian Parenting, will be held on Saturday, February 10. To register for a Pre-Jordan Program and/or to arrange for a baptism, call 610-321-1200.

RCIA Inquiry

Do you know someone who is searching for life's meaning, for community? Or someone who has asked about the Catholic faith? Please invite them to learn more about the RCIA by contacting DRE Beth Riordan at 610-646-6545 or briordan@stelizabethparish.org.

Parish Interfaith Action Committee

As part of our ongoing relationship with the Interfaith Action Community, Saint Elizabeth will be hosting a church tour and social event on Thursday, January 11. We will gather in the social hall at 7:00 PM to meet our neighbors and form tour groups. After the tour, there will be a Q & A and social. Mark your calendars and bring your family and friends. It is a good time to meet others in our community. If you would like to help with the evening, contact Gen Miceli (610-646-6550).

New Evangelization Committee

Called & Gifted Workshop: Have you ever thought about what the Lord is calling you to do? Attending this workshop is a great way to discover your gifts and respond to His call in stewardship service to others. The four-part workshop series begins on Monday, January 8, 7:00-9:00 PM, in the St. Matthew Conference Room. For more info, contact Chris Hill (484-368-4635 or chill@shoprunner.com).

Parish School News

Advent/Christmas Prayer Service: All are welcome to join our students and faculty in prayer this Thursday, December 21, at 2:00 PM in church.

Peacemakers: Congratulations to all the students recognized on December 1 for the way they exhibit the virtue of honesty.

Talented Students: Thank you to the students who provided a wonderful evening of Christmas entertain­ment at the Band and Harmonium Concert this past week. And congratulations to the cast and crew of Shrek the Musical Jr. for their successful performances, too!

Financial Aid: Financial aid applications are currently available through FACTS Grant & Aid and due by December 31, 2017. This year your 2017 tax return is the only documentation that all applicants are required to submit by March 31, 2018 or earlier – as soon as your tax return is complete. The link is on our website, on the Archdiocesan BLOCS website and also at https:// online.factsmgt.com/aid.

Elementary Faith Formation

Advent Prayer Services: Thank you to all who participated in, attended and assisted with our Advent Prayer services. You brought us to anticipate joyfully the coming of Christ! Thank you also for your generous donations for the Chester County Food Bank.

Holiday Class Schedule: Regular EFF classes will be held on December 18, 19, and 20. There are no EFF classes on December 25, 26, 27, and January 1 and 2. Classes will resume on January 3.

2017-2018 Theme: Our theme for this year is Family Prayer. Each month families will pray and go deeper into the meaning of a Catholic prayer. In December, we are praying an Advent Prayer that is posted on the parish website and Facebook page- check out the weekly posts on this prayer, too!

Reminder: Parents of children preparing to receive the Sacraments of Confirmation and/or First Holy Communion this spring are reminded to turn in the required registration form, photo banner permission and sponsor form no later than Friday, January 5, 2018.

Presentation of Sacramental Candidates: Families with candidates for Confirmation and/or First Holy Com­munion are invited to attend the 9:30 AM or 11:30 AM Mass on Sunday, January 7 for a special blessing of candidates, followed by a simple reception in the social hall.

Sacramental Prayer Tree: All parishioners are invited to stop in the church narthex on the weekend of January 6-7, to take an ornament and pray for the sacramental candidate whose name is on the ornament.

Middle School Faith Formation: Our fall bible study was a great success! Our next study will engage 7th and 8th graders with such questions as: Who am I? How do I form good friendships? How does my faith relate to issues like bullying, gossip, peer pressure, etc?

The study is called Theology of the Body for Teens, Middle School Edition. More information and registration forms are on the parish website and in the narthex. Questions may be directed to Beth Riordan (briordan@stelizabethparish.org; 610-646-6545).

Adult Faith Formation

See today’s parish bulletin insert for information about the next bible study, entitled: Mary, A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother, to be conducted on Tuesdays, January 23 through March 20, 2018.

Senior Adult Ministry

Lunch and Learn: Plan now to join us on Thursday, January 11, at 10:30 AM for a presentation by Bruce Mowday, a local author who will speak about the notorious Johnston Brothers gang. The next Game Day will be on Thursday, January 25.

Youth Ministry News

Register now for Saint Elizabeth Youth Ministry! Go to the front page of the parish website www.stelizabeth parish.org or email Ryan Schwalm at rschwalm @stelizabethparish.org to get involved!

High School Youth Group (Grades 9-12): Meets weekly on Tuesday nights in the CLC, 7:00-8:30 PM.

Help Needed: We are looking for an additional team leader for our High School Youth Group. We hope to find a leader 20-25 years old who feels called to help at our Tuesday night meetings by leading small groups and activities. If you or someone you know can fill this opening, contact rschwalm@stelizabethparish.org.

Eighth Grade Youth Group + Middle School Youth Group (Grades 6-7): There are no meetings this Wednesday, December 20. We will begin the new year with meetings on Wednesday, January 3, at 5:30-7:00 PM in the St. John the Baptist Room.

Financial Corner

Thank you for your consistent financial support of our parish community throughout the year.

Regular Collection for December 2-3, 2017

Weekend Contributions: $24,240.12

[Amount of Loose Cash: $1,004.10]

Midweek & Auto-Giving: $22,981.00

Total Regular Collection: $47,221.12

Number of adult envelope contributions: 785

Auto-Giving: A special “thank you” to the 292 families now participating in Auto-Giving to ensure a consistent financial support to the parish throughout the year. We would like to pass 300 auto-donors by the end of the year! Please consider joining Auto-Giving for 2018. To enroll, contact Sam Venuti (610-646-6515 or svenuti @stelizabethparish.org).

Upcoming Meetings & Activities

For a schedule of upcoming meetings, parish activities and other events, go to www.stelizabethparish.org.