12/19 to 12/23/16 – Springfield Hospital Communion Distribution 9am 12/19/ thru 12/24 – Mass - 8:30am 12/20/16 – Harlee Manor Mass 11am Eucharistic Adoration 9am to 5pm 12/21/16 – Eucharistic Adoration 9am to 5pm Pioneers 12:30 PLC Adult Choir Practice - 8pm - Church 12/22 & 12/23 – Eucharistic Adoration 9am to 5pm 12/24/16 – Christmas Eve: Mass @ 4:00pm (Church & PLC) 6:00pm & 8:00pm Mass - Church 12/24/16 - Merry Christmas - Mass @ 9:30am & 11:00am 6:00pm & 8:00PM Mass - Church
Father Moloney's Message
Dear Friends of Saint Kevin,
Isaiah is the great prophet of the Advent season. It was he who was chosen by God to announce that a virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall name him Emmanuel. The hope that one day prayers would be answered and prophesy fulfilled would sustain the faith of God’s children through many a crisis as the centuries ticked by. It is hope that sustains us during our darkest times. Isaiah was entrusted with the message, but not the time for its fulfillment. Little could his audience or their descendants know they would be waiting, hoping and praying for more than 700 years before these events came to pass. Perhaps they waited too long, for by the time Jesus was born in the flesh, many of God’s people had forgotten he was coming. They had stopped looking for the day of his arrival – had ceased to prepare for the coming of the kingdom of God. That might explain why Jesus was rejected by so many. They were expecting someone far grander – of noble blood born of wealthy parents in the finest of circumstances. Joseph and Mary and the little town of Bethlehem hardly impress when the expectations are this high. What if Joseph had not obeyed Gabriel, who spoke to him in his dreams? Even today, an unwed pregnancy raises eyebrows. In a small town like Nazareth, where everyone knew everyone, such a scandal represented the kiss of death. How could Joseph be with her if she had already been with someone else? Mary said nothing in her defense and allowed Joseph to draw his own conclusions. His doubts are still expressed in love, as he wishes to keep the whole affair quiet so as to prevent any harm coming to the mother or her unborn child. Had he made a stink, Mary and the baby would both have been stoned until death. “Do not be afraid.” That’s all. With those four words - repeated again and again by the archangel Gabriel, our hope of heaven was born. Gabriel told Joseph to not give into these fears of what others might say, think or do. Previously, Gabriel had spoken these similar words of reassurance to Zechariah when he received news of his wife’s miraculous pregnancy. Gabriel would utter these words again, telling Mary, Do not be afraid, for she has found favor with God. After Jesus’ birth, these same words would be used to beckon the shepherds to come in from the fields, following the light of the star, to adore at the Christ child’s crib. “Do not be afraid.” These words were the words with which Saint John Paul II began his papacy when he emerged from the conclave, under the white smoke of the chimney from the Sistine Chapel. These same words are spoken to us each time we face life’s challenges, difficult decisions or even our own sinfulness. Jesus being born among us means we no longer have to be afraid – either to live or to die, for he truly is “God with us.” As we prepare for Christmas just one week away, and buy and wrap our last-minute gifts, let us recall that the greatest gift isn’t the one we will find under the tree. The greatest gift of Christmas would be wrapped in swaddling clothes not ribbons, and he would one day be found on the tree of the cross – born to die that we might live.
Sincerely in Christ, Father John C. Moloney PLEASE REMEMBER THE ST. CHARLES SEMINARY APPEAL