Posted on: December 23, 2020
December 20, 2020
A Christmas Message from Father Charles
Dear Parishioners of St. Elizabeth,
Christmas is beautiful: “Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful,” says Norman Vincent Peale. How true! It’s the most beautiful time of year. Do you know why we never get tired of Christmas? The answer is simple: Christmas is beautiful. The whole world is enchanted by its beauty. That’s why poets, playwrights, singers, and painters go wild over the theme of the holy Baby born in a manger surrounded by his parents, shepherds, the wise men, and even animals. During the current pandemic, when the world is gripped by anxiety, uncertainty, and darkness, the spirit of Christmas uplifts us with hopes of health and safety for everyone.
Christmas happens in us, our families, and towns: Have you noticed that many painters place a modern city or town in the background of the manger? It is to show that the birth of Christ takes place now in our lives, our cities and towns. W.T. Ellis says, “It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air.” The magic of Christmas---the mystery and majesty of God becoming one with us---can transform us, which in turn can help transform families, communities, and the world. Just imagine the revolution of peace, love, and justice that Christmas can bring about!
Christmas at St. Elizabeth Parish: We are a community of believers centered on Jesus Christ. In all that we do in our parish, we learn to think and feel like Jesus, to love God and others. Let us, as a parish community, draw closer to Jesus this Christmas. He is ready to be born in our parish all over again. Our acceptance of Jesus’ birth in our community would concretely mean that we get together to pray, love, share, serve---and to be the best we can be as human beings and Christians.
Christmas Outdoor Mass Schedule: Christmas Eve 3:00 p.m., Christmas Day 9:30 and 11:00 a.m., New Year’s Day 10 a.m.
Thank You: For celebrating throughout the year our faith at the Eucharistic table and through other sacraments, for hearing God’s Word, for the spirit of stewardship expressed in all your service and volunteering, your kindnesses and collaboration, and the generous donations to make our parish ministries and projects solid and successful. Merry Christmas! Happy and Healthy New Year!
Your Friend and Pastor, Father Charles Puthota
Posted on: December 18, 2020
December 13, 2020
DUE TO WEATHER CONDITIONS THE SUNDAY MASS ON DECEMBER 13TH IS CANCELLED.
Due to COVID-19 Restrictions, The 8:00 am daily Mass is suspended until further notice. Future Sunday 10:00 am Mass will be held in the school parking lot with a maximum of 200 people (weather permitting.)
From the Pastor’s Desktop
A Message from Father Charles Puthota
Dear St. Elizabeth Parishioners,
Sunday Outdoor Mass Schedule: Please keep in mind on Sundays, Mass will be at 10:00 a.m. in school parking lot. Weekday Masses are suspended until further notice.
Christmas Outdoor Mass Schedule: Christmas Eve 3:00 p.m. Christmas Day 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. In the school parking lot.
Dress for cold weather on Sunday and Christmas Masses: A timely reminder about dressing up for possible cold, windy weather. Please do come in layers of warm clothes, as you deem necessary, when you come to attend the outdoor Masses.
Spiritual Reflection on Advent: We are journeying through the spiritual season of Advent. The hauntingly melodious and meaningful hymn “O come, O come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel” captures the spirit of longing and sadness --- and an expectation of joy. We’ll be very busy this season of Advent with many external preparations for the upcoming Christmas. The pandemic has altered our activities and preoccupations. Amidst all the hectic activities, the Church invites us to prepare the heart and mind for the Lord’s coming. The focus is Christ and his coming into our lives and the world. All that we do this season should really be related to welcoming Jesus into our hearts and families. Remember there was no room in the inn some 2000 years ago? Is it possible that there is no room in the inn for Christ in our times? Christianity is Christ and the intimate connection with him and one another. Advent brings us to the center of Christianity: Christ. Our prayer this season will be: “Come, Lord Jesus.” The season of Advent is also a semi-penitential time. An indication of this is the violet colors and the muted decoration in the church and the non-singing of Gloria. These are reminders --- liturgical hints --- that we are to be engaged in a penitential preparation for the coming of Christ, so that when he does come at Christmas, purified of our selfishness and sinfulness, our hearts will burst with joy.
Advent Quotes: “Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus.” --- Neal A. Maxwell. “Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, achieves the impossible.” “Advent: Arrival, Start, Beginning, Dawn, Initiation, Introduction.” “Advent: Close your eyes and open your mind.” “Advent: the time to listen for footsteps --- you can’t hear footsteps when you’re running yourself.” --- Bill McKibben.
Word of God this Rejoice (Gaudete) Sunday: This Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, is called Gaudete (Rejoice!) Sunday. As we draw closer to Christmas, the Church invites us to rejoice at the soon awaited birth of the Savior of the world. In Isaiah we read, “The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor…I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul.” Are we ready to rejoice at the presence of Christ who is going to turn his abiding presence into a “coming” in our lives this holy season? What does joy mean in the time of the pandemic?
Praying for those affected by Covid: There are glimmers of hope as first vaccines are being rolled out in U.K. Soon our own country and the rest of the world will be receiving vaccines. Pope Francis has rightly expressed his concerns that the poor people in poor countries should not be left out of the access to the vaccine. Let’s keep all those who have died, all those who are ill, all those who have lost their jobs, all those who are going through so much anxiety and uncertainty, all those working on the frontlines---may everyone be blessed with peace and health. Let’s keep collaborating with everyone by doing our mite in keeping others and ourselves safe by following the safety protocols like face-masking, distancing, hand-washing, avoiding occasions of exposure, etc.
Quotes To Ponder in the time of the Pandemic: 1. "Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind." 2. This too shall pass. 3. "Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end." 4. "I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now.” 5. "Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness."
Humor: 1. A devout, church-going father was trying to teach his son that lying is a sin and that he shouldn’t lie about fishing and other things. “Do you know what happens to fishermen who lie when they die?” he asked. The son quickly replied, “They lie still!”
Thinking of you, thanking for you, and wishing you and your families this Advent season God’s blessings of health and happiness,
Your Friend & Pastor,
Father Charles Puthota
Posted on: December 9, 2020
December 6, 2020
Dear Parishioners of St. Elizabeth,
Revised Mass Schedule: There will be no daily Masses. Coming Sunday December 06, there will be one Mass only at 9:30 a.m. in the school parking lot. This is in view of the latest Covid-related restrictions introduced on Sunday noon November 29. There is a possibility that we might move the Sunday Mass just a little bit later to take advantage of the morning sun. Shall confirm it to you later. Up to 200 people are allowed for outdoor Masses. No indoor Masses are allowed now.
Important: Dressing Appropriately for Outdoor Masses: These are my recommendations. Just gentle reminders! Please do come prepared wearing warm clothes for outdoor Masses. You may want to think about the following items, as appropriate for you: Layers of warm clothes, gloves, head-covering, warm socks, not to mention face masks. Do check the weather and come well-prepared. I hope it will not be too cold or windy. If and when it rains, let’s deal with it at that time!
Advent: The word “advent” itself means “coming” or “arrival.” It is obviously about the coming of Jesus. Remember the words of Jesus before his ascension into heaven: “I’ll be with you always.” Jesus is with us always. Only we do not see and recognize him. We do not hear and touch him. We can imagine him saying: “You have eyes, but you don’t see; have ears, but don’t hear.” There are many things in life that prevent us from being in touch with Jesus. Our preoccupations and anxieties may leave us with no time or space for Jesus in our lives. That is why the concept of “coming” is very helpful. It has the sense of dynamism built into it. It has the meaning that it is happening in our lives now, in our present situations and circumstances. As we get read to celebrate the first coming of Jesus and look forward to his second coming, we cannot miss Jesus coming into our lives now, encountering us, calling us, sending us, fulfilling us, and blessing us. As we go about our daily, ordinary lives, how can we prepare ourselves in our minds and hearts for his coming? Or as we face difficult situations such as disease, death in the family, failure, rejection, depression, panic, and all sorts of sad experiences, how can we let Jesus come into our lives today so that he can make a difference and lift us up with his grace and love? In the midst of the pandemic, as our lives have been interrupted like never before, what will the coming of Jesus into our lives mean for us and the whole world?
Archdiocesan Annual Appeal (AAA): Please give whatever you can toward the goal of $48,719. You have donated so far $30,956.00. We still need $17,763.00. Please give as early as it’s possible for you. If at all possible, please belong to “1% or More Circle” by donating $500. When the time comes, after we have made the goal, when all the dust settles from the pandemic, I’ll invite the 1% Circle folks to a dinner. As you know well, the purpose of AAA is to support the ministry and mission of the Archdiocese.
Advent Quote: “Jesus stands at the door knocking (Rev. 3:20). In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human being among us.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas
Food for Thought: A Short Course in Human Relations: The six most important words: “I admit that I was wrong.” The five most important words: “You did a great job.” The four most important words: “What do you think?” The three most important words: “Could you please. . .” The two most important words: “Thank you.” The most important word: “We.” The least important word: “I”.
Joke: Praying for Hearing: Jim shows up at a revival meeting, seeking help. “I need you to pray for my hearing,” he tells the preacher. The preacher puts his fingers on Jim’s ears and prays and prays. When he’s done, he asks, “How’s your hearing now?” “I don’t know,” says Jim. “I don’t go to court till next Tuesday.”
Thinking of you, thanking God for you, and sending you prayerful wishes for an Advent season of God’s grace and our great expectations. Come, Lord Jesus!
Your Friend & Pastor,
Fr. Charles Puthota