Remember the seasonal song, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”? Well, in many places that began right after Halloween (or at least around Thanksgiving), as we saw many reminders to “beat the last minute rush” and “shop, shop, shop….”  “on line,” “cyber Monday,” and “Black Friday.” What a poor preparation for the joyous feast that celebrates our hoped-for salvation! Whatever happened to “Advent,” “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “Gaudete” (Latin for ‘rejoice’ and the title of this Sunday’s observance)? Well, we have some alternatives!*
It was a true pleasure last Sunday afternoon to present the very successful Advent/Christmas themed “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in our church under the direction of our gifted church and school Music Director and Conductor, Eric Keiper. His tireless hours in preparation over these past few months truly “paid off,” as the audience of well over two hundred-fifty people enjoyed the barely hour-long musical drama, based on church-held medieval mystery plays.

Among the lead cast were Aubrey LaudanoJessika Roy,Jorge ToroDylan EvansJoseph RugareLiliana Sage (our 8th grade dancer), and pianists David Hogue and Elaine Reinhardt. There were many support cast members who played the roles of shepherds and villagers, and this included youngsters from our parish school, who volunteered to be in the program. They worked countless hours over weeks to make this possible for parish members and beyond.

We hope to continue to make this an annual event so that at this time of year people may come to our church and use this opportunity to make their Advent and Christmas more fruitful.

This Monday evening,December 17th, the children of our school and several supporting parish staff members and adult parishioners will perform our annual pre-Christmas program in the church at 6:30pm (please note the time). It is a program of Lessons and Carols that will tie in the remaining days of Advent and lead us on to Christmas. All of our parishioners are welcome.It’s one more way of setting the tone for our seasonal observance of the Lord’s coming and one more moment when we can take time away from the crass commercialization of Christmas and spend some time reflecting on the original spiritual dimensions of the “reason for the season.”

This coming Wednesday evening, December 19th, we will hold our Advent Penance Service in our church at 7:00 pm. This will be an excellent opportunity to confess our sins in preparation for Christmas, and a chance to remove all serious sins (e.g., missing obligatory Mass on Sundays and Holy Days) and participate worthily in the Eucharist. There will be at least seven priests available to hear our confessions.

If you can make the time this Monday morning after the 8:30 a.m. Mass, I welcome you to come join us in decorating the church for Christmas. Lunch will be served at the conclusion of the major part of the decorating. It’s a service of love that brings joy to so many parishioners and guests who come to our church at this time of the year. It also gladdens our volunteers.

Congratulations to Mrs. M. Vikki Delgado, our school principal, and parishioner Tim Hanley, of the faculty of St. John Paul II Academy in Boca Raton, who were properly honored at the 30th anniversary Lumen Christi Scholarship Gala in the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach for their excellence and leadership inCatholic education! Last year’s honorees were Rabih and Shannon Boueri. The gala raises tons of funds for student scholarships in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Palm Beach, benefitting a good number of deserving students, including many of our SVF students over the years.

Congratulations to the girls of our school who recently became this year ’s basketball champs of the Palm Beach Diocese, regaining their title after a 14-year wait! They made us feel so proud! Our boys also played their hearts out and should have been regional champions in soccer but through a “fluke” were squeaked out by the same team we beat last year for the championship. We are proud of all our students for their efforts in giving their best to achieve victories both in and out of the classroom. May that spirit continue to grow within them.

My apologies to all the parents and children who did not get to see St. Nick at the proposed Coffee‘n’ Donuts on Sunday, December 2nd. This was due to a miscommunication within our Knights of Columbus, so much so, that even we priests were sending families and children to Kellaghan Hall that day, not knowing that the event was cancelled. However, the Knights are making good on their promise to give the kids the opportunity to visit with St. Nick this Sunday morning after the 7:00, 8:30 and 10:00 am Masses. Coffee and donuts will be served. Bring the kids and get a chance to catch up in a pre-Christmas conversation with your fellow parishioners.