Advent and Christmas

12-03-2021Letter from Fr. BrianRev. Brian F. Manning

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Mary Parish,

I hope everyone has recovered from the wonderful activities of Thanksgiving Day and Weekend. For many of us we saw family and friends for the first time in a long, long time and it was wonderful. Now all of us press on towards the Christmas Season. Advent is the four weeks of church time that helps us to prepare spiritually for Christmas. We are holding a Holy Hour and Benediction each Sunday evening from 7 to 8 PM in our chapel on the lower level of the church building. This would be an excellent way to spend some quiet time reflecting on the Birth of Jesus and your own daily life. Come and spend some time one of more of these Sundays.

 On Sunday, December 12th at 3 PM in our main church we will celebrate the Service of “Lessons and Carols”. Our Choir offers this extraordinary musical spiritual service for us. I realize that darkness prevents many people from attending our Sunday Holy Hour, but this service is at 3 PM and ends before 4 PM. It is a beautiful service of some scriptural passages and Advent and Christmas Hymns. Our choir constantly offers the most spiritual music at the 10:30 Mass. So I recommend you come along to this event, even children will enjoy this service. (Christmas Music, and not too long and not too short!!!). Our Christmas Crib is now set up on the Saint Rocco Plaza. It is lit after dark for you to be able to see. Perhaps you will wander by with your young children or grandchildren in the coming weeks after Mass or some other time and offer a prayer for the lost and lonely in life.

The Saint Vincent de Paul is very appreciative of all of you who have given gift cards for the Christmas Caring Tree. It is not too late to still contribute the gift cards. Our Knights of Columbus who are always looking for ways to help the needy are unceasing in their charitable work and will be offering Stop and Shop food gift cards outside church after Masses this weekend to benefit the difficult work of the St. V’s in feeding the hungry during the long cold winter.

Just a reminder: Our Monday Night Rosary Program continues via ZOOM. You can best find out the details and how to join via computer/smart phone from our website: “”. The Women’s and Men’s Spirituality programs continue and all the details are best found on our website.

I am most appreciative of those who continue to support our Parish by on-line giving, drop-by or mail-in envelopes and the baskets at the church’s doors. Slowly attendance is increasing; practically speaking the numbers increase or decrease according to various COVID announcements. Many have returned and many folks have not. Our Parish costs have increased greatly as yours have. Electricity and Heat are way up there in cost. All our church supplies etc. have greatly increased. So, I offer a profound thank you to those who are giving and also those who have increased their support. This Third Phase of the Grand Annual Collection is very important to our Parish support. Our Sunday collection overall is two thousand dollars less than it was Pre-Pandemic two years ago, yet our costs are higher now then back then.

In trying to plan a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Schedule, we have reviewed what was “successful” from last’s year’s schedule, the proportionate increase in Saturday/Sunday Mass attendance now and expressed desires of folks to attend Mass or receive Holy Communion for Christmas.  This schedule allows folks to attend Mass inside or receive Holy Communion outside at the Christmas Crib or watch Christmas Mass from our Parish on Live-stream. Many folks last year so appreciated the opportunity to receive Holy Communion for Christmas outside beside the Christmas Crib so that we are honoring that desire again this year. The schedule is:

2 PM, 4 PM and 6 PM 2-3 PM, 4-5 PM

7:30 AM and 10:30 AM 10:30 – 11:30 AM

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 26  -  10:30 AM Mass – Only Mass of the Day

Doors open one-half hour before Mass

Our plan is to “fill” the main church first, then the chapel, and then if need be the Sacred Heart Hall and Live-stream the Mass from the main church. Holy Communion will also be distributed in the chapel or Hall if those spaces are used.

Our plans are based on what folks did and expressed last year. I am sure the various opportunities to attend Mass for Christmas or receive Holy Communion at the Christmas Crib will work out extremely well.

During this Advent Season we often direct our prayers and petitions to Mary, the Mother of God and our Patroness. We also invoke Saint Rocco to intercede for healing for our sick people, especially our young.

God bless

Father Brian