Immaculate Mary, Your Praises We Sing

12-08-2019Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This Sunday, December 8, normally would be the celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, since the 8th falls on a Sunday of Advent, which has precedence, the celebration of the solemnity is transferred to tomorrow, December 9. Although the obligation to attend Mass is therefore lifted this year, the Immaculate Conception still remains an incredibly important feast for us all.

The faithful have believed in the Immaculate Conception of Mary since the early Christians. After all, it’s only common sense that in order for Jesus – God the Son – to become human without sin (see 1 John 3:5), the woman, who not only gave birth to Him but from whom He took His humanity, must have been herself free from original sin. God redeemed Mary before her conception to make it possible to bring us Himself, Our Lord and Savior. Mary is who she is because of who Jesus is.

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Having Your Best Advent Ever

12-01-2019Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with holiday songs, seasonal sales, decorations, lights, and sometimes Advent wreaths and candles. Why? What is it that we’re celebrating? What is Advent? The following are some thoughts from Dynamic Catholic. Sign up for The Best Advent Ever at dynamiccatholic.com.

The word “advent” is derived from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming.” For Catholics, Advent is the four-week season leading up to Christmas. During Advent we anticipate the coming of Jesus. It should be a time full of reflection, excitement, and hope.

In her genius, the Church invites us during Advent to take a step back and look at who we are, what we are doing, and where Jesus fits into our lives. Jesus came into this world at that first Christmas for you, to bring meaning and deep satisfaction into your life, to fill you with lasting joy, and ultimately to bring you to eternal happiness with Him in heaven. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas. Are you ready? Our Advent traditions can help make us ready.

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Crown the Year with Thanks

11-24-2019Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Mass on Thanksgiving Day will be at 9:00am in Old St. Mary’s. What a great way to give thanks by first thanking the Creator of all. A collection is taken up at this Mass to benefit the poor and those in need.

We “crown” our liturgical year with this Solemnity of Jesus Christ the King of the Universe. Next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent and a new liturgical year. Advent is a great time to make new spiritual beginnings. Find daily inspiration at: www.dynamiccatholic.com – Best Advent Ever: Amazing Possibilities.

Also, Straw for Jesus is back for Advent! As a parish family, let’s make a comfortable bed for the Savior. For each act of love you do during the week, place a piece of straw (provided) in the heart-shaped container found at any entrance of the church. The priest will bless the straw at the Offertory, and it will be placed in the empty manger awaiting the Son of God. The straw prepares the stable, and our acts of love prepare our hearts. See the flyer for more details and suggestions for your “Acts of Love.”

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A Reflection of Heaven

11-17-2019Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

So, you’ve likely noticed the scaffolding covering the front of the church and have asked, “What’s wrong?” I’m happy to report that nothing is wrong. Something is right! From the beginning, a decorative mosaic was planned in the triangular space on the facade of the church called the pediment. Our own parishioner-artist, Alice Judd, has created this beautiful mosaic through a generous donation. The mosaic features one of the most ancient Christian symbols of the Resurrection – the peacock. Between two peacocks is a stylized chalice with a cross. Grape vines come forth from the chalice symbolizing both the Most Holy Eucharist and the Church, spreading through the world. I will provide a fuller explanation when the mosaic is ready to be revealed.

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A Saint for Our Times

11-10-2019Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

November is National Black Catholic History Month. Next Sunday we will have a special commemoration.

One African-American who is on the path to sainthood is the Venerable Fr. Augustus Tolton. Father Tolton was born into the sad life of slavery in Missouri. His baptismal record merely records him as “a child, property of Stephen Elliot; … and the child’s birthdate of April 1, 1854.” The family escaped to the North, but struggled to find acceptance there as well. Through the intervention of a kind priest and after a painful experience of rejection at an all-white Catholic school in Illinois, Augustus was admitted to another Catholic school, where he received an excellent education. When it came time for Augustus to enter seminary, sadly he faced rejection again. It would be in Rome at the Pope’s own seminary at St. John Lateran that Father Augustus would be ordained. On June 11, 2019, Pope Francis issued the declaration that Father Augustus Tolton lived a life of heroic virtue thus advancing him to the title, The Venerable Father Augustus Tolton.

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Calling Us to More

11-03-2019Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

God is always calling us to more. One of the major ways we encounter Him and learn how to be less self-centered is by serving. After all, our whole point as disciples is to imitate Jesus Himself, who said, “I have come not to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). Find out how you can serve Christ in others this Saturday at the Matthew 25: Call To Christian Service Workshop, November 9, from 8am to 2pm. It costs nothing to register and includes a light breakfast, a lunch, and free childcare. We begin appropriately enough with Holy Mass at 8:00am in the new church (please note location). The workshop follows across the street in St. Angela Hall. Saint Mary’s parish is pleased to host this event for the entire Aiken Deanery, co-sponsored by Catholic Charities.

This Thursday, November 7 at 7:00pm in the church is our annual Mass of Remembrance, sponsored by the St. Mary’s Bereavement Ministry. Each year we have a special Mass for all those who have died in the last year. All are invited to attend. A reception will follow next door in Mother Teresa Hall.

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