Announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ

This is a catch all letter! As I previously mentioned in my bulletin letters, the schedule for the construction project is all over the place. Thank you for your patience and understanding. It will be done when the workers get everything done. Please keep them in your prayers.

Thanks to all who participated in the blessing of the bells last week. Despite the downpour, it was beautiful. We have 14 bells that will soon be installed in our 120 ft. bell tower. Ten of the bells came from St. George Catholic Church in Shenandoah, PA. The bells were cast in 1907 by McShane Bell Foundry of Glen Burnie, MD. St. George Parish was the first Lithuanian Catholic parish in the U.S. The church was closed in 2010. Four of the bells are new and were cast by the same foundry that cast the original bells. The largest of the bells is 54.5” in diameter and weighs 3,100 lbs.!

In the past, the blessing of bells was called a “baptism.” Because the bells were blessed with Holy Water, anointed with Sacred Chrism and given a saint’s name. Today, we no longer anoint the bells with chrism, but they are still given a “Baptismal Name”. The four new bells were named for the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael. These names were chosen because our Blessed Mother and the archangels all announced the Good News of the Lord! The word “angel” means messenger.

We want the bells to ring out and announce the good news of God’s love here in this part of Houston. We hope the sound of the bells and the sight of the bell tower (campanile) will be a reminder that we are all called by our baptism to announce the Good News of Jesus to the whole world!

This is Gift Giving Sunday. This is always a marvelous day at SJV! In addition to the gifts for the children that are brought up at the Masses this weekend, this is also the time of year our parish sends out its annual grants. Our parish is blessed and we share our blessings. We make two types of grants: Annual Grants and Sustaining Grants. The annual grants go to 30 different entities in the Houston area as a gift of love from our parish to support them in the ministry of caring for the poor, healing the sick, educating youth and sharing the faith. Our sustaining grants are larger financial commitments paid throughout the year by which we assist our sister parishes, area Social Service agencies and Catholic Schools. These grants are in addition to our own many works of charity provided through our Social Service Ministries. None of this is possible without God’s grace and your financial support throughout the year. These grants are funded by the proceeds from our bazaar and from our weekly stewardship. Thank you for your continued love and support of our parish and our mission of Living Faith, Changing Lives and Making a Difference!

As Advent is a penitential season (that is why the vestments are purple), it is good to go to Confession. We will have three additional evenings when Confessions will be heard: Dec 20, 21 & 22. We are working diligently to try to find additional priests to assist with Confessions on those nights. For additional times you may also want to check our neighboring parishes as well. There will be no Confessions on Saturday, Dec. 24.

And BTW: If you wish to have a Merry Christmas, Have a Holy Advent. If you desire a fulfilling life, Be Holy. If you wish eternal happiness, Live a Holy Life! The Key to Happiness is Holiness! And Slow Down and Pray More!

In Pace Christi,

Fr. Troy Gately