From the desk of the Pastor……
Harvest season is a time to celebrate the abundance of God’s provisions in our lives. From the food we eat, to the shelter we have, the clothes we wear, and the family and friends we cherish. As the leaves begin their beautiful transformation and the crisp cool air roars through, we are reminded that God is our ultimate provider.
We often get lost in the busyness of our lives we forget to “take the time” and be thankful for each day we are given. We are thankful you are a part of our spiritual family here at St. Stephen’s. Happy Thanksgiving!
As we reflect on the past season we begin to prepare for the new. The Christmas season is a special time of reflection, a time to be grateful for all our blessings throughout the year. In a world where we often take things for granted, it is essential to take time and be thankful for the glory of God’s unfailing love. For to us, a child is born, Christ Jesus, he will be called Wonder Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.
Christmas Mass Schedule:
Saturday, December 23, 2023, at 4:30pm — 4th Sunday of Advent
Sunday, December 24, 2023, at 4:30pm/7pm/10pm — Christmas Eve
Monday, December 25, 2023, at 9am only — Christmas Day
Let us pray: Good and gracious God, we come before you today united with all who give you thanks and praise. Help me become a better Catholic by attending mass more often and encountering you my God, in the Holy Eucharist. Help me become what I have “received” in the tabernacle of my body. Help me become a better spouse, parent, co-worker, friend, and God fearing disciple. Merry Christmas!
With Best Wishes As You Gather With Your Spiritual Family and Friends!
In Faith & In Christ Jesus,
Father Robert and St. Stephen’s Catholic Church
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It’s difficult to maintain a proper disposition engaging in the liturgical season of Advent in our secular environment. Advent is that period of preparation for Christmas. It will begin this coming Sunday, Dec. 3, and is the beginning of the new liturgical year.
I say it is difficult to engage in Advent because our secular society is already celebrating Christmas. However…
It is not the Christmas of the Son of God entering the world. Instead, it is the Christmas of store sales, beginning with Black Friday, which does anything but embrace a sense of brotherly love.
It is not the Christmas of Angelic choirs. Instead, it is the Christmas of office parties and self-indulgence.
It is not the Christmas of the visit to a poor manger in Bethlehem. Instead, it is the start of visits to Santa Claus by children with lists of toys that have been commercially presented to them as something they could not do without.
All this begins not the week or two before Christmas, but right after Thanksgiving.
The Church in her wisdom gives us the Season of Advent so that we can prepare ourselves and join with those who have a sense of the longing, waiting for the Messiah to enter the world. It’s hard to hear the strain of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” over the music of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Now believe me, I am not a curmudgeon. I enjoy parties, festivities and singing as much as anybody. However, I remember some wise advice that it is important not to anticipate. Advent gives us an opportunity to listen to God. If we fail to listen, we will miss God’s message for us. They say that success begins with preparation – we need to take the steps necessary to prepare for the coming of Christ, and timing is everything.
It is not all somber during Advent. There are moments in the liturgical calendar that call us to pause and celebrate. We will hang those stockings for the Feast of St. Nicholas (Dec. 6). We will celebrate the national patronal Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) and the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec. 12). There are also the ethnic celebrations of the daily movement to Bethlehem, such as Las Posadas (Mexican), and Simbang Gabi (Filipino). But all of these celebrations augment the disposition we must have in looking forward to the day of Christ’s coming.
Implement Advent’s spirituality and carve out a time for yourselves in a world that is silent to God’s presence. Here are some suggestions: Say a short prayer daily focusing your attention on the longing for Christ’s coming; seek the sacrament of reconciliation and the power of sacramental grace preparing your soul for Christmas; attend a Mass outside of Sunday as a sign of thanksgiving for the gift of faith; perform a charitable deed as a gift to the Christ child; call a friend and let them know of your gratitude for their friendship; say a prayer together with your family, focusing on God’s love in your lives. The preparation you make for Christ’s coming will assure the success of the celebration.
In every liturgical season, embrace the command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Every Wednesday, Archbishop Listecki shares a brief, encouraging video message with topics ranging from holy days to favorite movies.
You can also find the videos on our Facebook and Instagram pages, and YouTube channel.