December 18, 2016

Parish Advent Program

Wrap your Gifts in Prayer

Unwrap the gift of God in Prayer. In the midst of Advent and Christmas busyness, we offer you a way to pray and to discover our God who is with us. Each season the preparation for gift giving can be a source of stress. This year can be different. Our Christmas practice of gift giving is intended to be a visible symbol of love and Christian service in action. Why not use our gift giving as a form of prayer? Wrapping your gift in prayer can add a spiritual dimension to an ordinary task.

Wrap Your Gift in Prayer

As you choose your gift, ask for God’s guidance and bring a prayerful awareness to the exchange. When you actually wrap your gift, whether in wrapping paper or in a gift bag, pray for the recipient. Ask God to fill them with light, love and the peace of Christmas. Cards and electronic greetings may also be wrapped in prayer.

Prayer Method Choices
Imagine – visualize the person for whom you pray. Picture the Lord blessing them.
Speak – pray out loud, “Lord surround (name) with your light; fill him/her with your peace.”
Sing – a Christmas carol.
Gesture – dedicate the use of your hand motions in wrapping as your prayer.
Hear – simply repeat the person’s name knowing that the Lord hears our every word.
Recite – a pre-written prayer, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, Rosary…
Act – reach out to someone in need of the gift of your care.
Bless – For difficult relationships pray: Lord bless (name) and transform me to set me free.

Sharing your Prayer with a Gift Tag

After wrapping your gift in prayer attach a gift tag that will be provided for you.

Witnessing to your prayer by means of a Gift Tag is like giving an additional gift because it may lead the receiver to become more aware of God’s presence in her or his own life.
This weekend Gift Prayer Tags will be available at the doors of the church. Attach the Gift Prayer Tag to a gift, group of gifts or gift bag. You may also wish to duplicate the gift tag sheets on your own computer by visiting our website www.stphilip.org.

Deeds Done with Love: Wrap all work in prayer
By Jean Vanier
One of the signs that a community is alive can be found in material things. Cleanliness, furnishings, the way flowers are arranged and meals prepared are among the things which reflect the quality of people’s hearts. Some people may find material chores irksome; they would prefer to use their time to talk and be with others. They haven’t yet realized that the thousand and one small things that have to be done each day, the cycle of dirtying and cleaning, were given by God to enable us to communicate through matter. Cooking and washing floors can become a way of showering our love for others. If we see the humblest task in this light, everything can become communication and so celebration – because it is celebration to be able to give.

It is important, too, to recognize the humble and material gifts that others bring and to thank them for them. Recognition of the gifts of others is essential in community. All it takes is a smile and two small words – “Thank you.”

When we put love into what we do, it becomes beautiful, and so do the results. There is a lack of love in a dirty or untidy community. But the greatest beauty is in simplicity and lack of affectation, where everything is oriented toward a meeting of people among themselves with God. The way we look after the house and garden shows whether we feel really at home, relaxed, and peaceful.

The house is the nest; it is like an extension of the body. Sometimes we tend to forget the role of the environment in liberation and inner growth.

Our lives in L’Arche are disarmingly simple. We often say that half the day is taken up with dirtying things and the other half with cleaning up! That is not entirely true because we also have work, celebrations, meals, and prayer. But that does say something about the littleness and ordinariness of our lives.

Jean Vanie, born in 1928 is a Canadian Catholic theologian and the founder of the L’Arche community.

The Giving Tree

Thank you for helping with our annual Giving Tree! In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “it is in giving that we receive.”
If you have not already returned your gift, make sure to drop it off in the vestibule by the 12:00 PM Mass on Sunday, December 18. Don’t forget to attach the tag to the gift!
All gifts need to be returned by the 12:00 PM Mass on December 18.

Advent Opportunities

Christmas Pageant
Sunday, December 18 following 8:00 AM Mass in the Auditorium with refreshments

Lessons and Carols
The Youth Choir, Adult Choir and Handbell Choir of St. Philip the Apostle will present the Annual Service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 18 at 3:00 PM in the Church. Admission is free; however, a free-will offering is appreciated to help support the efforts of the Music Ministry program. Please join us for an afternoon of readings from scripture and singing of hymns and carols in celebration of this most joyous season.

Bible Study
Bible Study continues during the Advent Season on Mondays at 11 AM in the Molloy Center. Our final session for this year will be on Monday, December 19th.

PRAYER OPPORTUNITY: MEDITATION HOUR

“Lead me, Lord!”
Begin your year on a path of prayer. Join us on Thursday, January 5 at 7:00 PM in the Russo Room for prayer, guided meditation and reflection.

RCIA

Right of Christian Initiation of Adults
Our next session of the RCIA is Monday, January 9th at 7 PM in the Russo Room. We will discuss and reflect on the Gospel of John. All are welcome and invited to join us. For more information about RCIA please call Donna Scancarella at (973) 779-6200.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION

Religious Education Classes schedule
Grades 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6: December 18, January 8
Grade 2: December 18, January 8, 22
Grades 7, 8: January 22
Confirmation Grade 9, 10: January 22

MINISTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS

Widow/Widowers
• The Monday Night Group: January 9th & 23rd at 6:30 PM in the Left Conference of the Molloy Center.
• The New & Recently Bereaved Group: Wednesday, January 11th & 25th at 7:00 PM.

Columbiette Blanket Ministry
The next meeting will be on Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 9:45 AM in the Molloy Center. All crafters are welcome. Blankets are donated to hospitalized children, chemotherapy patients, needy children, and the homebound of the community. For donations or further information, call Cathie Murtha at 973-471-1265.

ST. PHILIP PREPARATORY SCHOOL

SAINT PHILIP PREPARATORY SCHOOL

Open House
Catholic Schools Week
January 30th – February 3rd, 2017
Tours by Appointment
973-779-4700

To read complete bulletin click here