December 7, 2014

Parish Advent Program

Wrap your Gifts in Prayer

“When I become conscious of God’s actions, no matter how dimly, then I am praying even if I do not say a word.” – William Barry S.J.

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.

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.

Gift Prayer Tags are 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.

Advent Hymn

Emmanuel is a Hebrew word that means: God is With Us

Our Advent practice of wrapping our gifts in prayer may lead us into a deeper experience of how very near the Lord is to us in every moment.

A new verse has been composed for the Hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and will be sung as part of the processional at the Eucharist during the Advent season.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,
Deep within, as gift, your Spirit dwells.
With Advent’s dawning light, draw us near.
Teach us to love as peacemakers here.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
May This Our Gift Of Prayer, Your Glory Tell.

You are invited to use these words and familiar tune as part of your prayer and reflection.

Weekend Scripture Reflection

  • Isaiah speaks God’s tender words and castsa vision of hope for the day when the Spirit of the Lord will bestow wisdom, understanding, strength, justice and peace.
  • Peter’s second letter affirms that God desires to be in relationship with all people and patiently seeks us. We are encouraged to eagerly seek the Lord’s presence.
  • John the Baptist cries out to awaken all for the renewal of mind, heart and action that prepare the way of the Lord.

Reflection on Gift Giving and Prayer

Gifts speak for us. Gifts reveal our thoughts and feelings; they communicate our friendship, love and gratitude. Gifts are freely given symbols that wrap our relationships in lasting bonds. Gifts when seen with the eyes of faith reveal God who is the Giver of all gifts.

Prayer is the gift that uncovers God’s thoughts, feelings, friendship and love for us. Prayer is the way that we express our gratitude to God. Prayer is a gift we give for each other that wraps our relationships with lasting bonds of God’s eternal grace. Prayer awakens the gifts of wisdom, encouragement, renewal and peace. Prayer is the way we unwrap and experience the gift of God in the here and now.
May this our gift of prayer, God’s Glory Tell.

Reflection Questions and Activity

  1. What are some of the gifts in my life? Who is gift?
  2. Speak to God about your gifts. Listen. What thoughts, feelings or ideas are present. Share with God.
  3. What is God showing you through your gifts?
  4. What is challenging or difficult in my life? Share this with God. What gifts from God may you need to help you with your life?
  5. What one thing can you do to share one of your gifts with another person this week?

Spirituality Workshops

We will unwrap the gift of God’s presence in our lives through Scripture, our Church’s rich tradition and by learning new ways to pray. Our session will help us to reflect and recognize our God who is always with us.

Sunday, December 7 at 11 AM – Russo Room OR
Tuesday, December 9, at 7:00 PM – Marian Hall

&

Sunday, December 14 at 11 AM – Russo Room OR
Tuesday, December 16 at 7:00 PM – Russo Room

Advent Season Opportunities

Lessons and Carols
Sunday, December 14 at 3:00PM

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Wednesday, December 17
Adoration – 7:00 PM
Reconciliation – 7:30 PM

Prayer and Service – Giving Tree

The giving tree will be placed near the front entrance of the church holding Gift Tags that specify the needed gift for people served by Catholic Family & Community Services, Martin de Porres Village, St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly and Mt. St. Joseph Children’s Center. Purchase your gift, wrap it, pray for the recipient and attach the Gift Tag.

Some of the Tags are for Food Certificate Gift Cards or other stores with various predetermined amounts. Place cash or check in the envelope and pray for the recipient. Return your gift in the collection basket and we will convert it into a food certificate. Your gift wrapped in prayer will be given in the same envelope, as a witness to your prayer.

Remember to wrap your gift in prayer. All gifts need to be returned by the 12 Noon Mass on December 21st to the Giving Tree location.

Lessons and Carols

St. Philip’s Adult Choir, the Youth Choir and the newly formed Bell Choir will present its annual Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 14, 2014 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.

A Light reception will follow in the auditorium for all!

Bible Study

Bible Study discussion on Luke’s gospel: on Monday, December 8th at 11 AM and 7 PM in the Molloy Center. All are welcome.

To read complete bulletin click here