New Year's Day is not just the start of a new year, it's also a Holy Day of Obligation in the Catholic Church! On January 1st we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, a liturgical feast day honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary's motherhood in the wake of the birth of the baby Jesus Christ. This holiday is also the Octave of Christmas or the 8th day of Christmas. As Mary's fiat reminds the faithful: "Be it done unto me according to Thy word." A solemnity is the highest ranking holy day in the Church calendar. As a family of believers here at St. Julia, let us begin the new year together, in prayer as we turn to our blessed Mother for her intercession as she takes our prayers and petitions for the year ahead to her son, our savior Jesus Christ!
Welcome to our Christmas Celebrations! I’m so glad that you have joined us for this most joyous of occasions here at St. Julia Church.
The birth of Jesus is the greatest work of God because it illuminates for us God’s great love for each and everyone of us. God took on our human flesh, becoming one of us, by sending his son Jesus Christ to walk with us and to give us such a beautiful glimpse into the heart of our creator. Our salvation and eternal happiness rest in the loving arms of Jesus Christ. It is with open arms that we welcome you here at St. Julia Church. This caring community of believers is a place where all are welcome, and it is my prayer that every time you join us you are drawn into the great mystery of our faith – a faith centered on Jesus Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, the word made flesh. This is what we celebrate with the birth of Jesus – the Prince of Peace.
It is my prayer that you experience and encounter the peace of Christ when you join us for Mass, and take that gift of peace into your homes, schools, places of work, and out into our world.
May the peace of Christ be with you this Christmas Day, and may our loving God bless each of you and those that you love, today and always.
Christmas music has been on the radio since the beginning of November. Decorations have been up in our homes and in the malls for some time now. Yet, in the Church, our focus has been on one thing. The coming of Christ, who is now near, very near. When we gather, we have paused to take in the miracle of this historic event in salvation history. The Advent wreath, a powerful symbol of patient waiting, has been our simple decoration in our Church. For us, disciples of Christ, Christmas begins with the birth of Christ at Christmas. This is in fact when the 12 days of Christmas begin. This is when we joyously begin singing our Christmas music. It continues through to the Epiphany, the manifestation of Christ. This is what Christmas is all about. As we make our final Christmas preparations, let us find peace in the beauty of this season, and what this season is truly about.
This is our faith, this is what we believe!
That the distance Joseph and Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem was a journey of 112 km and took them approximately 3 days by donkey? That’s almost the exact distance from St. Julia Church to the CN Tower!
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!
The CWL bake sale committee owes a large debt of gratitude to many. We are grateful to all who gave so generously of their time and talent to decorate, to bake (and bake and bake) and to assist with sales before and after all Masses. We are grateful also to those who donated prizes for our draw table and items for the sale table. Finally we are grateful to the many, many, many who stopped downstairs after each Mass to make purchases and support our St Julia Catholic Women’s League. We thank all of you.
That the 3rd Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday (Rejoice Sunday)? I will admit that I only captured the meaning of this Sunday in Advent when I entered the Seminary. The entrance antiphon of today’s Mass says “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near” Advent is a time of waiting, anticipation, a time for a deeply religious experience – a time of hope and renewal- a penitential time, preparing for the coming of the Lord. But today, Gaudete ("rejoice") Sunday addresses the joy of Christ’s coming. The time is near, and we should be prepared, but are joyful in anticipation of the great gift of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity coming to redeem us. As we are now at the midpoint of Advent, let us rejoice, and take comfort in knowing that our Lord is indeed near.
That the sacrament of reconciliation washes away our sins and reconciles us with God? I personally think that this is one of the most beautiful sacraments, for just like erasing a chalk board, once we have confessed our sins and have completed our penance, in the eyes of God, these sins no longer exist, and our souls are wiped clean. What a wonderful feeling! The result? We return to a state of grace, and once again share in the supernatural life of God. I have had the privilege to work with our Grade 2 classes in preparing for this beautiful sacrament, and it has been a strong reminder for me of the power of this sacrament. One student after receiving their first reconciliation proclaimed “I am sin free!” Wow! In the coming weeks our parish will have multiple opportunities to celebrate this sacrament in preparing ourselves for the coming of our Lord this Christmas. Won’t you join me?
From Our Pastor