November 6 through December 24
The season of Advent is a sacred time of year during which Christians prepare their hearts and minds to celebrate the miracle of the Incarnation at Christmas. In most western churches, the season of Advent lasts for only four weeks, beginning around the start of December.
Unfortunately, in our consumer-driven culture , the seasons of Advent and Christmas have been drowned out amidst the "holiday shopping season." by the time traditional 4-week Advent arrives, we have already been bombarded with carols and lights and presents and Santa Claus for weeks on end.
To counteract this, churches like St. Mary's are returning to the observance of a 7-week season of Advent. This allows us to spend more time in prayer and quiet contemplation at a time when we need it most. For more information, check out http://www.theadventproject.org/index.php/rationale/
When the Shopping Season Begins...
Combat the frenzy by using an online devotional Advent Calendar
AdventWord is an inspirational online Advent calendar. Beginning November 27, our community helps deepen our understanding of the coming of Jesus into the world through the practices of shared meditation and prayer. Come pray with us!
There are many ways to participate in AdventWord! And all of them are correct!
Read and pray over the daily emailed meditation during Advent.
Connect and discuss the day's word with other disciples on our social media pages.
Share your own personal meditation to inspire others—whether visual or written. Haikus and poems, paintings, photographs, personal reflections, and more are all encouraged.
AdventWord is an offering of Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church. Sign up at https://adventword.org/en/home/
Greening the Church
Beginning Saturday, December 19, 2022
Decorating the church for the Christmas cycle (Christmas Eve through Candlemas on February 2) will take place over the week days before Christmas. Great fun will be had by all...food will be provided. To volunteer, just contact Fr. Craig (646-262-2047 or firstname.lastname@example.org) and he will be glad to put you to work...join us!
A Visit from St. Nicholas
Sunday, December 11, 2022 after Mass
This year's visit from St. Nicholas will be on Sunday, December 11, 2022. If you would like to donate candy for the occasion, Lynn Boddy would be glad to receive it—before passing it along to St. Nicholas for distribution.
If you have children in your life who would enjoy encountering St. Nicholas, feel free to bring them with you on December 11. Everyone is welcome!
Christmas at St. Mary's
Children's Nativity Pageant
Sunday, December 18, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.
This beloved tradition continues again this year at Mass on the Seventh Sunday of Ancient Advent. Join the families of our children as the recount the story of Jesus' birth with great passion and charm. The liturgy includes a Low Mass with hymns and carols.
Christmas Eve Festival High Mass
Saturday, December 24, 2022 at 9:30 p.m.
A blaze of candles, the ancient Proclamation of the Birth of Christ, a procession to the Crèche, and some of our very favorite hymns will highlight this year's Solemn High Mass on the Eve of the Feast of the Nativity—commonly called Christmas Eve.
This is an excellent opportunity to invite family and friends to a liturgy which epitomizes St. Mary's ability to combine both solemnity and exuberant joy as we give thanks that God sent his Son to us as the ultimate sign of his amazing Love.
But wait! There's more!
The joyful pageantry of the Mass will be followed by our annual and very festive Christmas Bash which will feature the Vicar's Apotheosis of the Egg-Nog—as well as a selection of sweet and savory tidbits to delight every palate.
Would you appreciate a ride to Midnight Mass?
For many people, this Liturgy is one of the high points of the year, and it's a wonderful opportunity to join with family and friends as we offer our hearts and lives to our new-born Redeemer and King.
So, in order to make it possible for everyone to attend, we are coordinating rides for those who would like to join us for Midnight Mass, and the wonderfully festive Christmas Bash which follows.
We have a fund dedicated to underwriting round trip Uber and Lyft rides for those who prefer not to drive at night. Just contact the office at 602-354-7540, or drop an email to email@example.com and we'll be glad to help coordinate transport.
So please don't let transportation be a reason for staying home. We look forward to having you celebrate the Feast of the Nativity with us this year!
Christmas Morning Mass
Sunday, December 25, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.
Our traditional Christmas morning Eucharist is a smaller scale, more intimate liturgy—the perfect way to offer ourselves as a gift to our Lord.
Feast of the Holy Name::Solemn Mass
Sunday, January 1, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.
Epiphany I::The Baptism of Christ
Sunday, January 8, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.
Facing East during Advent
For almost two thousand years, Christians have been looking east—the direction of the dawning light, the direction from which Christ will appear at his second coming.
All Christians looked towards the east during public worship—including the Celebrant of the Mass. There are many implications of this way of celebrating the Eucharist, but this is what it emphatically is not: "the priest turning his back on the people."
Since Advent spirituality is about the eschaton—the end of time, the "making all things new" at Christ's second coming in glory—this is an especially appropriate time to allow the three sacred ministers to join the congregation as we all "look eastward" in body, soul, and spirit.
We will return to west-facing celebrations on Christmas Eve.
Weekly Bible Study
Tuesdays 7:00 p.m. by Zoom
The theme is "Exploring the Apocrypha." Read more here (clicking the link will take you to the page). This is moderated by Br. Lee Hughes, OP, our resident Dominican. Please contact him for more details at 602-541-3159 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have now with Ancient Advent begun to wrap up the series. In November we will be handling the apocalyptic literature by reading 2 Esdras. In December, we will coincide with the Jewish celebration of Hannukah by reading excerpts from 1 and 2 Maccabees.
Everyone is welcome!
Children and Youth
Sundays at 10:30 a.m.
Lectionary-based learning and activities for children and youth are available during the Liturgy of the Word. Young people join the service during the Exchange of the Peace.
Rehearsals for the Children's Nativity Pageant
Rehearsals for the pageant will begin soon. Watch this space for more information. A few adult volunteers are needed to make sure the various scenes go smoothly—talk with Lynn Boddy, our Licensed Children's Minister, if you'd like to help out.
The Alms Fund :: Helping parishioners and others in immediate need
The number of people calling—or appearing at our doors—needing help with rent, water or electric or gas bills, food, auto repair, etc., has greatly increased since the height of the pandemic. These are tough times for many of us, and the Alms Fund is there to help...sometimes. You can help us help those who despair that their electricity will be cut off, or that they will be evicted, or that their children won't have the nourishment they need to grow and flourish, or they need a nice outfit in order to interview for a job, or...or...or...
You can help St. Mary's respond in ways Jesus commanded us to respond by donating to St. Mary's Alms Fund. Just write a check with a memo "Alms Fund," or if you make your donations electronically, you can designate an extra donation to St. Mary's with a similar memo.
Help us help St. Mary's People and many others in immediate need so they have time to seek longer term solutions. Thank you so very much!
Did you know that you can make a contribution to St. Mary's while you shop? Just go to Amazon at smile.amazon.com and choose Saint Mary's as your charity. Then for every purchase you make, a small percentage will be donated to our parish!
Sign Up for Diocesan News
The Episcopal Diocese of Arizona publishes a weekly email news letter—which includes thoughts about a variety of topics by Bishop Reddall—and a quarterly magazine. These are free to anyone in our congregation who wishes to receive them. All you have to do is sign up!
Just enter azdiocese.org/newsletter/ in your web browser and follow the link. These are excellent ways to keep abreast of happenings around the diocese and the larger church.
Subscribe to our email list for once-a-week announcements, reflections, and news items from St. Mary's. It's a great way to stay in touch with what's happening around the parish!