SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT




My Dear People,
As Christmas is coming near, our lives are going to be very busy. Christmas shopping, family gatherings, Christmas related special care for loved ones, additional commitments in the parish, parish ministry Christmas gatherings, parish ministry organisation, work related Christmas parties, year end career targets; all are going to make our lives a bit hectic. Amid all this, I have noticed many of you come to the Church with great joy! Indeed, it’s a great joy to be in the house of the Lord who strengthens us, and in whom we can do all things, as St. Paul puts it (Phil4:13).
It is important that we stay focused when life becomes busy. The Word of God will be a great comfort when life becomes tough. St. Paul reminds us again: whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord (Col 3:17). He can bring harmony and peace into the chaos. Therefore, my prayer for all of you is that you may be anchored to Christ, in this busy season as you rush from one task to the other. 

Special Thanks
The inclement weather of last weekend has kept many of you home. I was so proud of those brave ones who made it to the Church for the Mass. Special thanks to all Altar Servers, Choirs, Sacristans, Ushers, Extra – Ordinary Ministers of Communion both in the Church and to home bound, and Lectors that you have faithfully fulfilled your responsibility in a challenging day. May God Bless You all.

Renovation Updates
A renovation update was given at last weekend’s Masses, but due to the low attendance caused by freezing rain, I am going to repeat that here.
I would like to personally acknowledge with gratitude the receipt of your generous commitment during our campaign. As announced the estimated cost of our renovation is $ 5.7 million. So far, we have received pledges for $1,045,000 and deposited $550,000. We are hoping to begin the washroom renovation in the New Year and as funds arrive, we will be doing the flat roof renovation of the church.
Those who haven’t made a pledge yet, may I encourage you kindly to consider pledging according to your ability. Some might wonder or even question, why the Church always asks for money? There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes to make you feel more at home. We spend $4000 every month during the winter season for shovelling and salting to protect us from slipping and falling. Additionally, heating, lighting, cleaning, and staff serving 10,000 people every week involves huge financial commitment. Just as your home has major expenses, so does the church – only multiplied. St. Francis Xavier Church is a 20-year-old building which needs major renovation to its facilities including: the roof, parking lot, heating/air-conditioning etc. We have a strong Finance Council and Building Committee who oversee and advise in all decisions we make, to follow Archdiocesan guidelines.
If you have any questions or concerns, you are always welcome to ask! Our campaign team will also be available to answer your questions this weekend in the foyer. Once again, thank you for your generosity. Please keep your Finance, Building, and Campaign team members in your prayers.

In Christ,

Fr. James Cherickal, Pastor



FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT






My Dear Parishioners,
It was nice that Fr. Jim stepped in for few weeks to write the Pastor’s column. That was a good break; I enjoyed it; glad to give him more opportunities. (Less work for me hahaha) But the fact is, we work together as a good team. You might have noticed our parish bulletin content and lay out has modified. Fr. Joao has taken responsibility to bring the flavour of Catechism through his YOUCAT session. Very impressive. If you like the lay out modification, credit goes to Joanita, our parish secretary. Please note that the Mass intentions are published in our glass notice board in the foyer.

Hey, we are already in Advent; the new liturgical year. The Advent season invites us to prepare our hearts and minds to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas). This week you will receive an Advent Calendar to help you prepare for Christmas.

Advent Symbols

Violet or Purple is historically the main colour used for Advent because it reflects penitence, fasting, and the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the King (Jesus Christ). The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his first Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his second Advent. Some churches use other colours in recent times. For example, some churches mark the third Sunday of Advent with pink or rose, colors that represent joy.

Advent Wreath & Candles

The Advent wreath first appeared in Germany in 1839. A Lutheran minister working at a mission for children created a wreath out of the wheel of a cart. Traditionally, Advent wreaths are constructed of a circle of Evergreen branches into which four candles are inserted, representing the four weeks of Advent.  Ideally, three candles are violet, and one is rose, but white candles can also be used. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead. We will be inviting families at each Mass to light the Advent candle. If any family prefers to do it in the following Sundays, kindly see a sacristan and sign up. Please come 10 minutes before Mass to the sacristy to acknowledge your presence; so that the celebrant priest can invite you to the altar.

Wishing you all blessed Advent,

Fr. James Cherickal, Pastor

FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING





FATHER'S CORNER.....
“Now I know that you need more sleep, Fr, Jim!   Doesn’t   the Creed say: I believe in ONE, holy, catholic and apostolic church? Not twenty-four churches!”

And yet it is true. The Catholic Church is a family. We share common identity markers that make us clearly one, but also properly individual. While growing up my parents, my brother, sister, and myself shared a common last name, “Zettel”, a common house, a shared dining table, and the authority of my parents. At the same time, my brother enjoyed basketball, my sister was into dance, I liked acting, my Dad was the funny one and my Mom the prayerful one.

The Catholic Church is the same way. To be known as Catholic, a church body must share the same Faith, the same Sacraments, and the same Governance (Pope and Bishops). There are 24 churches that meet this criteria. At the same time, these churches have a distinct way of being Catholic. If you were at the priestly ordination at the parish this weekend you know how distinct the Syro-Malakara Church liturgy is.

The Latin or Roman Church, to which we belong, is by far the largest for various historical reasons. Not least of which is our sustained tradition of priestly celibacy, which has enabled the Gospel to be spread more rapidly over the globe. But this does not make us “more Catholic”. Each Church equally expresses Catholic Church in its own way. Was St. Peter in Rome more Catholic than St. Thomas in India? Was St. Maron in Lebanon more Catholic than Sts. Cyril and Methodius in the Czech Republic?
The Catholic Church is a family with a common Father, the Virgin Mary as Mother and Jesus as Saviour and 24 siblings. 
Here they are:

Western tradition: 1. Roman Catholic Church Eastern tradition: 2. Coptic Catholic Church 3. Ethiopian Catholic Church 4. Eritrean Catholic Church 5. Maronite Catholic Church
6. Syriac Catholic Church 7. Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
8. Armenian  Catholic  Church  9.  Chaldean  Catholic Church
10. Syro-Malabar Catholic Church 11. Albanian Catholic Church 12. Belarusian Greek Catholic Church 13. Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church 14. Byzantine Church in Italy (formerly Italo-Albanian Catholic Church) 15. Greek Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia 16. Greek Byzantine Catholic Church 17. Hungarian Greek Catholic Church 18. Macedonian Catholic Church 19. Melkite Greek Catholic Church 20. Romanian Greek Catholic Church 21. Russian Greek Catholic Church 22. Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church 23. Slovak Greek Catholic Church 24. Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Fr. Jim Zettel