November 22, 2020

This weekend, throughout the USA the annual Collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is taken up in parishes. CCHD was founded in 1969 by the US Bishops to end the cycle of poverty in the United States by funding organizations that help people help themselves. With the tradition of improving education, housing situations, and economic development, CCHD continues to make a positive impact on communities throughout the country. Your contribution helps defend human dignity and helps those living on the margins of our society. Envelopes for this collection will be found in the Sunday bulletin. Or you may make a donation by placing your offering in the boxes found at the exit to church marked, Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

This weekend we also celebrate the feast of Christ the King and the end of another Liturgical Year.  On Thursday this week, we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a special Mass at 10:00am. What better way to begin a day of thanksgiving than to come and participate in this special Mass of Thanksgiving here at St. Peter's. If you plan on attending be sure and call the church office and reserve a place for you at the 10:00am Mass on Thanksgiving. The church will open at 9:00am and close for the day at the conclusion of the Mass. There are no confessions or other services scheduled on Thanksgiving Day.

Next Sunday, November 29, we begin a new Church year with the season of Advent. The purple of Advent is used to remind ourselves to prepare for the coming season of Christmas. This Advent and Christmas season will be very different than what many of us remember from previous years. The continuing threat of the COVID-19 virus and the need to implement safe guidelines for the health of everyone means significant changes in the schedule for Advent/Christmas programs and liturgical services here at St. Peter's.

Please note that the Archdiocese of Chicago, due to the on-going danger from the COVID-19 virus pandemic, continues the dispensation from the obligation of Sunday and Holy Day Masses for all Catholics within the Archdiocese of Chicago. Those of the faithful who are unable to participate in-person at Masses, due to age, health reasons, travel difficulties, etc. are encouraged to participate via a livestream/broadcast and offer an Act of Spiritual Communion, in union with the entire People of God in the archdiocese and throughout the world in this time of stress and difficulty.

Here is some advance information for Advent and Christmas services that we will be able to offer here at St. Peter's Church during December.

CONFESSIONS - Because of City and Archdiocesan virus and health safety restrictions we will NOT be able to offer Penance Services during Advent as we have in previous years. Beginning Monday, December 14 we will have two reconciliation rooms and two priests available for confessions. Confessions are scheduled Monday-Saturday from 10:30am until 3:00pm the week of December 14-19 and from 10:30am until 3:00pm from December 21-23. Please note there are no confessions scheduled for December 24. On December 24 the church is closed for cleaning and decorating and will open at 3:00pm for the 4:00pm Christmas Vigil Mass. If you plan to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation at St. Peter's during Advent be sure to mark these days and times in your calendar.

FEASTS OF MARY - Tuesday, December 8 is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of our country. We will celebrate the feast with Masses at 11:40am and 1:15pm. On Saturday, December 12 is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and Respect Life. We will celebrate this feast with a special Mass on Saturday, December 12 at 12noon.

As with all Masses celebrated in churches at this time, you are asked to call and reserve a place in church before coming to church. All churches are required to have seating spaces designated with social distance and are capacity limited for the number of people who may attend Mass. Even though St. Peter's Church is a large space we can only admit 25% of our capacity of people for Masses. Please remember that even with the holiday season Masses we can only allow a certain number of people in to church in order to help stop the spread of the corona virus. So remember to tell your friends who might be planning on attending Mass during the holidays to plan ahead and reserve a space in whatever church they plan to worship in during the Christmas season.

The annual Friars and Friends Christmas Concert will be "Live Streamed" on You Tube this year on Thursday, December 10 from 5:00-6:00pm. Though we can't open our doors to have you present for this concert we hope you will join us virtually as we share holiday music and reflections to help foster the holiday spirit. More details elsewhere in the bulletin.

We are hoping to offer some Advent reflections via You Tube or Zoom before Christmas. Details will be found in coming bulletins and on our web page and Facebook page. During Advent you will also find a brief insert in the Sunday bulletins that offer reflections and ideas for the Advent season.

If you are looking for some books to read during the Advent/Christmas season visit our bookstore/gift shop for some good reading materials. If you are wondering what to read ask Lisa or Steve in the store for some suggestions. The gift shop also has a number of Christmas items that would make an excellent gifts for someone you know.

CHRISTMAS MASSES - Due to the COVID restrictions we will be offering a modified schedule for Christmas Masses here at St. Peter's Church.  Though we are not able to have a choir and many of our other traditions this year we will have Christmas songs at Masses and a cantor. Our Christmas Masses will be celebrated as noted below.

Thursday, Christmas Eve, December 24 at 4:00pm and 7:00pm. We are hoping to be able to live stream the 4pm Mass, especially for the elderly and those who health will prevent them from attending Mass.

Friday, Christmas Day, December 25 Masses will be at 9:00am and 11:00am. The church will be closed after the 11am Mass for the day.

Thursday, December 31, New Year's Eve Mass at 5:00pm

Friday, January 1, 2021, New Year's Day Mass at 10:00am

We will share more with you about Advent and Christmas in the coming weeks. In light of the rapid rise in the spread of the COVID virus please remember to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and maintain a safe & healthy distance from others. Please keep in your prayers those who are suffering because of this virus and those who have died. Say some extra prayers for our health care workers and all who work in hospitals and nursing homes or those taking care of their loved ones at home.

The upcoming Advent/Christmas Season will be unlike any most of us have ever experienced. However, may we each keep in mind what Christmas is all about..... God becoming human and offering to us eternal life. May the Christmas lights that are sure to appear and twinkle in the night, remind us that in the darkness of this pandemic, the disruption of our lives and the pain of a dangerous illness, our God comes among us in shining light as a defenseless infant and shows us how to live. May each of us do all we can this Advent/Christmas season to show the true Christmas spirit to one another....that of the love of Jesus.

Fr. Michael