December 3, 2023

Dear Parish Family,

The Advent Season prepares us for the coming of the Lord.  While the days grow shorter and colder, we prepare for the Savior who comes to kindle our hearts with His light and His love. The Advent season is filled with preparation and expectation. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas — shopping and decorating, baking, and cleaning.  Sometimes we can become so busy with these preparations that we might lose sight of the real reason for all this joy and activity: Jesus Christ, the Word Made Flesh coming to dwell among us. 

So this Advent, let’s try to preserve the spiritual focus of this special season of  preparation amid the hustle and bustle of the countdown to Christmas. In our shopping and baking, let us remember to purchase or prepare something for the poor. While we are decking the halls of our homes, let us not forget to prepare a peaceful place in our hearts wherein our Savior may come to dwell.

While there are always four Sundays of Advent, sometimes the fourth week gets cut short depending on when December 25 falls.  That happens this year. December 24 is the Fourth Sunday of Advent in the morning as well as Christmas Eve in the evening. To help us fulfill our obligations to attend both Sunday Mass  as well as Mass for Christmas, we have added a 6:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday, December 23 but will not have the 11:30 a.m. Mass  Sunday, December 24. Our Masses for Christmas will then be on Christmas Eve at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., 12 Midnight, and 10:00 a.m. on Christmas Day. Although Advent is shorter this year, its grace abounds beyond measure. Let’s make the most of it! I look forward to making this Advent journey with you!

As you know, Bryan Pritchard will “retire” on December 8, 2023. Bryan has been invaluable to Good Shepherd over the last four years. Bryan joined our team three weeks before the COVID Shutdown went into effect. Bryan’s background in communications and media made our transition to “virtual church” seamless. His creative and critical thinking guided us through very challenging times. His background in management and business brought us to a favorable cash position. His ease in building relationships renewed a sense of community in our parish. Bryan has been instrumental in righting the ship at Good Shepherd. He has served and led with distinction and humility amid personal tragedy and loss. Although his retirement will be a significant loss to us, we cannot help but be thankful for all he has been and done for us. Bryan will continue to be part of the Good Shepherd family. We wish him all the best as he begins this new chapter. And you will still see him around at church and our activities/events.

Grace and peace,

Father Neil Sullivan