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Father Bob Writes – December 8, 2013

Below is an excerpt from a letter by Archbishop Prendergast for Advent

Advent begins this weekend and with it an opportunity for our Church of Ottawa to experience the joy of the Lord as we turn to Him to be lifted up and encouraged in our journey through life.  Pope Francis has expressed this longing for joy among God’s people in his recently-released apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).

I encourage you to take up a prayerful reading of this document during this coming season of grace in preparation for the celebration of Our Saviour’s birth.  For our people, I suggest quoting or making known to them the following expression of the need we have for spiritual renewal, as we invite our people to experience the grace of being renewed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and as we prepare for our own celebration of sacramental confession for Christmas:

“I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day.  No one should think that the invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord” (Paul VI, Gaudete in Domino).  The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that He is already there, waiting for us with open arms.  Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you.  I need you.  Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace.”   How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost!  Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking His mercy.  Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22) has given us His example; He has forgiven us seventy times seven.  Time and time again He bears us on His shoulders.  No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love.  With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, He makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew.  Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will.  May nothing inspire more than His life, which impels us onwards!” (Evangelii Gaudium, #3)

A reminder that confessions are available every Saturday evening in Advent from 3.30 pm – 4.15pm or by appointment (just phone the rectory office) There will also be the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation during our Penitential Service at our parish mission, Wednesday 18th December , when several priests will be available for confessions.