Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As we inch closer to celebrating the birth of our Lord, we hear during this fourth Sunday of Advent the announcement from the angel Gabriel to Mary, a message of great joy and hope. The Annunciation demonstrates the willingness of a peasant girl to embrace the hope that God offers, even when she is unsure of how the future will unfold. Mary responds with great and profound faith. Her life will be forever altered from what she may have originally hoped. By answering God’s call within this encounter with the angel Gabriel, Mary models for us an openness to be an instrument for God to bring hope into the darkness that can cloud our human experience.

We are truly blessed to be called children of God. This blessing comes with a commission to be part of salvation history. Our participation may not be known through an encounter with an angel but is just as real. Through our baptism we have been entrusted with our faith; a faith that we are to share and spread to every nation. This task when fully accepted, like Mary, will alter the paths our lives as well. We cannot take this responsibility lightly. Let us like Mary, trust in the task to which God calls us. We can be confident that we are not alone through all of life’s ups and downs. This Christmas season will be different from past years, but let us embrace its blessings and challenges as a profound expression of our participation, at this moment, to bring the message of great joy into our families, church, and community. Mary’s “yes” opened for her and us a new experience of God’s love. Our “yes” to the importance of Christmas has the potential to change the lives of those we know and do not know. It’s a challenging “yes,” but with God’s help and the intercession of Mary we can do our part to make known the message of the angel Gabriel.

As we plan for the week ahead, let us remember to discern our participation in the Christmas celebration. In this discernment, let us remember the importance of being part of the solution to the coronavirus and helping to stop its spread.

Virtual Masses available online:

Saint Clement              December 24   4:00 pm

In-person Masses:

Saint Clement              December 24   4:00 pm, 6:00 pm. 12:00 midnight*

                                    December 25   10:00 am

*Religious celebrations are exempt from the State of Ohio curfew order.

Please remember that the obligation to attend Christmas Mass in person is lifted. Those who attend Mass virtually are encouraged to gather prayerfully with their family and participate with rejoicing hearts in their spiritual communion with the whole church. Space is limited for those that choose to attend in-person masses. Face coverings are required and maintaining social distance is expected. Public safety should be the driving force of our participation in the Christmas celebrations.

As we reflect on how to celebrate Christmas safely, I am deeply grateful for the support that so many parishioners and guests have offered to our parishes to sustain the working of the church. Your financial support continues to be an asset to the parish community. All contributions help continue the call that we have as a parish to proclaim the angel’s message of hope. There are many ways to support the parish, including the online service available from our parish website. Parish support can also be dropped off at the parish office, sent via mail, or left in the baskets at the end of Mass. Thank you for your Christmas offering.

These last few days of Advent should not be rushed. Let us enjoy them and pray with them as we anticipate the coming feast of our redemption. Throughout our lives, let the manifestation of the incarnation of Jesus be heard by those that most need comfort.

Joyful Christmas!!
Fr. Workman