The bustling of crowds and the excitement of the holidays is all around us as we prepare for Christmas. Our calendars are filled with concerts, parties, and various activities meant to add joy to this season. Yet, we cannot only prepare our homes for Christmas — we must also prepare our hearts to welcome the Christ Child, the true reason for the season. One way that we can intentionally do that is to attend our Parish Advent Mission.
“The most important thing we can do during Advent is to slow down and focus on preparing our hearts for the birth of our Lord Jesus,” says Jenna Danos, a member of our Parish Leadership Team. “Attending a retreat or mission is a wonderful way to do that.”
This year, we are excited to be opening our doors to the entire diocese as we spiritually prepare for Christmas at the Parish Advent Mission. This series of events will take place on Dec. 12-15 at St. Rita’s.
“The Parish Advent Mission is particularly wonderful because we are offering three consecutive evenings in which we can gather as a community, take a break from our regular routines during the week, and focus on growing in our faith — and through a different way each night!” Jenna says. “First, through music; second, through hearing someone share their own faith story; and finally, through encountering the Lord’s Mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
The Advent Mission kicks off with our annual Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass and celebration on Tuesday, Dec. 12. The night begins with a procession outside around our campus and into the church, where we will celebrate Mass. Following Mass, our Hispanic community organizes and prepares a large celebration in our Family Life Center.
On Wednesday, Dec. 13, we welcome Sarah Kroger as a part of her Light Has Come Tour. She will be leading us in praise and worship during an Advent concert, and her husband, Dom, will open with a short talk. On Thursday, Dec. 14, Paul Zucarelli will give a talk and share his own personal testimony of how he experienced a glimpse of heaven. Friday, Dec. 15 will be the final night of the Parish Advent Mission, beginning with a Penance Service to give everyone the opportunity to cleanse our souls to prepare to welcome our Savior into our hearts. Following the Penance Service, we will be celebrating our annual Christmas Party in the Family Life Center with lots of food, loads of fun, and lasting fellowship.
“In today’s world, it is so important for us to spend time preparing our hearts for Christmas!” Jenna says. “The media and retail stores are constantly pushing us to start decorating for the holidays earlier, playing Christmas music right away, and buying our gifts as soon as possible. Slowing down requires a sacrifice — a sacrifice of our time. However, it is a very worthy and worthwhile sacrifice. Most importantly, it is an investment in our relationship with the Lord.”
We encourage all parishioners to take part in this special event and to additionally invite others from the community to attend.
“We hope this Parish Advent Mission will be a wonderful opportunity for everyone to encounter God’s love and mercy, to share His Love with others, and become more Christ-like this Advent season,” Jenna says.
Please join us for the Parish Advent Mission. For more information, contact the parish office at 850-267-2558.