During these fall months, we have an excellent opportunity to fulfill the scriptural passage of St. Peter — “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1Peter 4:10). With Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas approaching, we can be good stewards in using God’s gifts by serving Him as we celebrate these holidays in preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ. Let us share our time, talent, and treasure in thanks to God for all He has given us. Let us serve as disciples of Christ by helping others – those in need, or lonely, or troubled.
We all know the true meaning of these holidays, however, sometimes, it can be hard not to get wrapped up in the secular understanding of them. Let’s reclaim these holidays this year — on Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for all the Lord has given us. During the Advent season, let’s set aside extra prayer time to prepare ourselves for the Christ Child. On Christmas, let’s be ready to rejoice in the birth of Christ by keeping Christ in the forefront.
Here at the Cathedral, we sat down with Maria Balakshin, Stewardship Advisor, to get her thoughts on the many services and events in which we can participate to show our gratitude to God – ways to demonstrate our stewardship.
One way we can truly get our hearts and minds prepared for these holidays is to participate in the Corporal Works of Mercy. Use your talent and treasure to help the hungry by donating to our food baskets that the Front Door Ministry and Knights of Columbus prepare at Thanksgiving time. You can also invite your family to prepare small gift bags of hygiene products, gift cards, socks, or gloves to hand out to the guests who come to pick up lunch through the Brown Bag Lunch Ministry.
On Thanksgiving Day, join as a parish family in attending Mass at 10 a.m. Use this as an opportunity to give special thanks to God for your blessings.
“As family and friends gather at the Thanksgiving table, pray together and talk about your blessings,” says Maria.
Advent is meant to be a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. This often gets overshadowed by decorating, Christmas parties, and wrapping gifts. Let’s be more intentional this Advent. Intentionally, devote additional time to prayer to prepare yourself for the coming of Christ. Intentionally, get involved in one of the many spiritual offerings at the Cathedral, such as attending adoration, participating in the Flame Alive Bible sessions, or praying the Rosary at one of the Cathedral’s Rosary gatherings.
Stewardship begins in the home – the Domestic Church. A way to instill stewardship in your children is to create family traditions that encourage them to prepare for Christ’s birth. At the beginning of Advent, involve the entire family in making an Advent wreath and have family members take turns writing and saying prayers each night of Advent as they light the candles. Closer to Christmas, establish a specific time as a family to set up a Nativity Scene (Creche) and read the Nativity story. On Christmas Eve or morning, place the Baby Jesus in the Creche.
Teach the children how to give to others instead of expecting what they will receive.
Decide as a family how you will reach out to give homemade gifts to someone in need.
Maria shared her own personal memory of one of her family’s traditions.
“On Christmas morning, my family first attended Mass to give praise and glory to the Baby Jesus,” she says. “When we returned home, we would have breakfast saying Grace in thanksgiving for Baby Jesus, and then finally gather around the Christmas tree to open gifts. The first gift my siblings and I received from our parents was always a religious item. Our parents always stressed the religious reason for Christmas instead of the secular one.”
As stewards, let us prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Let gratitude arise in our hearts for the peace and joy in Jesus’ birth. Embrace the true meaning of Christmas by remembering our Lord, who gives us every gift.
Holiday Mass Times
10 a.m. Mass
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Christmas Eve Morning, Sunday, Dec. 24:
Fourth Sunday of Advent with Mass at 8 a.m., 10 a.m.
(No regular Sunday Mass at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.)
Christmas Eve Evening, Sunday, Dec. 24:
Masses at 5 p.m. (English) with pageant by the Faith
Formation children and singing by the Cathedral’s St. Toribio Youth Choir; 8 p.m. (Spanish); 11:15 p.m. the Cathedral choir will perform carols with a bilingual Mass at midnight.
Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25:
Masses at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. (English); and noon (Spanish)
Note: No Christmas Day Chinese or evening Mass
Come Select Religious Gifts
at the Cathedral’s Gift Shop
We would love to help you with all your holiday shopping needs. You will find a great selection of spiritually enriching gifts for everyone on your list. Or pick up something special for yourself! Please visit our Gift Shop located on the lower level. It is open each Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or make an appointment by contacting Susan Moeller at 510-734-4158.