The weeks and days leading up to Christmas are often regarded as a time of giving and receiving. Yet, we recognize that the season of Advent is a time of preparation — we prepare to welcome the Christ Child, and we prepare our hearts to joyously receive Him at Christmas.
Part of the preparation involves sharing our stewardship gifts and drawing closer to our faith together as a community. Here at Immaculate Conception, there are many projects and events taking place in which we can participate, all in the spirit of community and service.
In particular, there are several initiatives to help those in need in our community. Firstly, we have the St. Vincent de Paul Giving Tree in the southwest vestibule of our church with tags that list items needed for the less fortunate.
“Take a tag and bring back a wrapped gift with the tag on it and place it under the tree,” says Elayne Kramer. “The gifts will brighten the Christmas of many families in need.”
Mary’s Ministry will also have tags with items needed for the Birthright organization from Dec. 17 to Jan 8. Parishioners are encouraged to support both of these service projects by participating in them. The Society of Mother Teresa will also be cooking meals for those in need within the parish and the Willoughby community.
There are also numerous events coming up throughout Advent for parishioners to enjoy. We will host our Parish Anniversary Breakfast on Dec. 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in St. Joseph Hall, commemorating our patronal feast a couple days before.
“It’s free for everyone to come after Mass,”
Fr. Troha says. “It’s a nice thing to do, especially during the Advent season.”
The Senior Ministry will have its annual Potluck Christmas Luncheon on Dec. 13 in St. Joseph Hall at noon, and Breakfast with Santa will take place on Dec. 16 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in St. Joseph Hall.
Because the holidays can be particularly difficult for those who have lost loved ones, our Grief Support Ministry will have a holiday program, Finding Grace Through the Holidays, on Dec. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“Some people have a very hard time with the holidays, usually because somebody close to them died during this time, around the holidays,” Fr. Troha says. “Or just in general, because of families and gatherings, it can be a tough time.”
Finally, on Dec. 17 at 3 p.m. we will be hosting our choir Christmas concert and children’s pageant in the church. Please join us for this wonderful community gathering!
The season of Advent is also a time we prepare our hearts for Jesus to come at Christmas — thus, Advent can be a great opportunity for us to begin anew. Fr. Troha encourages parishioners to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation this season. We will have a communal penance service from 3 to 4 p.m. in the church on Dec. 10.
“I would say that the penance service is a good thing to attend,” he says. “If you’re going to do one thing during Advent, do that.”
For more information about Advent activities in our parish, call 440-942-4500.
Sunday Dec. 24 — 5 p.m. Christmas Vigil Mass
Sunday, Dec. 24 — 10 p.m. Mass at Night
Monday, Dec. 25 — 8:30 and 11 a.m. Christmas Mass
New Year’s Day
Monday, Jan. 1 — 9 a.m.