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Christmas Mass Schedule

Christmas Eve 4PM & 10PM
Christmas Day 10AM

December 18, 2016

Served by:
Fr. Anthony R. Lipari, FCM

Franciscan Community of Mercy

Fr. Miguel Fernandez, N/FCM

Associate Pastor

Fr. Drew Miller

Associate Pastor

Sr. Donna Lombardi, N/FCM

Pastoral Associate
Family Faith Formation

Karen Suter

Parish Administrator

Wendy and Mike Melly

Parish Council Leaders

An All Inclusive Independent Catholic Community,

Dedicated to Making the World a Better Place

A Shepherds View
December 18th
5PM Deceased members of our parish
8AM For those who are ill
10AM Peter Dudas
12 noon
December 24th25th
4PM Deceased members of our Parish
10 PM Benefactors of our Parish
10AM For those who are ill

Franciscan Reflection
St Francis of Assisi was intimately united with Jesus--Jesus on his
hearts, his lips, in his ears, in his
eyes, in his hands. Jesus in all
members of his brothers and sisters. He would speak to animals
about the love of Jesus and they would respond with a nod or their sounds. He
would call Christmas, the Feast of Feasts.
He would always call Jesus "the Little Baby of Bethlehem." ---~Brother Thomas of Celano
Saints of the Week
December 21: St Peter Canisius, Priest and
Doctor of the Church
December 23: Saint John of Kanty, Priest

Adult Faith Formation

with Fr. Anthony

Last meeting for this session will be Monday,
December 19th.
Sessions will resume

Bible Study with Fr. Drew

How quickly these Advent weeks have flown

by! Each one of us has encountered depths and
heights in this season and in
our lives. Life is full of these
journeys, our Advents. On
this Fourth Sunday of Advent we are called to remember that God calls us to
walk forward, even amidst
the heights and depths, to a
future with hope. He has
always given us signs along
the way. In the season we
look for the sign of the virgin with Child, our Emmanuel---meaning God With Us! He is the very
presence of God, in our hands, in our hearts, in
our very lives. Never be tempted to doubt God's
presence in your life! Pray that we all may be
mangers waiting for Christ to be born in us! Have
hearts full of the faith and hope of Mary and Joseph.
Consider how this young woman and he betrothed changed the course of humanity by their
act of faith, allowing God presence to dwell within
their souls. As we come next week to celebrate the
Incarnation of our Godhead, let us cast away any
fear, and negativity, and allow the joy, the light
and faith of this tremendous gift to take root in
our lives. May you truly have a Christmas full of
love, and rejoicing faith! Be assured of my prayers
for as you as I ask for yours.

Live Jesus in our hearts,

our Giving Tree has become

A Memory Tree.
Please help yourself to an
Ornament (provided), inscribe the
name of a deceased loved one.

No meeting 12/23 or 12/30.

Classes will resume January 6th

On your way back to you seat

at Communion, place your
ornament on the tree.

The Christmas Tree

Next to the Nativity scene, the most
popular Christmas tradition is to have a
Christmas tree in the home. The
Christmas tree as did so many other
Christmas traditions, originated in
Germany. There it was first called the
Paradise Tree. The Christmas tree
seems to have resulted from the combination of two traditions: a prop from a
popular morality or mystery play of the Middle Ages with a
festival of lights from pre-Christian times.
In the Middle Ages, traveling actors and troubadours visited
villages. One of these was a skit about Adam and Eve with a
message promising that a Messiah would come. December
24 was observed as the feast of Adam and Eve. The prop of
this skit was a Paradise Tree, a fir tree decorated with the
traditional apple. Children were so delighted with this tree
that parents were persuaded to have one in the home, especially when these plays were forbidden in churches. The
Paradise Tree, decorated with apples, other fruit and pastries
soon became a family tradition.
Another tradition was popular at the same time and place as
the Paradise Tree. As the winter solstice approached,
Germanic peoples celebrated a festival of lights as they had
done ever since pre-Christian times centuries before. After
their conversion these people re-interpreted the solstice
lights, or candles, as symbolic of the light of the Messiah,
Christ, shining in the darkness of sin and spiritual ignorance.
These candles were placed each year on steps or shelves in
the shape of a pyramid, decorated with evergreens and the
Star of Bethlehem at the top. In the early 17th century, these
two traditions seemed to have merged, probably out of convenience. The Christmas lights or burning candles and the
Star of Bethlehem were attached to the Paradise Tree of the
same shape as the Christmas pyramid. This gave rise in the
land of the Germans to the Christmas tree.
By the beginning of the 19th century the Christmas tree had
become popular throughout Germany and from there it
spread to Slavic nations and France. Only in the mid-1800s
was the custom introduced into England. About the same
time, it was popularized in the United States by German immigrants.
At first Christmas trees in this country were small table trees
decorated with homemade ornaments from needlework, pastries, and ribbon. By the end of the last century, floor-toceiling trees were common, decorated with homemade and
commercially manufactured decorations, and wrapped in
tinsel garland. In the late 1930s the lightbulb was adapted to
Christmas tree balls.
Christmas trees appear in numerous forms today, including
artificial ones. For many people they are merely a holiday
decoration. They preserve, however, rich Christian symbolism: the green of hope at a time of dying, the burning light
of Christ at a time of spiritual darkness, and the fruits of
Dues,G. (2009) Catholic Customs and Traditions, New London, Ct, Twenty-Third Publications.


holy ones who have gone before us, we
long once more for the coming of
Jesus, Your Word made flesh. Utter
your Word anew in our world at once
beautiful and wounded. Open our
hearts to listen to your voice as the
human family cries out for justice and
hungers for meaning. Wait with us,
accompany us, work and pray through
us for the unfolding of your promise, for
the fullness of your dream this Advent
and always.

Flower Donations
Please consider making
a $10 or $25 Donation to
Good Shepherd ANCC for
Christmas poinsettias and
flowers. Your support is
4th Week of Advent
Justice Challenge: We celebrate the Incarnation
on SundayGod taking on human flesh and
becoming one of us. This is the ultimate act of
solidarity. Jesus embraced humanity in all of its
joy and in all of its suffering. He truly became
one of us. We are called to be one with each
other as Jesus is one with us.
Your challenge during this final week of
Advent is to ask yourself which part of Gods
community you are disconnected from. With
whom does God want you to stand in solidaritylocally or globally? Say a prayer every night
this week for this person or group of persons.


Thank you to Terry and Karen for

graciously giving us the use of their
beautiful crche currently displayed on
the lawn in front of the church

Queridos hermanos este cuarto domingo de Adviento en

prendemos la cuarta bela, cerca estamos al nacimiento del
Hijo de Dios , si quisiramos exponer en una palabra en
esta liturgia de la Palabra de este domingo podramos decir:
Emmanuel: que significa Dios con nosotros.
Este domingo es una especie de vigilia litrgica de la Navidad. En l se anuncia la llegada inminente del Hijo de Dios.
Se anuncia que este nio que nacer en Beln es el
prometido por las Escrituras y constituye la plena realizacin de la Alianza entre Dios y la humanidad.
La primera lectura expone el orculo del profeta Isaas. El
rey Acaz desea aliarse con el rey de Asiria para defenderse
de las acechanzas de sus vecinos (rey de Damasco y rey de
Samaria). Isaas se opone a cualquier alianza que no sea la
alianza de Dios . Lo que el profeta propone al rey es una
respuesta de fe y de confianza total en la providencia de
Dios, verdadero rey de Jerusaln. Isaas le ofrece el signo:
la Virgen est encinta y da a luz un hijo y le pone por
nombre Emmanuel, es decir, Dios con nosotros.
La tradicin cristiana ha visto en este orculo un anuncio
del nacimiento de Cristo de una virgen llamada Mara . As
lo interpreta el Evangelio de Mateo cuando considera la
concepcin virginal y del nacimiento de Cristo: Mara esperaba un hijo por obra del Espritu Santo.
Esta fe en Cristo se recoge admirablemente en el exordio de
la carta a los romanos. San Pablo ofrece una admirable confesin de fe en Cristo Seor. Nacido segn lo humano de la
estirpe de David; constituido, segn el Espritu Santo, Hijo
de Dios . Pablo subraya el origen divino , al mismo tiempo,
su naturaleza humana como nacido de la estirpe de David. Verdadero Dios y verdadero hombre. Por lo tanto les
invito este domingo a renovar los lazos de amor , de confianza y de Amistad con Dios nuestro Senor en que consite el
Amor: no en que nosotros hayamos amado a Dios, sino en
que El nos amo y nos envio a su Hijo, que nos redimio de
nuestros pecados. Al contemplar como Dios nos ama y nos
busca y nos envia a su Hijo, deberia nacer en nuestro corazon un sentimiento de gratitud y confianza. El Seor nos
ama con un amor inmenzo. Hoy en dia muchas personas
que sufren desperacion,depresion, abatimiento; han perdido
la razon de su vida, situaciones matrimoniales inconciliable,
rupturas familiares, vidas abandonadas en el pecado. Tenemos que poner en frente la realidad humana pero con fe en
este amor a Dios que lo puede todo y el nos aliviara de todos los problemas. El amor de Dios es eterno y su misericordia es eterna. Hagamos una experiencia profunda del
amor de Dios. Sintamos que nuestras vidas, aunque heridas
por el pecado y multiples contradicciones, estan en las
manos de Dios y que lo bueno para nosotros es 'estar juntos a Dios". Ten fe y confienza asi como nos pide el profeta

Thank you to Joe The Carpenter

Hader for building and donating the
magnificent stand that holds the
Advent Wreath so beautifully crafted
and donated by Patti Fusaro.

Thank you to all who so

generously supported our
Advent Food Drive and
Giving Tree.
Blue Christmas
A Service of Remembrance & Hope
For Those Who Find Rejoicing Hard Work


Sunday, December 18th at 3:00PM

Christ Episcopal Church Chapel
415 Washington Street
Toms River, NJ
An Invitation to All,
Christmas is not always a happy occasion,
especially for those who have lost a loved one or
who have suffered a tragedy of some kind. Life
may look much different this year from last
year. Loss of any kind is so difficult to handle
during the holiday season. For this reason,
there will be a special Blue Christmas service
offered on December 18th at 3pm.
All are welcome to this service of prayers and
remembering grieving and acknowledgment of
our losses. Come whether a loved one died this
year or many years ago. Come whatever your
loss my be. Please invite friends, relatives,
neighbors to come with you; anyone who may
be suffering a loss. This service is not just for
Christ Church members. It is a special service
for all.
The Rev. Joan M. Petit Mason +
Rector, Christ Episcopal Church