Sunday, November 23rd Christ the Redeemer along with all Catholics the world over celebrated the Feast of Christ the King. What might have gone unnoticed in the fanfare is that this Feast brings to a close our Liturgical Year. By the end of this week, we will have celebrated the annual Feast of Thanksgiving with all its national and family traditions and will then enter into the Season of Advent. Preceding this in the secular world will be various Christmas Sales events. Yet for us Catholics, we know that this special week is a moment to pause in reflection on the Liturgical Year behind us and the New Year ahead of us beginning with the First Sunday of Advent on Sunday, November 30.
So what has Christ the Redeemer done this past month of November?
We began the month with ALL SAINTS DAY and ALL SOUL’S DAY celebrations. Throughout the month, we left a Book of Remembrance out near the Baptismal Font. All were invited to inscribe names of faithful departed. Our own Fr. Art Johnson, SA who passed away during Lent received quite a few remembrances from fellow parishioners. A Parish Mass of Remembrance was held November 12 in the Church for parishioners with a reception held in Atonement Hall following the mass. A similar event for the Spanish community was held on November 21. A Parish Mass of Anointing, (the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick within a mass) was celebrated on November 12.
The Knights of Columbus finished their pre-Holiday card sales along with the Holy Land Carvers from Jerusalem, who brought many handiworks from Bethlehem to help raise funds and awareness for the plight of Christians and the need for peace in the Holy Land.
The Boy Scouts along with donations from parishioners stocked the Food Pantry in Christ the Redeemer basement in advance of our Thanksgiving Basket Distribution held on November 15. The week prior, a number of Religious Education classes along with area volunteers also assisted in emptying numerous bags of donations and organizing the Food Pantry.
The annual Giving Tree was set up mid-November. Located in outside Atonement Hall, the Giving Tree displays ornaments with instructions on needed clothing and other personal items for infants, boys, girls, men, and women. Parishioners take one or more ornaments home, purchase new items as suggested on the ornament, and then bring back the items to be placed in sorted bins outside Atonement Hall after weekend masses. The last collection day will be December 7.
The Office of Youth Ministry held its annual Advent Day of Reflection at Christ the Redeemer on November 20. This was the first time the diocese held this event at Christ the Redeemer. Fr. Thomas B. Cavanagh, Parochial Vicar from St. Theresa in Ashburn brought along members of his Youth Ministry Team to provide retreatants with hands on experience of the “Upper Room” ministry that goes on in his parish. Deepening this year’s diocesan theme of “Go forth and make disciples”, Fr. Tom focused on 7 Pillars of Discipleship and gave examples along with his “A-Team” of how this is put into action. The retreat also included morning mass, and afternoon Eucharistic Adoration. A retreat for Christ the Redeemer Spanish Ministers was also held on November 22.
Looking Ahead to December Briefly
The Food Pantry is still in need of donated food items. Food will be distributed on Saturday, December 13 to area needy. Therefore, the week of December 7 will be the final push for food collection. Religious Education Classes along with any interested area volunteers are asked to come forward to help bring in donations and also help sort them out in the Food Pantry Basement.
The Filipino Community is preparing to celebrate Simbang Gabi, a 9-day Advent preparation mass that takes place at various churches throughout the diocese leading up to Christmas Eve. Last year, Christ the Redeemer had the distinction an honor of having celebrating the final Simbang Gabi mass here with Bishop Paul S. Loverde as celebrant. This year, Christ the Redeemer will have celebrate the first mass on Monday, December 15 with Fr. Patrick Cogan, SA, JCD. In advance of this, the Filipino Ministry at Christ the Redeemer will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday, December 6. Check the Christ the Redeemer Website for more information.
The Spanish and English K-6 Religious Education Programs both have plans to hold Nativity Plays in December. The Second Annual Christmas Pageant (in English) will be held on Friday, December 19 at 7:00 PM in the Church followed by a cookie reception. Celebración de Navidad (in Spanish) will be held Saturday, December 20 at 10:30 AM in Atonement Hall.