Dear people of St. Catherine’s,
Advent is here – that great liturgical season when we pray and sing out of our longing for God and the fulfillment of God’s plans, for a world where, as Isaiah prophesied, swords will be beat into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks, and we will not learn war anymore….
Advent is a wonderful season to focus on our spiritual lives. As the writer John Shea has suggested, if our bodies or our finances are in trouble, we put our focus and energy there to help. But we often treat our spirit as a luxury, not a necessity. Too often we put our spiritual life on hold, or even let it languish. The message in Advent is “Keep Awake”! We are invited to pay attention to our spiritual lives, especially in Advent. Here are some practical suggestions:
I invite you all to join me in a daily prayer practice this Advent. Some of you already use the Forward Day by Day, and some do the Daily Office. Perhaps you will choose to pray Evening Prayer this Advent – in our chapel Monday through Thursday evenings at 6 p.m. or at your home. Weekly Eucharist and Daily prayer are both important parts of the spiritual practices of our Episcopal/Anglican tradition.
Another way to keep awake is to be more intentional about our actions. Most of us are twice as busy this season. Don’t let your busyness get frantic. Take a deep breath. Say a prayer for every person you send a Christmas Card to, or when you buy a present. Nearly everything you do to prepare for this season can be done as a prayer, if you remember to have that intention. Do something for someone else, particularly remembering those who are living in poverty, or alone, or someone who is grieving a recent loss.
We welcome The Rev. Allen W. Farabee as Assisting Priest on December 3 and 4th. I am delighted to have him as a colleague and fellow priest at St. Catherine’s while he and his wife Galen are “snow-birds” each year from December through April. Come and welcome them both at the 10 a.m. service on Sunday.
Finally, I wish all of you a blessed Christmas. If you are in town, please join us for one of our four services (three Christmas Eve and one Christmas Day). May the longing of Advent and the joy of Christmas deepen your love of God and the world. Another exciting, new addition to our life is our brand new website, which should be live December 1st. It is expanded, beautifully designed, interactive, and will be a great evangelism tool for our parish. Thank you again to the Evangelism Commission, the Website Committee, and particularly Sally McDonald for all the hard work on this project!
I am so excited to be able to announce that The Rev. Allen Farabee will be our new part time assisting priest for 5 months a year while he and his wife Galen are “snowbirds” in Florida. He will begin the weekend of December 3 and 4, preaching and celebrating all three Eucharists. Please plan to attend and welcome them both! Many of you have met him and his wife Galen who worshiped with us all last winter at the 10 a.m. service while they were in town. Here is his introduction to you:
Dear People of St. Catherine’s,
I am delighted that Mother Susan has invited me to assist her in the ministry of St. Catherines and I am writing to tell you a little about me. I was born in Ft. Myers and grew up in south Florida, graduating from high school in St. Petersburg. I went off to Indiana University Music School to become a professional singer. However, along the way God called me to ordained ministry and I attended Yale Divinity School, and received graduate degrees from Nashotah House seminary and the University of Connecticut School of Law. After a brief time in ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church, I was ordained priest in the Diocese of Southeast Florida. My journey then took me to Ft. Lauderdale, northern Wisconsin, central Illinois, Litchfield, Connecticut, and finally to Buffalo, NY, where I served for a decade as Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
I retired as Dean in 2004 and have continued to assist my bishop in interim ministry and for the past 8 years as part time vicar of St. David’s Church in West Seneca, a first ring suburb of Buffalo. When I retired as dean I also began a law practice in immigration law, mostly representing persons in immigration court facing deportation. But over the years, Florida kept calling me back. Our younger son, John, came to the University of South Florida for college and stayed. He married a beautiful young woman from Land o Lakes and they now live in Wesley Chapel with our two wonderful grandchildren, Clair and Liam. My wife Galen and I bought a winter home in Wesley Chapel in 2015 and when we searched for a church in which to worship our search led us to you! You welcomed us warmly and we felt at home, complete with grits at breakfast! We will be in Wesley Chapel from December to May, and I look forward to getting to know you, preach and celebrate for you, visit some of you in the hospital, and enjoy your company in Christ.
Thank you so much for your welcome.
The Rev. Allen W. Farabee
Sunday 8:00 AM
Sunday 9:00 AM
HOLY EUCHARIST WITH MUSIC
Sunday 10:00 AM
Sunday 10:00 AM
CONTEMPLATIVE EVENING PRAYER
Second Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM