Poland, OH 44514

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From your Pastor-December 16, 2020

Dear Parishioners,

Since my homily for the First Sunday of Advent, many of you have been asking me for a copy of the story about the Advent Wreath.  Since i have only a Slovak version of the story, here is my attempted translation of the story from an unknown German author:

Four candles were burning on the Advent wreath. There was silence around, and stillness. So quiet that you could hear the candles talking quietly. The first whispered, "My name is Peace. I would like to shine, but people do not care about me, they do not want peace. On the contrary, they like quarrels, disagreements, they drive me out of their dwellings." The candlelight  dimmed to the point of going out. The second candle blazed with a bright flame: "My name is Faith, and I would like to shine on people on the road. But they despise me, I am unnecessary, unfashionable, since they have better lamps. They do not want to protect my flame." Draft put out the second candle. A third candle sounded in a trembling voice, "My name is Love. Many ignore me, others despise me. they say they like sparklers and fireworks." The candle flickered and went out. Then a child entered the room. He stared at the extinguished candles and cried, "Wy don;t you light? Who put you out?' the fourth candle responded, "Don't be afraid! I am here for now. It is never too late. My name is Hope. You can light other candles from me." The child took a burning candle and lit all the candles. That child is the Child of God, Jesus. He comes with a HOPE that ignites and gives us PEACE, FAITH, and LOVE.

Advent is truly a time of hope, and this year more than ever we are becoming people of hope. We hope that pandemic situation will change, we hope to get back to our families, to our hobbies, favorite restaurants, vacations, or personal contact with others. We are eager to do so, but for now we have to wait. In a few days we will celebrate the birth of our Savior who came to bring hope to the people of Israel and He came to do the same for us in this time. Jesus came to us to save us. He came to us to heal us and He came to us to love us.

As we are approaching Christmas Season, I hope that we will be able to celebrate the Birth of Our Savior in a festive, calm and most of all safe way. Since your safety is my number one priority, we are NOW requiring a registration for all the masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Without registration you will not be able to enter the worship sites, but you will be asked to go to an overflow location or to watch it on the internet. The registrations for masses begin December 14 at 8 am and it is on a first come first served bases. The worship sites will be disinfected after each liturgy; therefore, the worship sites will be open 45 minutes prior to scheduled mass. Maybe I do sound like Ebeneezer Scrooge, but I hope you understand these precautionary steps for everyone's safety.

As you open your homes and your hearts for your loved ones 9if you are able to do so) during this wonderful season of the year, may we all open our hearts for our loving God, who wants to dwell with us. Therefore, let's celebrate the birth of Our Savior and make room for Him in our hearts and home.

May God bless you and fill your lives with his love, grace, and mercy. I wish to you and your family a blessed and joyful Christmas Season and Happy New Year. Thank you for your prayers and for your sacrifices as well as for your ministry to our parish.

In Prayers,

Fr. Martin


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