Fall Festival Summary, New Altar Servers, and Plenary Indulgences for the Year of Faith

This article is reprinted from the Oct. 14 Parish Bulletin

I  would like to begin by thanking everyone who played a role in planning and carrying out our fall festival! I am so grateful to all of you for the ideas you brought forward and the decisions you made over many months. The most obvious item to note about our festival is that it was cold. Yes, let the record show that the temperature dipped to 28 degrees as the sun rose last Sunday morning, ending the growing season and making a day in early October feel more like it usually does at Thanksgiving. As the temperature went up to 48 degrees the calm air stirred until we had a 13 MPH wind cooling us. (It seemed much windier than that, but I checked the official records from the Weather Service.) A tent even blew over in one gust, but those who were monitoring the outdoor activities carried on until the end. It was great to see people enjoying the treats (including hot dogs and kettle corn), the cake walk, the children’s games, and the items for sale on our grounds.
There was another story to tell this year, though: the pork dinner was indoors, and the location coupled with the menu attracted a huge group of people to Heritage Center. A 340-pound hog was roasted all night and was carved by a team of experts. The usual magic was worked by a dedicated kitchen crew, and the meal was a big hit. No matter how you were involved, the parish extends a big thank you to the festival committee and all of our volunteers for the enjoyable day you made possible as people came together to spend time in our parish. May God bless you all for making such a gift to him of your time and abilities!

In late September I individually signed and mailed out almost 90 letters to all of the registered members of the parish who are, according to our computer database, in 4th, 5th, or 6th grade. The letter was an invitation to consider becoming an altar server and to attend an October 10 training session. While we add new servers each year, it had been three years since I last sent out  a mailing to everyone in those grade levels – even those we do not usually see at Mass. The training for new servers will have already taken place by the time you read this; itseems we are going to have seven new altar servers as a result of the letter. If your child received one of the letters I personally signed and would like to serve, even if it’s only occasionally, please do contact the parish office and we will arrange another training session. It’s easy to learn how to serve, and parents are free to say whether they would prefer their child be scheduled once monthly, twice monthly, or weekly. Parents also indicate whether their child is able to serve for Christmas or other holy  day Masses, and which Mass is their preference. Wouldn’t your little angel look at home wearing a white alb at Mass?

On Thursday of the week that just ended, we marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and began the Year of Faith. On the day before the Year of Faith began, Pope Benedict’s staff announced the plenary indulgences that would be available:

During the Year of Faith, which will last from 11 October 2012 to 24 November 2013, Plenary Indulgence for the temporal punishment of sins, imparted by the mercy of God and applicable also to the souls of deceased faithful, may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
1) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in church or any other suitable location.
2) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage, a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith … and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous
period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.
3) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith, in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.
4) On any day they chose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.

I have included some of the details that might be of interest only to a few, but they are important to know for those who wish to receive a plenary indulgence, which is the full remission of temporal punishment due to sin. It might be the case that attending even part of our adult enrichment series on Vatican II would qualify as attending “at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council.” I think it is very interesting that the Church is encouraging us to visit the place where we were baptized and there renew our baptismal promises! I really like that a plenary indulgence is being granted for that during the Year of Faith. Do you know your place of baptism?

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