Just outside Bethlehem just a half mile from the Church of the Nativity is a small field and garden, known as the Shepherd’s Field. This Catholic site, under the care of the Franciscans, is located in an area called Siyar el-Ghanam (Place for Keeping Sheep). It is largely surrounded by buildings and neighbors of the town. In the field is a small tent-shaped Chapel of the Angels, designed by Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi, adjoins the remains of a 4th-century church and a later agricultural monastery. I and the other pilgrims were blessed to be able to visit this site when we were in the Holy Land recently. Paintings in the chapel depict the angel’s announcement to the shepherds, the shepherds paying homage to Jesus, and the shepherds celebrating the birth of the Messiah. In the area are numerous small caves that have been used for agricultural purposes for millennium… including the stable cave beneath the Church of the Nativity where Jesus was born.
As we move into this holy season of Advent, I encourage you to find a little clearing in the midst of the hustle of your lives where you too can hear the message of the angels: ‘Good News of great joy that will be for all the people.’ (Lk 2:10). We need a space where we can sit in silence, with a sense of open space, the clarity of the sun and stars, and the gentle labor of gathering together as the sheep of the Good Shepherd.
Next weekend Dec 2-4 - Holy Family “Safe Homes for Guatemala” through Cross Catholic International. Nothing brings dignity to a family more than having a safe home. Sadly, many families in Guatemala are forced to live in homes fashioned from mud, scrap wood and plastic sheeting. Your gift can help provide a new home that includes a cement foundation and cement-block walls that can withstand earthquakes. Each home will be wired for electricity for a clean-air stove and include a sanitary latrine and an exterior washbasin.
This will be the third year that our Holy Family family has come together to provide a home for folks less fortunate. Each of the last two advents have seen members of Holy Family contribute to funds so that collectively we can build a home for a fellow family in need. A new clean simple home, as described above, in Santa Rosa, Guatemala costs $8434. We have collected well over that amount each year. I invite you to join me once again in providing shelter for the homeless, so that come Christmas, we will have helped find room in the Inn to shelter the Holy Family.
Holy Family Advent 40 Hours with Mary – Next weekend Dec 2-4
Friday, Dec 2: Opening Mass @ 2p
Evening Prayer @ 6p followed by Advent Musical Reflection
Confessions from 7-8p
Night Prayer @ 9p
Saturday, Dec 3: Morning Prayer @ 7:30a; Confessions 8:30a-10a & 4-4:45p.
Evening Prayer @ 4:30p, Night Prayer @ 9p
Sunday, Dec 4: Morning Prayer @ 7:30a
+ Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God. +
Holy Family, Saintly Father, Blessed Mother, Divine Son, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries