From the Pastor's Desk

Fr. LeRoy Scheierl
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Week of November 30th - First Sunday in Advent

We are currently embarking on our First Sunday in Advent. Of all the sacred

seasons of the Church, Advent is the first four weeks in preparation before

Christmas. Advent is a time of spiritual preparation in which believers (like us)

ready themselves for the coming of the Lord. Advent typically involves prayer,

silence, fasting and repentance in anticipation of holy days of hope and joy to

come.

Advent is celebrated not only by thanking God for Christ’s first coming at his

birth, but also for his presence among us through the Holy Spirit today, and as well

as his coming at the end of time. All these things come together as one; an

awareness of the three-fold dimension of our faith in Christ.

The word, “Advent” comes from the Latin word “Adventus” meaning “arrival”

or “coming” of something very important. Advent began sometime in the 4th

century as a time of preparation for Epiphany, not Christmas! Epiphany celebrates

the manifestation of Jesus to the Magi and the Baptism of our Lord. At this time in

history, new Christians were also baptized and received into the Faith, so the early

Church instituted this 40 day period of fasting and prayer before.

Later, in the 6th century, St. Gregory the Great was the first to associate this

season with the coming of Christ for those of us who are already in the

Church. Originally, it was not the coming of the Christ-child but rather the Second

coming of Christ at the end of time. By the Middle Ages the Church extended the

celebration of Advent to what we know today in preparation for Christmas. The

prophecies of Isaiah remind us to prepare and wait. By December 17th, the pace

quickens as we focus more directly on the events that surround Jesus’ historical

birth. So you see with Advent we embrace a whole history of development in

theology: past, present, and future as well. Here’s hoping your Advent season is

one of true peace, of silent hope in our God!

Shifting gears a bit on a more practical level, I feel I need to clarify some

questions regarding the availability of our Staff members from both St. Peter and

St. Paul as well as myself as your Pastor. This is directed toward those who may

want to contact us. We live in a world much different from what it was even 30-40-

50 years ago today. Gone are the days when both our parishes were staffed by 2-

3 priests/priest associates. Gone also are the days when our holy Religious

Sisters were made available to minister directly to many members of both

parishes. With both financial and personnel constraints, sad to say, we are limited

in our ability to respond in instantaneous ways. Today, we have 1 priest and 2

volunteer deacons along with a number of part-time lay staff including secretary,

liturgists, faith formation, bookkeepers, parish nurse, maintenance staff, and other

volunteers who do a wonderful job but who have other varied responsibilities and

commitments as well. Because of the new challenges we face, our Main Office

has been “closed” on Fridays for the past several years. This is not to say, no one

is working in the office, but is it really a time for staff to catch up on some of their

work or simply not to put in so many paid hours. I personally am in the office off

and on 6 days a week. Whenever we receive a call for questions or information

our goal is to respond to these needs directly and in a timely way. This also would

include any emergency which our own St. Cloud Hospital Chaplains can

help. Calling early always helps. Again, gone are the days when people can

expect an immediate response, but we do try to do our best. This being said, I ask

for your patience and support and help. The parish of today, the 21st century,

requires that we become “church” to each other in any situation that arises. We

are, after all, all “the Body of Christ” and so everyone, to some extent, by their

baptism is commissioned by Christ to be ministers to one another, to comfort, to

support, to inform, and to work together for the good of all. Overall, I must say

everyone has been doing their best and most people are very supportive,

understanding, and willing to do their part. Thank you and may God

bless!

Fr. LeRoy Scheierl

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