December 14, 2014

A NOTE FROM FATHER TORQUATO
    Each year, the Scripture readings for this Third Sunday of Advent invite God’s People to rejoice that the presence of the Lord is near!   In today’s Gospel according to Mark, Saint John the Baptist once again points to the imminent arrival of the Messiah and the Kingdom of God that he will inaugurate when he comes.  This is truly a cause for tremendous joy in our individual hearts, in our families, in the Church, and in the world!
    This is the reason why this Sunday’s color for the Advent Wreath and for the Liturgy is the color Rose which expresses the joy of this Sunday!   It is the color of rejoicing and joy in Christian tradition.
    During this time of hectic preparation for Christmas, may we always keep a true sense of joy and gratitude in our hearts!  May we be grateful for the Incarnation of God’s only Son and for the continuing presence of the Lord in the Church and in our world.  May we spend plenty of time in prayer during these weeks and in the Christmas Season so we’ll always remember and rejoice and be grateful for the presence and the Kingdom of God that is given to us!  May these days and the year ahead always be filled with true joy.  God bless!
                                                —Father Jim Torquato
   
OUR CHRISTMAS GIVING TREE PROJECT!
    Thanks very much to all our Giving Tree donors this year!   Many charitable gifts and donations have been received here at the parish, and these gifts from many of our members will be shared with children here in our local area and in Appalachia.  Also, your financial donations will benefit many students and children in Haiti and in Kenya.    
    Be assured of the tremendous gratitude of those receiving your charitable goodness as well as those volunteering to help them during the holidays and throughout the year to improve their situation and their lives.  Again, thanks very much, and may the Lord bless all of you for your Giving Tree goodness!

MANY THANKS FOR OUR 2015 CALENDARS!
    Many thanks are extended to Mr. Paul Ajak and the Ajak Family of the Weddell-Ajak Funeral Home in Aspinwall for their generous gift once again of 2015 Catholic parish calendars!   We’re very grateful to Paul and his family for their continued generosity to our parish community.   Be sure to pick up one or several calendars at the church entrances while the supply lasts!   Thanks again!

CELEBRATING CONSECRATED LIFE
    From this Advent until February 2, 2016, Pope Francis has asked all Catholic Christians to remember the service given God’s People by the millions of Church members who were called to and served in the Consecrated Life.  These Consecrated Religious women and men have brought our faith to countless disciples and have truly given life to the Kingdom of God.  May we always appreciate and support Consecrated Life!

A CHANGE IN OUR PARISH STAFF
    Having been our part-time parish and school bookkeeper for six years, Mrs. Christine Morton has departed from the staff of Saint Scholastica Parish and CDTCA to accept an accounting  position with a private firm.  Having been hired by Father Ken White in 2008, we wish Christine and her family all the best as she begins her new work.
    Assuming the bookkeeping responsibilities and work for our parish and the academy will be Mrs. Amy Condosta, our current parish secretary, who also has more than 20 years experience in finance and bookkeeping.  Many thanks to Amy for her service of our parish and academy and for making the transition to this new staff position.  Amy will remain a full time staff member and will also continue to administer our Safe Environment Program.
    We will be hiring a new part time secretary to assist with our office management. 
    Thanks for your patience, understanding, and cooperation as we enter into this new transition phase for our parish staff!   Thanks, too, to all of our staff members for the important ministries and work that they provide for our parish  and academy communities!

THANK YOU TO ALL OUR CONTRIBUTORS!
    In addition to being blessed with God’s grace and goodness, we’re very, very grateful to all of our parish contributors for your generosity and your support of our parish operations!   It’s your financial support and your active participation and service which continue to keep Saint Scholastica Parish vital and strong. Please know the gratitude of Father Torquato and of all our staff and our members for your goodness and generosity to our parish!

RESPECT LIFE CHRISTMAS CARDS
    Our Respect Life Committee is making available Christmas cards—10 cards for $6.  Proceeds support their Respect Life efforts.  Call Mary Catherine (412-781-6550) for information this week.  Thanks for your support!

END OF YEAR DONATIONS
    As we come to the end of this calendar year, please know that additional end of year contributions are always most welcome!  Your contributions before December 31 will be tax deductible for this year, and your generosity will help us achieve a balanced operating budget for this fiscal year.  The donations and support of all our parish members and families are both certainly needed as well as greatly appreciated!  Thank you once again!

EVANGELIZATION IN OUR LOCAL CHURCH
    Bishop David Zubik is now initiating  a new program of Evangelization in every parish of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.  Inspired by Pope Francis, we are called to be a friend of Jesus and to draw others to become friends of Jesus as well.  We’re called to a strong personal and communal connection to the Lord. 
    Our effort will be to share the Lord’s Gospel with our neighbors.  Our effort will also be to connect everyone to Jesus and to each other in the months and years ahead!

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND YOUTH MINISTRY NEWS

Looking for a very good Christmas gift for your student or teenager?   Our Religious Education and Youth Ministry staff are making available Bibles that are a great gift for High School and Middle School students.  Contact Mrs. Dillon or Meredith Troyan this week!

The Children’s Choir for the Christmas Eve 4:00 pm Liturgy  is forming now!  All students in grades 3-8 are welcome.  A Rehearsal will be held this Sunday, December 14, 2 pm-4 pm in the parish hall.   Also, children in grades K-2 are also welcome to be shepherds or angels for this Liturgy.  Please send an email to jamiedillon@comcast.net.  Thanks very much!

A Confirmation Mega Meeting (12 noon), our Home Study check in (8-9am), and an Intersection Bible Study  (10am)  will all be held this Sunday, December 14, here at the parish!  Please be sure to attend and take part!
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OUR ANNUAL BUS TRIP TO THE JANUARY 22 MARCH FOR LIFE IN D.C.
    Reservations are being accepted now for the annual Bus Trip to the January 22 March for Life in Washington D.C.   Joining other local parishes, the bus will arrive here at Saint Scholastica Church at 1:00 a.m. on January 22.  There will be meal stops along the way.  Our group will arrive in time for the Youth Mass in D.C. and the March for Life.  Following the annual meetings with legislators, the motor coach will leave the Capitol at 4:30 pm for the return to Pittsburgh.  Students and young people are invited and encouraged to attend.  Call Mrs. Mary Catherine Scanlon (412-781-6550 ) for information and reservations!

CHRISTMAS COOKIES NEEDED
    Ladies, would you please plan now to bake extra Christmas cookies?  Our Aquinas Guild Service Committee is conducting a December outreach by sharing their (and your) homemade cookies with Meals on Wheels, the Food Pantry in Sharpsburg, and other organizations!  Your generosity will be greatly appreciated!  Your homemade cookies may be brought to the parish hall of the Pastoral Center on Sunday, December 14 from 8am to 12 noon.  Please use disposable containers.  Thank you very much!

NEW EVANGELIZATION TRAINING FOR SMALL GROUPS FACILITATORS
    Important to the New Evangelization mentioned above are small faith sharing groups in each parish.  Studies show that our faith becomes more real and more personal when we share it with fellow believers. 
    As such, our Diocese is beginning the process of creating small faith and prayer groups in each parish.  The first step is to train facilitators who can guide these new small groups.  If you’d like to become a facilitator of a small faith and prayer group, please contact our office.  Training sessions will be held in various locations in early 2015.  

AQUINAS GUILD UPDATE
Our Parish Aquinas Guild is very grateful to all who participated in the December 2 Advent by Candlelight program!  Also, Connie Morrison was the Raffle Winner.  More than $4000 was raised for our support of the parish.  Also, thanks are extended to all our organizers and PTG officers for all your work that provided a very fine event!

PRIESTHOOD DISCERNMENT RETREAT
    Young men in college as well as college graduates are welcome to a special December 19-21 weekend retreat with Bishop David Zubik and other Diocesan staff in order to discern a call to priestly service here in the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.  Please register now at www.pghpriest.com this week!

BIBLE READINGS FOR THIS WEEK
This Sunday:  Isaiah 61:1-11 / I Thessalonians 5:16-24 / and John 1:6-28
Monday—Saturday:  Matthew 1-2
Next Sunday:  2 Samuel &: 1-12 / Romans 16: 25-27 / and Luke 1:26-38

WOULD YOU LIKE TO BECOME A CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN?
    Are you interested in learning more about the Catholic faith?  Have you been attending our Sunday Liturgy with your spouse and want to look into taking the next step?  The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) is the process in which adults prayerfully reflect on your journey in order to discern if you’re called to live as a disciple of Jesus within the Catholic community.  Perhaps the Lord is calling you to take this step now!  It’s never too late to begin as this process is directed to individuals where you are at this time.  If you’re interested in exploring this process, contact Andy Bechman at 412-781-0186, ext. 18, OR andybechman@saintscholastica.com

VICTIM’S  DIOCESAN  ASSISTANCE  HOTLINE
    Our Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh offers a toll-free hotline for anyone needing to report abuse.  The Victim's Assistance Hotline is 1-888-808-1235.

LITURGY SCHEDULE / PRIEST’S INTENTION
Monday, December 15
   8:30 am   Deceased Members of the O’Donnell and Avila Families (Josephine Martinez)

Tuesday, December 16
   8:30 am   90th Birthday, Pat Rigatti (Children)
          
Wednesday, December 17
   8:30 am   Lucille Domzal (Domzal Family)

Thursday, December 18
   8:30 am   Joe Vito (Guy Tumolo)
               
Friday, December 19
   8:30 am   Joe Vito (Guy Tumolo)

Saturday, December 20
   9:00 am   John Stafford (Family)

   5:00 pm   Tim Maher (Mary Ellen & Jack Maher)
      Presider:  Father James Torquato
  
Sunday, December 21— Fourth Sunday of Advent
   7:30 am   All Saint Scholastica Parish Members
      Presider: Father James Torquato 
               
   9:00 am   Wedding Anniversary, Anthony Michael & Joan Grace Farina (Anthony & Jean Marie Farina)
      Presider: Father Sean Hogan, CSSp

   11:00 am   Thomas Amodeo (Mother & Family)
      Presider: Father  James Torquato

DONATIONS FOR THE HOMELESS AND POOR
       The time is here for ‘Christmas in the Streets” for poor families in the area.   Donations of hams may be brought to 318 Third Street on Monday, December 15.
       The donations of turkeys at Thanksgiving amounted to 3,019 pounds of turkeys shared with those in need.  Many thanks to all who donated to this important effort to provide food for the needy in our local area!   Your generosity and goodness are certainly appreciated!
       Please consider the needs of all the poor in our area.  The local ministry to the homeless and poor needs:  canned chili or stew, canned beans (red, black, kidney, etc.), hamburger helper, and rice.    
       Please also check the parish website Stewardship page here for information.  Donation bins are located in the church entrance.  Thank you very much!

GOOD NEWS FROM OUR ACADEMY!

CDTCA OPEN HOUSE — BRING YOUR FAMILY, NEIGHBORS, AND FRIENDS!
    On Saturday, January 24 from 1:00 pm-4:00 pm, our parish’s regional elementary school, Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy, will hold its annual Open House for new and transfer students and your families.  Parents and students are welcome to come and visit our excellent Academy on that day as well as during visits to the school during the months ahead.  Please mark your calendars now.  Also, please share word of this event with your family and friends and neighbors as well!

CERITFICATES ON SALE DECEMBER 21 TO SUPPORT CDTCA
    On Sunday, December 21, our academy staff members will be in the church entrance to make store certificates available for purchase in time for your holiday gift giving!  Please stop by the main entrance and you’ll find many store gift cards available.  Thanks very much for your support of our parish’s Catholic Academy!

OUR CATHOLIC FOCUS FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER
    Focused on sharing our Catholic Christian faith with the 150+ students and the families of our Catholic Academy, our Catholic focus for December is: Learning about our Rights and Responsibilities!  As Catholic Christians, we believe that each of us has personal rights and responsibilities of which we should be aware and which we should protect and take very seriously.  We would like all of our students to learn this important lesson and keep it in mind always. 
    Join us at CDTCA—an excellent school where our Catholic faith and life are always most important!
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PRAYER RESOURCE FOR ALL FAMILIES
    Parents, you can receive a free weekly PDF email of family prayers and faith activities.  Contact Andy Bechman at andybechman@saintscholastica.com this week!

BULLETIN SPONSOR OF THE WEEK
    Many thanks to Hartwood Chiropractic for  being a Sunday Bulletin sponsor.  Contact them this week for your personal and family needs and your physical health.
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      Our Saint Scholastica Parish Mission is to continue the work of Christ together as a faith community, through the celebration of the Sacraments, living spiritually in the world, and working to be caring members of the community.
      As committed Catholics, we are sent to bear the Light of Christ to transform the world by our devotion, service and witness.

Inviting and Welcoming
   Now and in the years ahead, we will focus on inviting new members and families to join us as well as welcoming our current members to participate in our Liturgy and parish life!  Let’s all invite God’s people to join us and welcome them too!

SAINT SCHOLASTICA PARISH
309 Brilliant Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15215
Telephone 412-781-0186, ext. 10           
Fax 412-781-4316
Internet site:  www.saintscholastica.com
Parish Office hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Most Reverend David A. Zubik, DD

The Episcopal Vicar for Diocesan Region Four
Very Reverend Philip N. Farrell, VE

Pastor of the Parish
Reverend James R. Torquato............................Ext. 10

Parish Secretary—Safe Environment Program—Bulletin
Amy Condosta...............................................Ext.10

Director of Music/ Bereavement Coordinator
Sister Patricia Baker, CDP................................Ext. 17

Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry
Jamie Dillon, MS, MA, RRT...............................Ext. 20 

Assistants for the Religious Education Program
Meredith Troyan, Gina Musser..........................Ext. 21

Director of Adult Religious Education and R.C.I.A.
Andrew Bechman, MEd....................................Ext. 18 

Facilities Staff
Thomas Galda, Matthew Ross, David Urso    

CHRIST THE DIVINE TEACHER CATHOLIC ACADEMY
205 Brilliant Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15215

Principal
Mr. Mark N. Grgurich, MSEd.................. (412)781-7927