December 21, 2014

A NOTE FROM FATHER TORQUATO 

“Behold, Mary, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” 
(Luke 1:30)

    In celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus this week, I offer best wishes to all of our parish members, families, friends, visitors, and guest for a joyful and blessed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Christmas Season!  I hope that your gatherings and holiday events are both enjoyable and memorable, and I hope that all of the days of this holy season are filled with goodness in many ways!
    As Catholic Christians, we have always known that this holy season is not simply about gifts and food and parties.  This holy season is about so much more.  Our Christmas celebration is about the divine love of God shared with his people since the days of Israel and most especially about the divine love of God shared with all of us in the birth of God’s only divine Son, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Christ!
    Jesus is our true and only Savior who frees us and saves us from sin and darkness and death.  Jesus is Emmanuel, ‘God with us.’  Jesus is the assurance that we have been reconciled to God our Father and Creator.  Jesus is our hope and promise of God’s blessings in this life.  Finally, Jesus is the promise that, as his faithful people, we will be given a share in eternal life following our Resurrection from the dead.
    May you, your loved ones, and all of us enjoy a very good celebration of Jesus’ birth, and may the days ahead be blessed with true faith in the Lord and the peace, life, and love of God!   May God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit bless you now and always!
                                                                — Father Jim Torquato

AN R.C.I.A. UPDATE FOR OUR PARISH
    The Saint Scholastica Parish R.C.I.A. team is pleased to announce that  Mr. Ryan Dodge  has asked to be received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church.  Ryan is a baptized Christian who was raised and formed in the Episcopal Church.  He and his sponsor, Mr. Peter Froehlke, have been meeting with our R.C.I.A. director and other team members this year, and we believe that he is ready to take this important step!   As a baptized Christian formed in the faith, Ryan can be received into the Catholic Church at an appropriate Sunday Liturgy when he will make a Profession of Faith, receive Confirmation, and join us at the Eucharistic table of our Lord.  Please pray for Ryan as we make plans for his reception into the Catholic community!
                                                — from Mr. Andy Bechman

CELEBRATING CONSECRATED LIFE IN THE CHURCH
    From now 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!

MANY CHRISTMAS THANKS!
    Among the many activities of these holy days, one of the most important is our giving thanks for all the blessings and kindness that are shared with us!  We give thanks to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit numerous times each day and especially on Christmas Day! 
    As a parish community, we also give thanks to all of our parish members and friends who’ve helped to make this year’s celebration of Advent and Christmas very good and very memorable.  Our thanks go to:  all our members and families and guests who participate in our Liturgies and prayer;   all our choir members, youth ministry members, cantors, musicians, and music director for helping us all to worship the Lord;   our Lectors, Communion Ministers, servers, and ushers who assisted with the Liturgy in church;  our money counters who provide a valuable service;  those who minister to the children of our parish;  those who provided for the decoration of the church;   those who conducted and who contributed to the Giving Tree program;    the Aquinas Guild for their programs;  our Religious Education and Youth Ministry staff for your events;  our Catholic Academy community for all your celebrations;  and our helpers and volunteers who’ve all contributed to these special celebrations and seasons!
    May all of you and all of our Saint Scholastica Parish community continue to be blessed for your goodness and generosity,  and may we all continue to celebrate and share our Catholic Christian faith in the Lord now and throughout the new year ahead!   Thank you!  May God bless you all!

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!

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

Best wishes to all our students, parents, and families for a very good celebration of Christmas and the birth of the divine child Jesus!  

Are you 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!
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REBUILDING OUR PARISH COMMUNITIES!
    It’s very good to have so many members and families and friends of our parish community come together for our Liturgies on Christmas Eve and Day.  Every year, we have a full church!
    Yet we all know that the participation of most Catholic Christians continues to decline throughout our nation.  We see very few children with their parents from Sunday to Sunday.  Too many church members are disinterested in giving worship and thanks to God.  Many members have lost their practice of faith and prayer.  Also, many have become distracted by activities, electronic media, and entertainment as if they are more important than God.
    Inspired by Father Michael White of Baltimore and his parish (presented in the book Rebuilt), many parishes— including ours — hope to create a program of rebuilding in this new year and in the years ahead.  We will focus primarily on the Sunday Liturgy since it’s the time when most Catholics experience our parish.  We will emphasize inviting and welcoming back our inactive members and families.  We will encourage the head of each household to bring their family back to prayer.  We will encourage active participation in the Liturgy.  We will also promote small faith sharing groups in keeping with Bishop Zubik’s plan for the new evangelization in our Diocese of Pittsburgh.
    Thanks in advance for your participation!  Please look for ways in which you’ll be asked to join us in the rebuilding of our parish community.  With the help of the Lord and the Holy Spirit, our future can and will be blessed and bright!

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.  

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.

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 p.m. 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!

THE ANNUAL COLLECTION FOR OUR DIOCESAN CHILDREN’S CHARITIES
    This coming Christmas Eve and Day, we’ll have our regular collection for the support of our parish.  In addition, our Second Collection will be the annual collection to support the various children’s charities of our Diocese of Pittsburgh.  Your generosity toward these efforts for young children will be greatly appreciated!  Thank you very much!

A 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!

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.  Amy will remain a full time staff member and will also continue to administer our Safe Environment Program.
    This month, Mrs. Debbie VanDemark of our parish was hired as a part time secretary to assist in our office.  At this time, Debbie will work in the parish office on Mondays and Thursdays with possible added days in 2015.
    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!

OUR CHRISTMAS GIVING TREE PROJECT!
    Thanks very much to all our Giving Tree donors this year!   Many gifts and donations were received, and these gifts will be shared with children in our local area and in Appalachia.  Also, your financial donations will benefit many student and children in Haiti and in Kenya.    
    Be assured of the tremendous gratitude of those receiving your charitable goodness.  Thank you, and may the Lord bless all of you for your Giving Tree goodness!

Merry Christmas to one and to all!

LITURGY SCHEDULE / PRIEST’S INTENTION
Monday, December 22 
   8:30 am   Margaret E. Wasson (son, Robert)
 
Tuesday, December 23
   8:30 am   Mary Dee Maloney (Patty Maloney)
          
Wednesday, December 24—Christmas Eve
   8:30 am    For the living and deceased members of the Torquato Family (Father Jim Torquato)
   
   4:00 pm   Sarah Kristen Owen (Family)
   7:00 pm   All Saint Scholastica Parish Members
   10:00 pm   Frank and Sophie Skowron (Children and grandchildren)

Thursday, December 25 — Christmas Day
   10:00 am   Celia Mancini (Family)
               
Friday, December 26—Saint Stephen, the First Martyr
    8:30 am   Philip Joyce, birthday (Wife)

Saturday, December 27—Saint John the Evangelist
   9:00 am   Deceased members of the McKay and Veltri Families (Family)

   5:00 pm   For Peace in our Nation         
      Presider:  Father James Torquato
  
Sunday, December 28— Holy Family Sunday
   7:30 am   Dr. and Mrs. William Labriola (Family)
      Presider: Father Sean Hogan, CSSp 
               
   9:00 am   All Saint Scholastica Parish members
      Presider: Father James Torquato

   11:00 am   Joseph Costa and Rosalia Costa-Clarke (Antonietta Costa and Family)
      Presider: Father  James Torquato

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION SCHEDULE
    Our Christian meditation group will meet on December 24 and 31 at 7:00 am in the Ministry Center library.  All are welcome to come for silent meditation, prayer, discussion, and conversation.

Christmas music everyone?   Yes, Advent is the season for Advent music in our Liturgy.  Soon, the Christmas Season will begin with our singing of Christmas songs and carols.  Join us in singing the joyful songs of our faith which share the Good News of the Lord Jesus’ birth!

DONATIONS FOR THE HOMELESS AND POOR
    Merry Christmas to all, and many thanks to those who donated hams and more to our Christmas effort and in 2014 to provide food and more for the needy in our local area!   Your generosity is certainly appreciated!   God bless you!
    Because of the holidays, please do NOT leave food or clothing until further notice.  You are welcome to donate $5  McDonald’s gift cards, PAT Zone 1 bus tickets, and $2.50 Connect Cards and leave them in the small gift bag in the church entrance.  Please continue to check the parish website Stewardship page here for information.  Thanks very much!

GOOD NEWS FROM OUR ACADEMY!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the students, faculty, staff, and administration of Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy!
   Our Academy will end classes this December 23 at noon and will then begin again on Monday, January 5, 2015.

CDTCA OPEN HOUSE — BRING YOUR FAMILY, NEIGHBORS, AND FRIENDS!
    On Saturday, January 24 at 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
    This 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 for your support!
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RENEWING OUR RESURRECTION FUNERAL CHOIR
    Your participation is needed and requested!  Formed in 1996, our Resurrection Funeral Choir is a group of committed parish members who know the value of sacred song at the significant event of a Funeral Liturgy.  Our Resurrection Choir members also know the importance of the compassion and support that they offer to each family who brings their deceased loved one for their final Liturgy.
    Once a very large choir, time has taken its toll, and there are now five members or less who come to any funeral.  In order to maintain this special program, we very much need the help and participation of parish members who can commit to singing with this choir at about 20 funerals each year. 
     If you’re interested, practice is held about 30 minutes prior to the funeral.  All singing is in unison and is led by a cantor and Sister Pat Baker.  We’d like to again have 10-15 choir members at every funeral.  If you’re available for two hours in the morning and wish to offer compassion during our funerals, please contact Sister Patricia Baker, CDP this week by calling the parish office!

Rejoice!  The Lord Jesus our Savior is born!

BULLETIN SPONSOR OF THE WEEK
   Many thanks to Mr. James P. Leslie, CFP of RBC Wealth Management for being a Sunday Bulletin sponsor. Contact him this week for your personal and family needs!
 
      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.

Christmas 2014
As Catholic Christians, we’ll soon begin the holy season of Christmas!    This is the time we celebrate that the Lord Jesus our Savior came to us 2014 years ago. He brought us joy, peace, grace, love, hope, and eternal life—and he will return one day!


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 Office Staff
Debbie VanDemark, 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 

Bookkeeper/ Safe Environment Coordinator
Amy Condosta………………………………………………Ext. 11

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