Note from the online editor: I am sorry that I did not post this bulletin in a timely way. I was preoccupied with an illness. [AKB]
A NOTE FROM FATHER TORQUATO
One of the most common thoughts about Christmas is that it’s a wonderful time to be with family and relatives. I agree that, in addition to the celebration of our faith and the event of Jesus’ birth, sharing time with family and loved ones is a most special part of the Christmas Season! While most people appreciate having friends and good neighbors, it’s our actual family members who will always be closest to us and who hopefully will always be most important.
This importance of family is also the message that we hear on this Holy Family Sunday. As we honor the family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, we’re also reminded to cherish our parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. If our family life is good, then continue to make it even better. If there are issues and difficulties in the family, then this new year will be a good time to work through them and achieve reconciliation and renewal among family members.
Like Jesus, we have one family by birth. Like Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may we love our family members, may we cherish them, and may we make the effort together to have the best family life possible. God bless!
—Father Jim Torquato
MASS INTENTIONS FOR 2015
A venerable Catholic tradition is the practice of offering a Mass Intention for deceased or living family members and loved ones. With a Mass Intention, the priest offers his intention at the Liturgy for the person or persons named by the Intention donor. These prayers benefit the spiritual journey of those for whom the priest prays.
Our calendar of Mass Intentions for 2015 still has a number of available dates and times. If you’d like to remember your parents, grandparents, family or other loved ones in the Liturgy, please contact our parish office this week or in the weeks ahead.
2014 CONTRIBUTION STATEMENTS
In January, we will begin compiling contribution statements for 2014 and will be sending them to all the households in our parish, This practice allows you to verify the amount we have recorded for you. It also allows you to use your statement for tax deduction purposes. Thank you!
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
OUR JANUARY 1 HOLY DAY HONORING MARY, THE MOTHER OF GOD
Our Catholic Church has long celebrated January 1 as a Holy Day beginning the new calendar year. There’s no better way to start these 365 days than by beginning the year in prayer! This Holy Day of Obligation first and foremost honors Mary as the Mother of God in that she is the mother of the Lord Jesus, the Son of God. In addition, this is our annual Day of Prayer for World Peace!
Be sure to join us for the Holy Day Liturgy at either 4:00 pm on December 31 or at 10:00 am on Thursday, January 1. All Catholic Christians are expected to participate in our worship for the January 1 Holy Day!
MANY HOLIDAY 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 and especially in this Christmas Season!
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!
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!
HEATERS IN THE CHURCH RESTROOMS
Following many years of not having heat in the church restrooms, Father Torquato has contracted Greg Industries, Inc. of Shaler Township to install new heating units in each of the church restrooms. We hope this will benefit all of us during the winter months!
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!
Best wishes to all our members and families and friends for a blessed New Year 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.
BIBLE READINGS FOR THIS WEEK
This Sunday: Genesis 15:1-6 / Hebrews 11:8-19 /and Luke 2:22-40
Monday—Saturday: 1 John / Luke 2 / John 1
Next Sunday: Isaiah 60:1-6 / Ephesians 3:2-6 /and Matthew 2:1-12
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 firstname.lastname@example.org this week
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!
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.
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!
LITURGY SCHEDULE / PRIEST’S INTENTION
Monday, December 29—Saint Thomas Becket, martyr
8:30 am Edwin Fairley, birthday (Kathleen Piper)
Tuesday, December 30
8:30 am Rita C. Dailey (The Dailey Family)
Wednesday, December 31—New Year’s Eve
8:30 am Eleanor Pantone (Husband, Joseph, and children Joey, David and Marilyn)
4:00 pm Ervin Domzal (The Domzal Family)
Thursday, January 1, 2015 — Mary, the Mother of God
10:00 am All Saint Scholastica Parish Members
Friday, January 2—Saints Basil and Gregory, bishops
8:30 am Matthew Elder (The Elder Family)
Saturday, January 3—The Most Holy Name of Jesus
9:00 am Craig McNally (Eileen Bates)
5:00 pm Lois Molyneaux (The Downey Family)
Presider: Father James Torquato
Sunday, January 4—The Epiphany of the Lord
7:30 am The Tolge Family (Mary Zyczynski)
Presider: Father Jim Torquato
9:00 am Margaret Rubin (J.P. Kysel, father)
Presider: Father James Torquato
11:00 am All Saint Scholastica Parish Members
Presider: Father Sean Hogan, CSSp
Our Auxiliary Bishop William Waltersheid will join our parish and candidates to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation on Sunday, April 19 at 1:00 pm.
The Aquinas Guild invites all women of our parish and area to join them in 2015. Call the office for information.
CHRISTIAN MEDITATION SCHEDULE
Our Christian meditation group will meet on December 31 at 7:00 am in the Ministry Center library. All are welcome to come for silent meditation, prayer, discussion, and friendly conversation.
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 clothing until further notice. You are welcome to donate $5 McDonald’s gift cards, PAT Zone 1 bus tickets, and $2.50 ConnectCards and leave them in the small gift bag in the church entrance. The local ministry to the homeless and poor is requesting these food items to restock for the winter: canned stew, oatmeal in single serving packets, powdered milk, hot chocolate mix, canned beans, and macaroni and cheese.
Please continue to check the parish website Stewardship page here for information. Thanks very much!
GOOD NEWS FROM OUR ACADEMY!
Happy New Year from the students, faculty,
staff, and administration of
Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy!
Our Academy classes will begin again on Monday, January 5, 2015. Best wishes for the new calendar year!
CDTCA OPEN HOUSE — BRING YOUR FAMILY, NEIGHBORS, AND FRIENDS!
On Saturday, January 24, from 1:00-4:00 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!
DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGES BEING OFFERED FOR VISIT OF POPE FRANCIS IN SEPTEMBER
If you’re interested in participating in the September 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (which Pope Francis is planning to attend), our Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has arranged a variety of pilgrimage packages. You’ll find preliminary information in the main church entrance this weekend. Reservation forms will be available in the parish office next week! It’s an historic event that’s worth attending!
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!
BULLETIN SPONSOR OF THE WEEK
Many thanks to S&T Bank on Freeport Road in The Waterworks for being a Sunday Bulletin sponsor. Contact their local office for all your banking and loan 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 and Holy Family 2014
As Catholic Christians, we are now celebrating the holy season of Christmas! As we remember the birth of the Lord Jesus, we also recall the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as the model of our Christian living, love, holiness, and family life.
SAINT SCHOLASTICA PARISH
309 Brilliant Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15215
Telephone 412-781-0186, ext. 10
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
Thomas Galda, Matthew Ross, David Urso
CHRIST THE DIVINE TEACHER CATHOLIC ACADEMY
205 Brilliant Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15215
Mr. Mark N. Grgurich, MSEd.................. (412)781-7927