December 6. 2015

A NOTE FROM FATHER TORQUATO    
     In today’s Gospel account, Saint John calls on the People of God to prepare for the coming of the Lord into their midst.  John proclaims the exciting news that the long awaited Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ had come into the world and was now with them.  This good news was a wonderful message for John and for the people of Israel!
    Since those days 2000 years ago, the Church of Christ and the entire world have all benefited from the coming of the Son of God to humanity and to the world!  Jesus brought the Good News of God’s Love for all people, and Jesus taught humanity how to live in the ways and love of God.  Jesus and his disciples and his Church have changed the world by bringing the light of God and the Kingdom of God to all peoples of the world.
     Now, it’s our time to anticipate the second coming of the Lord and to know the joy that, one day, Jesus will return to complete God’s Kingdom and bring us all to everlasting life.  May we be prepared for Jesus’ return, and may we rejoice with John and all the saints and all God’s people at the Lord’s return.  God bless!                                                                             —Father Jim Torquato
   
OUR NEW HOLY YEAR OF MERCY
    This Tuesday, December 8, Pope Francis will officially inaugurate the Holy Year of Mercy during which all Catholic Christians are invited to celebrate the mercy and forgiveness of God that is at the heart of Jesus’ Gospel. 
    Please see the insert in the November 20 edition of the Pittsburgh Catholic for information about the Holy Year.  News about our diocesan and parish events for the Holy Year of Mercy will be shared in the bulletin during the weeks and months ahead.  May we all rejoice in the Lord’s Divine Mercy.  God bless!

OPENING THE CATHEDRAL HOLY DOOR FOR THE YEAR OF MERCY
    For nine centuries, Popes have called for a Holy Year as a sacred jubilee of our Catholic faith and life.   Now they are usually scheduled every 25 years, but a Pope can hold a Holy Year when he thinks it’s fitting.
    The Holy Doors for the Holy Year (usually set at the Basilicas of Rome) are destinations for Catholic pilgrims as they travel more deeply into the divine life of God.  Pope Francis has asked every bishop to have a local Holy Door at their own cathedral.  Bishop David Zubik will open our Holy Door on Sunday, December 13 at 2:30pm.  All are most welcome!
  
CELEBRATING MARY’S IMMACULATE CONCEPTION THIS TUESDAY
    Each Advent, one of our earliest celebrations of the new Church Year is our celebration of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the womb of Saint Anne her mother. 
     Mary is so essential to God’s plan of salvation, that we believe she was preserved from any stain of sin from the moment of her conception! 
    Plan to join us for our National U. S. Holy Day and this Holy Day of Obligation on Tuesday, December 8 for our Liturgy at 8:30am, 12 noon, OR  7:00pm.   God bless you on this Holy Day!

RETURNING YOUR GIFTS FOR THE ADVENT GIVING TREE
         Please return all Giving Tree donations during next weekend, December 12-13,  so that your gifts can be distributed to gift recipients during the week of December 13.  Thank you for your Christmas generosity and your Catholic charity!

2016 LOTTERY CALENDARS AVAILABLE
     CDTCA students and parents will make Lottery Calendars available here in the main church entrance this weekend. The donation for each Lottery Calendar is $25.  Daily prizes are $25-$275.  These Lottery calendars also make great Christmas gifts!   For questions, contact Lori by email here  OR call 412-580-2982.  Thanks for supporting CDTCA!

PARISH STEWARDSHIP THIS MONTH
November donations to our parish —     $48,110
Monthly Parish donations needed —      $47,576

Thank you so much for your generosity!

BEST ADVENT EVER WITH MATTHEW KELLY!
    Deepen your experience of Advent and Christmas!  Get “Best Advent Ever—Rediscover Mercy.”  Register for the Year of Mercy at the Dynamic Catholic website here.

OUR COMMITTEE MEMBERS VISITED HAITI
    This past week, both Dr. Maureen O’Brien, PhD, and Mr. John Cravotta of our parish’s Hope for Haiti Committee were in Haiti with members of the Mortel Family Charitable Foundation to visit the students and families helped by you, by our parish committee, and by the Mortel Foundation. 
    They visited the schools where Saint Scholastica Parish is currently sponsoring students.  These students study at the Good Samaritans Elementary School and the James Stine Schools.
    Our parish members will soon share with us their photos and impressions of the progress being made!

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND YOUTH MINISTRY NEWS

YOUTH LITURGY AND CAROLING
    On Saturday, December 12, all of our youth are invited to participate in the monthly Youth Mass at 5:00pm.  Then they will head to the V.A. Hospital for caroling!  Wear your favorite holiday sweater.  Donations of cookies and milk are also welcome!
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FLOWERS AT THE ALTAR FOR OUR HOLY DAY
    The Immaculate Conception December 8 Holy Day flowers at the church altar have been donated by the Gallagher Family.  Thank you for your goodness!

JOIN ONE OF OUR CHOIRS FOR THE WINTER!
    Music ministry is a wonderful way to share your time, talent, and faith with our parish community!  Now is the time to sign up and sing with either our 9:00 am Contemporary Ensemble  OR  our 11:00 am Saint Scholastica Schola this winter from January 12/13 to March 13.   Contact Sister Pat personally or sign up via our parish office or our parish web site.  Thanks!

DECEMBER 9 EVENING FOR CONFESSIONS
    You’re cordially invited by Bishop David Zubik to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Wednesday evening, December 9, from 6:00pm—9:00pm in our parish church. 
    As we begin the Holy Year of Mercy on December 8, this evening of mercy and forgiveness will be a true blessing for our parish and for all members who participate in this sacrament given us by the Lord Jesus.  No matter how long it’s been since you’ve celebrated this sacrament, be sure to come on December 9 and be renewed in grace and holiness by Jesus and the Holy Spirit!  You’ll rejoice that you did!

CHRISTMAS CARDS ARE AVAILABLE NOW
FROM OUR RESPECT LIFE COMMITTEE
    Once again this year, beautiful and inspiring Christmas cards are available from members of our Respect Life Committee.  The cards are $6 for a packet of ten cards.  Your donation will help Respect Life efforts!  Call Mrs. Mary Catherine Scanlon (412-781-6550) this week!

WHERE WE ARE THIS YEAR AS A PARISH
    We have 1216 families in Saint Scholastica Parish and a total membership of 2835 individuals.  Each Sunday, we have an average of 770 adults and children participating in our Liturgies.  On average,  27% of our parish members participate in our Sunday worship.  Hopefully, we’ll grow in the coming years.  Please invite others to join us each weekend!

KEEPING THE CHURCH ALIVE!
    We’re NOT spectators in the life of the Lord’s Church.  We’re called to be active participants!
    This is what “On Mission” is all about!  To learn how we can accomplish this goal, visit www.OnMissionChurchAlive.org.

Retail gift cards will be on sale next Sunday, December 13   after each Liturgy.  Your purchases through this program support our Catholic Academy!

PROMOTING THE CALL TO SERVICE
    Living a lifetime of service in the Church is not as popular as it was in past generations.  Yet it’s still very important that we extend the invitation to young people and encourage generous men and women to respond to the Lord’s call.  Invite the young to serve!

Men still needed to help the needy — the Saint Vincent de Paul Society needs men to move supplies during third Thursdays in their food bank in Sharpsburg.  To help, please contact Boo Benckart by email here.  Thanks for serving like Jesus!

Again, thanks for helping to clean up our church after (and before)  each weekend Liturgy.  We’re all very grateful for your care and your help!

THINKING OF OUR PARISH’S FUTURE!
    Some members have generously included our parish in their wills.    Your inclusion of our parish in your final plans will be greatly appreciated!

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 7 — Saint Ambrose, bishop
   8:30 am   Dr. Robert Block (Sandy & Tony Ricchiuto)

Tuesday, December 8 — The Immaculate Conception
   8:30 am   Nicole Albright (mother, Kathleen Albright & brother, Danny Harris)

   12:00 pm   All St. Scholastica Parish Members
   7:00 pm   Craig Shondeck, birthday (Family)

Wednesday, December 9 — Saint Juan Diego
   8:30 am   Catherine Wise Bulger (Paul Kennedy)

Thursday, December 10
   8:30 am   Sebastian & Mary Sette (Mr. & Mrs. Regis Wessell)

Friday, December 11 — Pope Saint Damasus I
   8:30 am   Susan Tamburo (Evelyn Conflenti)

Saturday, December 12 — Our Lady of Guadalupe
   9:00 am   Louis Certo (The Certo Family)

   5:00 pm   All Saint Scholastica Parish Members
      Presider: Father James Torquato

Sunday, December 13 — Third Sunday of Advent
   7:30 am   Carol A. Strahler   (The CDTCA Family)
      Presider: Father James Torquato

   9:00 am   Donal Hogan (The Contemporary Choir)
      Presider: Father Sean Hogan, CSSp

   11:00 am   Deceased members of the Donnelly-Shanahan Families (Constance Donnelly)
      Presider: Father James Torquato

Readings for the Week of December 6, 2015

Sunday: Baruch 5:1-9/Psalm 126:1-6/Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11/Luke 3:1-6

Monday: Isaiah 35:1-10/ Psalm 85:9-14/Luke 5:17-26

Tuesday: Genesis 3:9-15, 20/Psalm 98:1-4/Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12/Luke 1:26-38

Wednesday: Isaiah 40:25-31/Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10/Matthew 11:28-30

Thursday: Isaiah 41:13-20/Psalm 145:1, 9-13/Matthew 11:11-15

Friday: Isaiah 48:17-19/Psalm 1:1-4, 6/Matthew 11:16-19

Saturday: Zechariah 2:14-17 or Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab/Judith 13:18-19/Luke 1:26-38 or Luke 1:39-47

Next Sunday: Zephaniah 3:14-18a/Isaiah 12:2-6/Philippians 4:4-7/Luke 3:10-18

HELPING THE HOMELESS AND THE POOR
    The local group which serves our neighbors now needs these items:  canned fruit, tuna, and spaghetti sauce. Donation bins are inside our church. 
     Larger donations in bags (NOT boxes) and ALL clothing donations may be brought to the SIDE DOOR of 316 3rd Street, Aspinwall, from 10am-12pm on Mondays and Fridays.  Please do NOT leave any donations outside 316 or 318 Third Street.  Thank you!

GOOD NEWS FROM OUR ACADEMY!

OUR MONTHLY CDTCA THEME
    As we explore the importance of Courage for our lives, the theme for this month of December at CDTCA is “Following Your Heart!”  As Psalm 27:14 tells us “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart!”

SANTA’S WORKSHOP IS HERE THIS WEEKEND!
    This December 5-6,  Santa’s Workshop will be held in our Parish Hall.  This sale of handmade crafts and inexpensive items will be open for all parish members after this weekend’s Liturgies to help you start your Christmas shopping!   Come and find  items for your family and all on your Christmas gift list!

OUR CDTCA CHRISTMAS SHOW
    On Thursday, December 17, at 7:00pm, our CDTCA students in Grades K-4 will present their annual Christmas Program in the parish gymnasium.  Please join us for this special evening! 
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COOKIE BAKING FOR THE FOOD PANTRY
    All women are invited to bake Christmas cookies to be shared with families served by the Sharpsburg Food Pantry.  Please bring homemade donations to the cafeteria on Sunday, Dec. 13, 8am—12 noon!

A DECEMBER WEEKEND RETREAT FOR MEN CONSIDERING A CALL TO THE PRIESTHOOD
    This December 18-20,  all men 18+ years of age are welcome to a retreat to discern a possible call to ordained priesthood.  Vocation Director Father Joseph Freedy and diocesan staff will conduct this retreat.  Find information this week at www.pghpriest.com.

EXPLORING ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
    Millions of Americans are dealing with alcoholism and substance abuse.  A program dealing with this issue in family life and among our youth will be held this Sunday afternoon, December 6, at 2:00pm at Saint Juan Diego Parish, Ninth Street, Sharpsburg.

BULLETIN SPONSOR OF THE WEEK
    Our thanks go to  Paul J. Giuffre, Attorney at Law, for being a bulletin sponsor.  Please see his bulletin advertisement for contact information.    

Jesus is proclaimed by John!
   Jesus’ kinsman, Saint John, provides the bridge between the first People of God (Israel) and the new People of God (the Lord’s Church).  Not only does John baptize Jesus, he proclaims Jesus to be the long awaited Messiah of Israel and of the world!  Rejoice!

   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.

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, Joshua Condosta

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

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