From the Pastor’s Desk

The First Sunday of Advent

Dec 3, 2023

What I say to you, I say to all: “Watch!”
-Mark 13:37

Brothers and Sisters,

I must admit a humbling truth: I did not pass the test. For a while, this failure was a personal embarrassment. No one in my circle, not even my older brothers, had faced such a setback. But the test, deemed easy and largely common sense, proved otherwise. Its new computerized format, introduced just a year before, should have been the first hint of my imminent failure. When I informed my mother, she initially thought I was joking about failing the test for my driving learner’s permit.

I had assumed it would be a breeze, given my bookish nature (I consistently earned good grades). The rules of the road seemed simple and straightforward, mostly common sense — stop at stop signs, follow traffic signs and speed limits, and use your turn signal (as per Maryland’s Driver Manual, Section 3: Basic Driving, G. Turning). As an aside, one of my pet peeves is when drivers disregard Section 5: Driving Situations and Conditions, specifically when it comes to funeral processions. It’s important that we all respect funeral processions by refraining from cutting through them and educating new drivers on the proper protocol for yielding the right-of-way to vehicles in a funeral procession.

The question that lingered was, “Why did I fail?” It was a real-life lesson on the dangers of combining arrogance and inattentiveness — much like the peril of distracted driving or assuming one is too skilled to get into an accident.

As we enter the Advent season, it is a time to recognize our need for the Lord in our lives and heed His command: “Watch.” It is crucial to be observant of indications of God’s existence in our daily lives. We can also take solace in the pledge of His reappearance. The season of Advent reminds us to be aware of Jesus’ presence in the here and now, ensuring he is always with us as his us.

Prayer is the key to following Jesus’ call to “Watch!” This Advent, I encourage you, as individuals and families, to set the goal of entering into daily prayer. Much like driving, prayer becomes second nature, but distracted praying can be perilous. Review your prayer habits — when, where, and how you pray. Strive for consistency and create a focused space. Consider spending time in our Adoration Chapel if possible. Delve into the basics of prayer, including reading Scriptures and expressing gratitude, much like St. Paul does in our second reading. Engage in creative and consistent prayer, recognizing that, like driving, learning to pray requires active involvement, not just reading a manual (though learning from our great masters, the saints, is invaluable).

May your prayers yield knowledge and a growing awareness of the Lord’s miracles in and around your life.

In the Lord,

Rev. Michael S. Triplett

Other Considerations in and around our Community:

  • MOUNT DE SALES ACADEMY’S CHRISTMAS BAZAAR AND SPAGHETTI DINNER – Sunday, December 3, from 11 AM – 5 PM. Dinner, holiday shopping, Raffles, Santa’s Secret Shop for children, and a special visit with Santa! To learn more, visit Santa’s Secret Shop for children and a special visit with Santa! To learn more, www.mountdesales.org.
  • ST. LIDWINA CHRONIC PAIN SUPPORT GROUP – Do you or someone you love suffer from chronic pain? Father Larry Swink is starting an online apostolate aimed at those who suffer from chronic pain–a cause he, too, endures. The forum is a place to share struggles, for Father to give Catholic advice on how to carry this cross, and a venue to share online Healing Masses and prayers. Visit thedeeperdivepodcast.com to learn more.
  • INDIVIDUAL UNBOUND MINISTRY PRAYER Many of us are fighting invisible battles with anxieties, negative thoughts, sins, unhealthy relationships, destructive habits, resentments, and bitter wounds that never seem to heal. You can experience God’s merciful love, healing, and freedom! Unbound Ministry Prayer releases the power of Jesus into wounded lives. On Saturday, December 9th, trained teams will be available to provide individual prayer using the Unbound Model of prayer in Ellicott City, MD. Unbound Prayer is based on five scriptural keys that help you unlock those areas of your life where you want to receive greater freedom, healing, and spiritual growth. If you would like to schedule an appointment or want more information, please get in touch with Dan or Peggy Gahagan by Monday, December 4th at UnboundMinistryMaryland@gmail.com.

Going on at OLPH:

STAY CONNECTED THIS ADVENT: As we eagerly anticipate the celebration of the birth of our Lord, there are numerous opportunities for you (and your family) to deepen your faith and strengthen your connection with the divine. For more information on our Advent events and to stay connected with the Our Lady of Perpetual Help community, visit OLPHParish.org/advent. Embrace the true essence of Advent as a time of anticipation, reflection, and spiritual renewal.

PRAYER AND PRAISE FOR YOUNG ADULT MEN – Twice monthly, OLPH Men’s Ministry will host praise and worship in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at Our Lady of Perpetual Help—just an uncomplicated night of prayer, soft music by guitar, and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Hearing the sound of men’s voices, all lifted in prayer and song is powerful, and praying together as men are desperately needed in a society that lacks solid Christian men with values who strive to live out the Gospel of Our Blessed Lord. Young Adult Men (ages 18-35) of the parish and friends, please mark your calendar for the first and third Mondays of each month to join us at 8 PM. Our next gathering will be in the Chapel on Monday, December 4, at 8 PM.

OLPH PARISHIONER DEDICATES SPRING BREAK TO MISSION WORK Freshman Sydney McGee of the Franciscan University of Steubenville will join a team of missionaries to Quito, Ecuador, during Spring Break 2024. The parish is proud to support Sydney in this effort. If you, too, would like to contribute to the expense of her trip, visit https://outreach.franciscan.edu/ecuador-spring-mission/ into your browser to donate through Franciscan University’s website. Enter “Sydney McGee” under “Enter Student’s Name.” So that you know, donations are not tax deductible since it is going to a person.