St. Michael's Jesuit Parish in Buffalo will reach out to a growing downtown faith community during Advent with a series of liturgies and programs designed to prepare for the celebration of Christmas.
"Something Beautiful for God: Walking through Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta" is the theme of a Thursday evening series offered by the St. Michael's community. Inspired by a personal encounter with Mother Teresa in 1985 and her recent pilgrimage to the canonization ceremony in Rome, parishioner Sister Johnice Rzadkiewicz, CSSF, assisted the staff in designing the Advent program to help people benefit from the season.
"People hunger for a deeper spirituality," noted the director of the Response to Love Center, adding, "St. Teresa is the perfect guide for our Advent because she touched the brokenness of all."
All are welcome to participate in the Advent Thursdays series, which begin at 6:30 p.m. The first service will take place in the parish social hall. All other services will be in the church. The parish's secured parking lot is entered on Ellicott Street. The series includes the following:
Dec. 1 - A Saint for Advent: The Spirituality of St. Teresa of Calcutta - An Advent prayer service with reflection led by Sister Johnice. This service will include a blessing with a relic of St. Teresa.
Dec. 8 - My Soul Magnifies the Lord: Mary Inspires Our Advent - Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Music ministry and reflection on Marian songs by Mary Lou Wyrobek.
Dec. 15 - Prepare the Way of the Lord! Advent Reconciliation Service - A prayer service with opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and music ministry provided by Peaceful Dove.
Dec. 22 - Away in the Manger: Customs to Celebrate Jesus's Birth - A prayer service and reflection on traditions of the Nativity scene. Music ministry by Lyn Rezabek and students.
The Jesuit staff of the parish will offer reflections for Advent on Sunday mornings, at 11 a.m., in the parish social hall in addition to the Thursday series. Each week, a speaker will reflect on a favorite Christmas carol and how it helps us prepare to celebrate Christ's birth.
Peaceful Dove will join the St. Michael's community with their inspiring music ministry at the noon Mass on the first Sunday of Advent, Nov. 27, and the third Sunday of Advent, Dec. 11, to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. The music ensemble will also join parishioners to celebrate Epiphany Sunday at noon on Jan. 8, 2017.
The Jesuit parish also now offers two Sunday evening Masses, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. The Masses are designed to accommodate the busy schedules of the changing residential community as well as the large number of Western New Yorkers visiting the city for seasonal events.
"People long to grow in their relationship with God, and we want to continue to be a spiritual home for them, just as we have been since 1851," noted Father Fred Betti, SJ, associate pastor. "We welcome the many people coming downtown for theater, hockey, dining, Canalside skating or a post-Bills' game celebration who also look for a time and place to worship."
For more information about Advent offerings at St. Michael Parish as well as a complete list of regular services, visit www.StMichaelBuffalo.org or call the rectory at 716-854-6726.