Dear Friends in Christ,
As you gather around the Thanksgiving table, I hope that your family takes a moment to reflect upon what you are especially grateful for in your lives. As your Pastor, I am thankful for your commitment to discipleship which includes your presence, prayers and support of our Annunciation Catholic Church parish family.
On November 27th, we will begin a new liturgical year with the celebration of the First Sunday of Advent. I pray that the spiritual aid, Sacred Reading, that was mailed out to all registered parishioners, will assist you and your loved ones this Advent. Each day, a brief reflection is provided which you may wish to ponder individually, with your family or with friends. I suggest that you place this spiritual aid in a convenient place in your home (perhaps the kitchen table?) so that you are inspired to grow in faith during these days of preparation for the feast of Christmas.
I am especially excited this year about our Advent Outreach. We are partnering with local schools and Cross Catholic Outreach to deliver a Christmas gift to children, both locally and internationally, that otherwise might not receive one. Each of the gifts, called a Box of Joy, will contain basic items for hygiene and health, a t-shirt, and a toy or game. Since we have 3818 registered families in our parish we will be assembling 3818 Boxes of Joy… one from each of our parish families. I hope that you will participate by taking a Wish Slip after Mass and purchasing the necessary items, making a financial donation to the project, and/or attending our Starry Night celebration on December 14th when we will be assembling the boxes for shipping. For more information on how you can participate, please visit annunciationorlando.org/advent. Thank you for your prayers for the children who will receive a Box of Joy in honor of all of our parish families!
Each week, I stand before you and ask for prayers for myself as well as the Priests and Religious Sisters who serve our parish. Your prayers provide encouragement and strength for us and also bind us together as a family of faith. Know that we are praying for you, your loved ones and your intentions. May you find great joy in giving thanks to God for the blessings in your life!
In Joyful Hope,
Very Rev. Stephen D. Parkes, V.F.