From the Pastor – November 29, 2015

frmnicks_mug_smallThis Sunday we officially start a new liturgical year with the beginning of Advent. The color for the season is purple, the color we use for Lent. This is not coincidence. Both Lent and Advent share a common character. They are both seasons of preparation, one for Christmas, the other for Easter. They are both penitential seasons.

That’s right, Advent, like lent, is a Penitential season. Another name for it, in fact, is ‘little Lent.’ Practically speaking, that means that during the next four weeks, we should be practicing the three traditional penitential practices of prayer, almsgiving and fasting. Those first two come naturally for most people this time of year. However, the third is often overlooked. That is to our spiritual detriment, because fasting, too, is an important part of our preparation for the joy of Christmas. But what a difficult time to do it!

The entire world seems to fill up during these four weeks with every delicious food imaginable. So, what should we do? Like Lent, I recommend giving something up-it doesn’t have to be big-until Christmas morn. If we love fudge or divinity, let’s offer that up as a sacrifice in preparation for the Prince of Peace. If we are partial to Christmas Cookies, let’s offer our self-denial as a sign of our love for the Babe in the Manger. If Christmas music is our delight, why not try to hold off and offer our enjoyment of it as a gift to the Infant King?

Beside choosing a small fast for these next four weeks, we should also seek out opportunities to be generous, especially with those in need. There are many opportunities that present themselves this time of year. In particular, I would like to warmly recommend planning to make a donation to the annual Catholic Charities Christmas Collection. This is the only time that Catholic Charities asks for a donation all year long and it is a great way to support their work with those who are most in need. Their envelopes will be mailed to homes and present in the Churches throughout Walla Walla.

Finally, we turn to prayer. Of course, it would be a wonderful thing to simply dedicate more time to personal prayer during this month. Perhaps we might consider going to daily Mass with greater frequency. Families could commit to praying the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary once a week. One thing I would like to recommend is a specific Marian Prayer that the Church, in particular, commends to the faithful during the Advent season-the Alma Redemptoris Mater. As a part of our Advent preparation, the priests of Walla Walla have chosen to say it together every morning that we gather for prayer. I would like to invite all Catholics to join us in this practice, praying the prayer daily throughout the weeks of Advent.

Loving Mother of the Redeemer, gate of heaven, star of the sea, assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again. To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting, have pity on us poor sinners.

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray. Pour forth, we beseech Thee, a Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Through the same Christ, our Lord. Amen.

In Christ,
Fr. Nicks

Feasts & Seasons of the Church

Joanna Bogle’s 30 minute video series continues after each Mass in the parish hall, during coffee and donuts. Come learn about the history, fascinating stories, traditional Catholic customs and special holiday recipes during the Advent and Christmas season.


The final part of the Liturgy of the Word is an opportunity for the people of God to exercise their priestly function by interceding for the needs of all humanity. These are called the General Intercessions, because they are to be just that, general, for the needs of all. They used to be called the “Prayer of the Faithful” because in the early church, those who were not yet fully initiated, that is the catechumens, were not allowed to take part in them since they had not yet been baptized priest, prophet, and king. The catechumens actually left before the creed. They were not allowed to remain to hear or profess the mysteries of faith until they had completed their initiation. This second “half” of the liturgy, beginning with the Creed, was called “The Mass of the Faithful,” while the first part was called “The Mass of the Catechumens.”

Shower for the Homeless

Pioneer Methodist Church and the Walla Walla Alliance for the homeless are partnering to offer the homeless an opportunity to take a shower on Mondays, 11:30 – 1:30 pm, at the same time Pioneer Methodist provides a free lunch. Needed items: quart bottles of Clorox bleach, shampoo, miniature hotel-size soaps, bleachable towels and wash cloths. Bring them to Pioneer Methodist Church, Alder & Birch, 9 am-noon, 1-3 pm., Monday – Thursday.

Free Evergreen branches

Free Evergreen branches (extras from Advent wreath making) available to pick up outside the corner door behind Assumption Parish Hall.


Wednesday November 25th at 5:00 pm St. Patrick (Vigil)
November 26 Thursday 9 am at St. Francis
November 26, Thursday 10:30 am at Assumption
November 26, Thursday 10:00 am at St. Patrick –Multilingual