Merry Christmas to the Good Shepherd School community! We hope you enjoy the holiday with family and friends in a safe and COVID-friendly manner!
We also must remember and be thankful for the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus Christ. He brings peace to our lives and watches over us everyday.
Lord God, we praise you for creating man, and still more for restoring him in Christ. Your Son shared our weakness; may we share his glory, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Merry Christmas! God bless you all!
Since March, we all have discovered new ways to bring some semblance of normalcy to our everyday tasks. We work and learn from home. We use Zoom and other online video and streaming technology for work, schooling, holidays, Mass and much more.
Young adults within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are using Zoom to journey through Advent together. Sponsored by the Office of Cultural Ministries, the Religious of the Assumption, St. Francis de Sales and St. Agatha-St. James Parishes in Philadelphia and the Penn Catholic Newman Community at the University of Pennsylvania, and with the help of spiritual guides and parish partners, participants are readying themselves for the birth of Christ and the Christmas season through weekly video chats. These chats include exploring scripture and take place on Wednesdays from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Advent season looks much different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under social distancing guidelines, some are not comfortable attending Mass in person (in addition to limited capacity allowances) but want a new and innovative way to celebrate and reflect upon the Advent season.
In the Christmas season, young people are looking for guidance and connection to God and the opportunity to turn to spiritual leaders for inspiration and hope.
Christmas is the perfect time to “[discover God in our own lives, and [be] able to continue nurturing that relationship with God,” said Brother Patrick Travers of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae and director at the Penn Catholic Newman Community.
For those interested in journeying through the remainder of Advent, you do so by accessing Zoom and enter meeting ID number 899 9777 6073 and password ADVENT, or visit www.facebook.com/PCMRPhilly or www.facebook.com/HispanosPhilly.
Those still looking to send the perfect Christmas card to their loved ones can look no further. Spread Christmas joy to friends and family near and far, and help your local community at the same time.
The Nutritional Development Services (NDS) within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is offering their annual custom Christmas cards sold in packs of 10 or 20 for $15 and $25 respectively. The 5” x 7” cards are printed on high quality paper and come in eight different designs created by local artist Patty Smith. You also may choose variety packs if you like each design. Designs range from Nativity scenes to angels to Christmas trees with scripture verses and Catholic themes inside to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.
All proceeds directly benefit NDS’s Community Food Program. This program provides support to the network of food pantries within the Philadelphia region, benefiting the community as a whole.
Christmas may be rapidly approaching, but there is still time to support NDS and send Christmas cheer to everyone on your list.
For more information or to purchase the NDS Alternative Christmas Cards, contact Denise Hopkins, Administrator, NDS Community Food Program at 215-895-3470 ext. 77823 or email@example.com. View the 2020 card collection here.
On December 8, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
The Montgomery County Board of Health closed K-12 classrooms for in-person instruction, beginning Monday, November 23. It was a two-week order that runs through this Friday, December 4. Good Shepherd Catholic students in kindergarten and grades one to eight have been attending classes virtually during regular school-day hours (two days last week and four days this week, surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday). GSC's faculty have been teaching from their classrooms in the GSC building. GSC's preschool classrooms have remained open for students during this recent closure.
Principal Sister Helen Thomas sent this email to parents on Wednesday afternoon, December 2:
I am happy to tell you that GSC will return to "in person" instruction on Monday, December 7th.
If for some reason your child needs to remain virtual, please let the homeroom teacher know. I want to thank the teachers for ALL they have done this week to continue educating all of our children. I am sure it was not easy teaching in an empty classroom. However, it was good to see the children's smiling faces.
Please continue to be vigilant in the DAILY screening your child/children. We need to work together to keep everyone safe and healthy. We are all happy about returning to school. However, we must continue all of our precautions and practices of social distancing. If we are going to remain open, we need to strictly follow the CDC guidelines.
May Jesus, our Good Shepherd, continue to protect us.
This week, the Catholic Church in the United States spends time promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Every person has a vocation; a calling in life to be the person God has intended you to be. Our callings are as unique as our fingerprints. And discovering your vocation, a process called discernment, takes careful consideration, quiet contemplation, prayer and dedication. It also takes courage to say “yes” to God’s call.
Father Casey Cole, OFM, has become something of a YouTube sensation. His “Breaking the Habit” YouTube Channel has over 149,000 subscribers. Each year, during Vocations Awareness Week, Father Casey produces a video about pursuing your vocation. In the past, he’s encouraged parents, family and friends to support men and women with a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. He’s responded to common excuses as to why people “say no” to God’s call. Father Casey has dispelled myths about religious life and the vocation to the priesthood.
This year, Father Casey’s video is a stark departure. He addresses Vocations Directors with some challenging realities. The tone of his video is compassionate and understanding. Yet it is also pointed.
Father Casey makes it clear that, despite popular misconceptions, Catholic vocations to the priesthood and religious life are growing. “The vocations are out there,” he states.
Father Casey’s unambiguous statement is backed up by the fact that more men are entering the seminary than 10 years ago and that religious communities are growing. The communities that are growing offer a distinctly different life from that of a married couple or a single person. Religious orders attracting vocations offer a challenging and extraordinary experience, centered on a rich and committed prayer life, community and a clear witness to a radical departure from a “regular” life.
The Catholic priesthood and religious life is different. It is a unique call. But many religious communities attempt to attract men and women by minimizing the differences between lay life and the ordained priesthood or the life of a consecrated religion. The priesthood and religious life is so much more than an experience “pretty much” like lay life.
Religious life and the priesthood are about having a clear sense of mission and identity, distinct and different other vocations. Why else bother? Father notes that religious communities that are growing have many things in common including a commitment to wearing religious habits, which is a sign of evangelization that is more needed than ever in an increasingly vain and superficial culture.
We wish everyone a safe and Happy Halloween! Be sure to use proper precaution this year. If you go out trick or treating, remember to wear a mask, and stay socially distanced from others. Enjoy your candy and favorite Halloween show or movie!