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Weekly Update November 29, 2021

The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.

Frederick Buechner

Loving God,

as we begin the sacred season of Advent,

be with us, lead and guide us as we do all we can to stay awake and prepare for the birth of Jesus. 

Give us the courage, strength and patience to slow down, even just a bit

as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ. 

Amen.

1st Sunday of Advent: Stay Awake and Prepare!

During these times, we have all come to deeply understand what it means to hope and wait … for a world without Covid-19, to return to a life we once knew and to be together again with family and friends.  During Advent we are asked to wait in other ways and to take our time to prepare for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  This weekend’s gospel calls us to “stay awake!”  and ready ourselves.  It calls us to find time for stillness and prayer and to attune ourselves to the sights and sounds of this sacred season.  

Family Action:

Consider taking action in one or two ways to breathe new life into preparing for Christmas at home:

  • Create a sacred space that can be kept up all year long. Use the liturgical colours (e.g., purple for Advent) to drape a small table that can be used for an Advent wreath and other religious symbols. 
  • Have a family prayer service for each week of Advent.  Consider inviting family members to join virtually. 
  • Set up a St. Stephen’s box on the first day of Advent and each day place something in it to be donated to a local charity.
  • When putting up your Christmas tree, pause to bless it before decorating.
  • Let your home grow in anticipation.  Add to your home décor a little at a time so the joy of the season blooms with each passing week.

For more information on celebrating Advent as a Family, visit the Hamilton Diocese website

Here is a 2-minute video from Busted Halo to learn more about Advent.

Feast of St. Andrew

Tuesday, November 30th is the Feast Day of St. Andrew. We will celebrate with a virtual liturgy hosted by our Grade 7 students. During our Liturgy, we will also celebrate the coming of the First Week of Advent and light the first candle on our Advent Wreath.

Report Card Update

Thank you for your patience with the technical challenges around accessing the report cards this week. Our IT department has since resolved the issues and you should be able to view and download your child’s report card through the link you were sent. However, if the link still isn’t working, please contact Mrs. Boulos (bouloslo@hcdsb.org) or Mrs. Deery (deerys@hcdsb.org) directly and they will send you a copy.

Due to the difficulties with the links, and to save you some printing and scanning, we will print and send home the response form (Page 3) for the Progress Report for students in Grades 1-8 on Monday. Please review it, complete it, and return it to school with your child. It provides a great opportunity for you and your child to reflect on their learning to date and to set goals together.

International Day for Persons With Disabilities – Dec 3rd

International Day of Persons with Disabilities takes place each year on Friday, December 3rd. This day is set aside to increase knowledge and understanding about disabilities. At St. Andrew, we will be recognizing International Day of Persons with Disabilities with activities throughout the week.

For more information please see our Feature Story.

Registration for Extended French Program Opens Wednesday

Registration for the Extended French Program for students entering Grade 5 in September 2022 opens on Wednesday, December 1. For more information about the program, please see the Our Lady of Peace School Website here.

Community Engagement Event – Holiday Baking Together Apart!

Back by popular demand, we have partnered with Cooksmart once again to bring the St. Andrew Community together virtually through another online Holiday Baking Event!

Families can register online to join the event. Together, following the direction of our virtual host, Kathy Stewart, we will all bake sugar cookies from the comfort of our own homes! Kathy will provide us with an easy-to-find list of ingredients in advance of our baking day. Then, on December 12th, from 3:30-5:30 PM we will all bake together via Zoom!

This event is being funded by our School Council, there is no cost to join other than the price of the ingredients. Space is limited, so register right away!

To register, please go to: cooksmart.ca/upcoming-classes/standrew

For more information see the flyer here:

Parish News

SAVE THE DATES!

Mary Mother of God Church is hosting four wonderful events for families during Advent and Christmas that you don’t want to miss!

1. THE PEACE LIGHT FROM BETHLEHEM: The Peace Light, which was lit from the grotto where Jesus was born in Bethlehem, will be burning at MMoG throughout Advent. Families will be welcome after all of the Masses the weekend of December 18 and 19 to receive a candle with Peace Light and bring it home for Christmas.

2. GRANDPARENTS MASS: Our December Mass with Grandparents is back on December 9th at 7:00 pm. Children and their grandparents are invited to attend Mass together. They will each receive candles with the Peace Light to bring home and share with others. We also invite attendees to send us their favorite photo with their grandparents to be displayed on our screens during Mass. Seating is limited. Eventbrite tickets are required. https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/advent-mass-with-grandparents-and-receive-the-peacelight-from-bethlehem-tickets-204735668897

3. BLESSING OF BABY JESUS: Bring baby Jesus from your nativity scene at home and Fr. Jerry will bless him before you put him in the manger of Christmas Eve. The blessing will take place during all Masses on December 18 and 19.

4. CHRISTMAS EVE MASS FOR KIDS: 5:00 pm on Christmas Eve, we invite all children to be a part of our Christmas procession. Dress up as your favorite character from the nativity (an angel, a shepherd, St. Joseph, etc.). You will process into the church with Father Jerry and surround the manger scene on the altar while Father Jerry blesses it. This is our most popular Mass of the year. Eventbrite tickets will be available on Nov. 25, so set an alarm to get your tickets by visiting www.mmogp.ca.

All Covid safety protocols including masks and social distancing are in place. For more information email Debbie Frey at youth.mmogp@bellnet.ca. Also, visit the parish website at www.mmogp.ca for our Christmas Mass schedule.

St. Vincent de Paul Angel Tree

Like last year, the major Christmas giving event for our school will be the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP). The SSVP at Mary Mother of God currently serves 105 families in need, including 150 children, who live within our parish boundary.

This Christmas more than ever our most vulnerable neighbours are in need. Together we can make a big difference by sharing our Christmas to bring some joy into their homes. For many of these families, your donation may be the only gift they receive.

We are asking the students and families to support these neighbours by:

  1. Donating Online through CanadaHelps:
     https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/society-of-st-vincent-de-paul-mary-mother-of-god-parish/
    • Monetary donations will be used to bulk purchase Wal-Mart gift cards for the families.
    • Please consider the following gifts:
  2. Colour your Angel for the Angel Tree: Have your child colour it and bring it to school to put on the Angel Christmas Tree that is on display in the lobby.
  3. Pray: Please add a special daily prayer of protection for all of the families SSVP serves.

Mary Mother of God, be their protector and defender. Bring their needs before our Father and give them the grace to conquer every danger and overcome all that would threaten their health and well-being. Amen.

The SSVP donations will be gratefully received from Monday, November 22nd to Friday to Friday, December 10th.

The generous support of our school communities allows us to ensure that the families can all enjoy a special day and meal on Christmas day. For more information, please visit the SSVP webpage on the church website:(https://mmogp.ca/society-of-st-vincent-de-paul).

Sincerely Yours,
Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP), Mary Mother of God Parish

Picture Retakes December 14th

If your child missed picture day, or you would like to have the photos retaken, there will be an opportunity for photo retakes on Tuesday, December 14th in the morning.

Human Rights and Equity Advisory Council – Call for Applicants

Our HCDSB schools are committed to creating safe, inclusive and welcoming learning environments that support student achievement and well-being in our Catholic schools. Human Rights and Equity are guiding values that are consistent both with Catholic Social Teaching, reaffirming the dignity of every individual, as well as the Ontario Human Rights Code, which safeguards students and staff from discrimination based on the protected grounds. 

The Board’s Equity and Inclusive Education Steering Committee is in the process of forming a Human Rights and Equity Advisory Council (HREAC) to engage community stakeholders including parents, students and community organizations. 

The purpose of the HREAC is to assist in identifying community needs and to provide advice and guidance on addressing systemic barriers and supporting historically underserved members of the 2SLGBTQ+, racialized and Black communities in the HCDSB. 

Parents/guardians and students in Grades 7-12 interested in serving on the HREAC are invited to submit an application online through the HREAC Membership Application Form by December 31st.

Vacation Requests

We know that families may be eager to travel and visit family. While we certainly understand, please note that you will need to complete an Extended Absence Form (available from the office) and that any absence longer than 15 consecutive days may result in your child being demitted from our register and having to re-enroll upon your return.

Families should also consider any quarantine requirements when planning for their children to be absent from school.

While educators are happy to help support student learning, please note that they are not required to provide your child with work for the length of the absence.

Student Census 2022

The Student Census 2022 will be implemented on February 28 and April 4, 2022 (inclusive).

All students will be invited to complete the Student Census on a voluntary basis, as follows:

  • Kindergarten – Grade 8
    To be completed by parents and guardians

Learn more here: Student Census 2022

  • community stakeholders including parents, students and community organizations. 
  • The purpose of the HREAC is to assist in identifying community needs and to provide advice and guidance on addressing systemic barriers and supporting historically underserved members of the 2SLGBTQ+, racialized and Black communities in the HCDSB. 
  • Parents/guardians and students in Grades 7-12 interested in serving on the HREAC are invited to submit an application online through the HREAC Membership Application Form by December 31st.

Coming Up

Weekly Update November 29, 2021