Saturday, December 3, 2011

1st Week of Advent

The 1st week of Advent was a  busy week of special events. Here are the happenings:
Sunday-Christmas lights were put outside our house. We live in a residential neighborhood and WOW! our neighbors have outstanding Christmas lights. We couldn't be the dark house on the block so here is what we came up with.
We received a donation of money to buy some Christmas decorations as we had none. Trees went on sale so I bought one. The school maintenance heard about it and told me to take the tree back as a parishioner donated a good tree to the church that we could have. So we now had two trees in our garage waiting to be put together. It went against my principles to put a tree up the 1st week of Advent but I had to see what the donated tree looked like and if it had a tree stand that worked before I returned the tree in the box. So here is our Advent tree-lights only no bulbs till it gets closer to Christmas. ( Our other janitor donated Christmas bulbs.)
Next on the list was to prepare for Bishop Kicanas' visit to our school-his first visit ever. Bulletin boards were done up, desks cleaned up, a reception planned, 45 minute choir practice with Advent songs never sung before and using the new Roman Missal for the first time at a school Mass! We were ready but low and behold the wind kicked up that night and day (51 mph at noon when the Bishop was here). I arrived at school to find our Jesse Tree blown over, bulletin board pieces all over  the sidewalk and PreK playground ( classrooms open to the outside so outside bulletin boards). So everything was quickly put back together. I have found out that it might be calm at our house but our school is in the midst of the mountains and it is colder and windier there.

The liturgy was outstanding and the Bishop invited students by name to help him act out his homily. The Bishop has the gift of remembering people's names the first time he hears it.
After Mass a reception was held for parishoners and parents, then the students came to meet with him and had great questions: What is your coat of arms?  What is your favorite part of being a Bishop?  We found out his mother will turn 100 years of age in May and lives in Chicago with some Sisters.
The Bishop then toured the classrooms. He was impressed with the facilities and promised to help build up our enrollment.

Now the week still isn't over-Saturday is the 53rd Sierra Vista Christmas parade-the longest running parade in AZ. It is a light parade starting at 5:30pm so all must have lights on the floats and if possible on yourself. Last year no coats were needed; this year winter jackets, mittens, ear muffs and hand warmers. The wind that came with the Bishop was still with us and snow or rain showers were predicted.

We were at our float at 4pm and we were blessed to be entry #28 out of 80. Parade started on time with the fire department leading the way. The theme of the parade was: Tribute to the Monument Fire Fighters. This honored all those who fought the fire in our area this summer-well chosen tribute.

Our students dressed up as fire fighters and we had a banner made giving tribute to the Monument Fire Fighters. The parade was about 3 miles long and it was the fastest walking parade I have ever been in. I was soon warmed up and off came the earmuffs. Our school choir dressed as fire fighters sang carols the whole 3 miles and when there was a pause between songs they would yell, " All Saints Catholic School the Best-Please come to our school!!" See -everyone is recruiting students to our school. They did this on their own.

The parade was the most different Christmas parade I have ever been in or seen: lots of horses and decorated with lights (this is horse country), tractors decorated, Coke truck with lights, every restaurant had a float.

As we sang our way down the parade route we received many cheers and applause. It was great and kept us singing all the way to the KMart parking lot where all floats ended up.

Snow clouds sitting on top of the mountains-you could see the snow falling. Clouds stayed there and we received no snow or rain.

Waiting for the parade to begin.

Old time tractor with antlers up front.

Border patrol on horses.

We're on our way!

Kiara (Mary) is coming to Camp Franciscan.

Our choir at the Bishop's Mass.

Bishop enjoying the cards the students made for him.

All of us with the Bishop.

Bishop is Lebanese and he is pictured with one of our moms who was born in Lebanon. All 3 of her children speak Arabic.

Horses waiting for the parade to begin.

More horses yet with Christmas lights on.
Tomorrow we welcome the 2nd Week of Advent!

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