December 10, 2023 – The Second Sunday of Advent

Father Michael A. Pleva, Pastor of Saint Matthew Catholic Church

Families and the Gospel  Mark 1:1-8

Why is it so hard to forgive, yet so easy to get even?  Listen to John the Baptist in today’s gospel and repent of the anger and ugly feelings, which block your ability to forgive.  This Christmas give a gift which makes a difference. Give Forgiveness.

          Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated on Saturdays at 12:30 pm

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will occur on Fridays from 8:30 am to 9:30 am.  This is great opportunity for spiritual nourishment.  Come and spend an hour with Jesus!

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A Paradigm Shift

“I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:8

“Prepare the way of the Lord…” – Mark 1:3

We are all called to live a holy life.  We are all called to invite others to live holy lives.  Living a stewardship lifestyle, being grateful and generous with our gifts, puts us on the path to holiness and is an example for others to be holy, too.  We are responsible not only for our own lives, but for the lives of others as well.  How are you helping others get to Heaven?

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Stewardship Reflection

Today’s readings on this Second Sunday of Advent can be summed up as equal parts comfort and warning for the Christian steward.  We serve a merciful and patient God – in His kindness, he warns us that we will be called to make an account one day for the way in which we made use for the gifts.  He has given us.  The most precious gift He has given us is His own Son, Whose birth we are preparing to celebrate.

     Through the readings today, we are to assimilate two truths – the merciful love of God and the responsibility that comes with the privilege of living as His disciple.  St. Peter tells us we should conduct ourselves “in holiness and devotion”  and that we should be “eager to found without spot or blemish before him, at peace.”  Indeed, this is the goal of our Advent ‘reset’ – to return to (or intensify) living lives focused on Christs, in gratitude for all He had done for us.

     In practical terms, this means that we as Christian stewards must make good use of the gifts of time we have been given this Advent season.  Let’s be sure to get to Confession, prioritize a daily reading of the Scriptures, and reach out to someone in need with a word of comfort or an act of service.  In this way, we will honor both the mercy and justice of our God, and we will be prepared to celebrate the birth of Christ and give account for all His gifts to us. 

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Liturgical Ministries and Other Parish Ministries –Weekly Schedules

Weekdays    R Long

Lectors – December 16 and 17, 2023

Sat.   5:30 pm   S Gavazzi, J Ieraci, J Rumberger

Sun.  7:30 am   A Lynn, D Zakrzwski

Sun. 10:30am  M Raffetto, Jr. DD Murray, K Auman-Gooding

Extraordinary Ministers Eucharist Dec. 16/17, 2023

Sat.   5:30 pm  T Scordo, C Golden, K Raffetto

Sun. 7:30  am   L Grove, G Baldauf, B Rozick

Sun. 10:30am D Castagnola, S Thomas , M Morse

Altar Servers:  December 16/17, 2023

Sat.    5:30 pm   E Narehood, H Narehood

Sun.   7:30 am   TBD

Sun. 10:30 am   G Brasher, D Brasher

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Mass Schedule & Intentions:

Mass Schedule & Intentions:

Dec. 9  – Dec. 17, 2023

Sat.   5:30 pm Francis Hagg – wife Martha & daughter Ann

Sun.  7:30 am   Nancy White – Chris & Steve Stoner 

Sun.10:30 am  Sara Castagnola – Barb & Gary Ammerman

Mon8:00 am  St. Joseph – Bellwood

Tues. 6:00 pm  St. Joseph – Bellwood

Wed.8:00 am  Megan Fortney – Jack & Michele Dietzel

Thurs. 8:00 am  Christopher Edmonson – John Paul & Tony

Fri.       8:00 am Mae Romano – Joseph& Laurel Hogan

                 Daniel Romano – Diane & Brenda

Sat.      5:30 pm  Ralph & Emma Hagg & Family – Martha Hagg & Ann

Sun.     7:30 am  Margie Adamczyk – Mary Triana

Sun.   10:30 am  For the People      

Sanctuary Candle for the week of December 10th  is for the Cannistraci Family requested by Mary Jane Cornelius

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Activities for the Week of December 11 to December 17, 2023

Wed. 6:00 pm OCIA (GS)

Thurs.     6:30 pm Bingo (H)

Sun.        Religious Education

Remember that approx.. 35 minutes before weekend Masses the Rosary is recited.  Please consider participating.

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      • Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion under Both Kinds in the Diocese of United States of America: 

        Beginning on Holy Thursday, April 6, 2023, the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown was permitted by the local ordinary, Bishop Mark L. Bartchak, to resume the practice of offering the fuller sign of Communion, the Body and Blood of the Lord under the species of both bread and wine.  The offering of the chalice of the Precious Blood of Christ can continue to be offered on Sundays, as part of special celebrations, and could be on weekdays at the discretion of the pastor.  Those who are suffering from a cold, sore throat, cough, or flu symptoms should refrain from receiving the Chalice of the Lord’s Blood.   (May 2, 2023, Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Liturgy Office, 2713 West Chestnut Avenue, Altoona, PA  16601)


      • For those that cannot attend Mass -A prayer for the Act of Spiritual Communion

        My Jesus, 
        I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. 
        I love You above all things, 
        and I desire to receive You into my soul. 
        Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, 
        come at least spiritually into my heart. 
        I embrace You as if You were already there 
        and unite myself wholly to You. 
        Never permit me to be separated from You.


      • Where to look in the BIBLE when you …

        – need rest and peace – Matthew 11: 28-30

        – worry – Matthew 6: 19-34

        – are lonely or fearful – Psalm 23

        – need peace of mind – John 14: 27, Philippians 4: 6-8

        – are disappointed by people – Psalm 27 

        – grow bitter or critical – 1 Corinthians 13

        – have sinned – Psalm 51, 1 John 1

        – are discouraged – Psalm 34

        – feel God seems far away – Psalm 139

        – think the world seems bigger than God – Psalm 90 

        – are sick – Psalm 41

        – feel sorrowful – John 14, Psalm 46

        – are in danger – Psalm 91

        – want courage – Joshua 1: 1-9

        – need assurance – Romans 8

        – forget your blessings – Psalm 103

        – are looking for joy – Colossians 3

        – leave home to travel – Psalm 121

        – think of investments – Mark 10: 17-31

        – need guidelines for living – Matthew 5-7, Romans 12 

        – need rules of conduct – Exodus 20: 1-17

        – need to know God’s will for your life – Proverbs 3: 1-6


             From the opening prayer to the closing prayer, the Mass is a memorial and sacrifice; one continual offering to our good and gracious God, by making present the redeeming passion and death of his Son Jesus Christ for the salvation of all humankind through his crucifixion.  We celebrate Mass to offer our praise and thanksgiving for our redemption.  At mass we pray and worship God together in a faith filled community, we hear God’s voice in the Scripture Readings, let the message of salvation enter us and we receive Jesus truly present among us in the Holy Eucharist.

             You may ask a priest to offer a Mass for several reasons: for example, in thanksgiving, for the intentions of another person (such as on a birthday, wedding anniversary), or, as is most common, for the repose of the soul of someone who has died.  Let us never forget the infinite value and graces that flow from the Sacrifice of the Mass.  Please contact the church office if you would like to have a Mass celebrated.

      • The Spiritual Life Committee would like to invite you and your family to take advantage of the many opportunities to celebrate a Christ filled Thanksgiving and Christmas this season.

        ·       Beginning Nov 19 – Choose a gift request from the Angel Tree and shop for someone in need. Wrapped gifts need returned by Dec 10.

        ·        Nov 27 through Dec 11- Travel the Virtual Trip for Jesus Birth
        ·        Families and individuals can Sign-up in the vestibule to light the Advent wreath

           during one of the Masses. 

        Wednesday, Dec. 13th at 6:30 pm SMS Program in hall

        Dec. 10th  Deadline for Christmas Altar Flower Request

        Dec. 16th to Jan. 7th  St. Matthew Parish Christmas Tree

        Dec. 17th  Christmas Church Decorating

        Dec. 18th  at 7 pm St. Matthew Reconciliation Service

        Wishing you all Blessed Advent Season and Blessed Christmas from your Saint Matthew Catholic Church family.

      • Our parish raised $880.00  during #GivingTuesday on November 28th.  Even though we fell short of our $5,000 goal, we have a start of our fundraising for updating and repairing our parking lots.  Thanks to all shared their treasure.  If you would like to donate, there are envelopes in the vestibule and gathering space.  

      • A choir is forming for Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.  Rehearsals will be held on Monday evenings at 6:30 pm in the sanctuary on the following dates: Dec. 11th and Dec. 18th.  We will prepare special music/carols for 11:30 pm – Midnight, as well as the music for Mass.  Questions? Contact Leslie Estep (info. on front of bulletin).  ALL ARE WELCOME!

    • Fr. John Slovikovski Pastor of Visitation parish in Johnstown, as part of the celebration of the Jubilee 2025, is promoting and coordinating a pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, and Orvieto, Italy, which is open to the entire diocese in the month of June 2025.  This pilgrimage will include visitations to the 4 Major Basilicas of Rome (The Vatican {with an audience with the Pope}, Saint Mary Major, Saint John Lateran, and Saint Paul outside the Walls.) We will also visit the Spanish Steps, the Catacombs, Trevi Fountain, and the Coliseum as well as the basilicas of St. Francis and Saint Clare in Assisi.  All of our tour will be guided by a native who is fluent in Italian.  If you are considering joining our group, you are asked to contact the Visitation Parish office @814-536-6110.  There is no obligation (financial or otherwise) before we make our commitment with the pilgrimage tour company in early 2024 when we will meet with our Pilgrimage tour company.  2025 is an exceptional time to be in Rome since it will be during a Jubilee Year which is a very special time for a Jubilee occurs only once every 25 years. 
    • Virtual Trip for Jesus’s Birth – If We hurry, we can be in Bethlehem for Jesus’s birth.  It’s only 5,885 miles.  Do you walk, walk your dog, job, hike, bike, horseback ride, ride a stationary bike?  Those miles can add up as a group and with a pledge of 25 cents or more we can buy a gift for the Infant Jesus.  And that gift of charity can stay right here in our area too.  Just sign up in the Gathering Space by the next two weekends (11/18 and 11/25) and get started on the journey. Trip will start November 27 and end December 11th when pledges will be due.  Local charities to benefit will include:  Tyrone Food Bank, Catholic Charities, St. Matthew School, Sr. Paul’s Soup Kitchen.  You can track your miles and report weekly to  Honor your pledge by December 11th.  If you can’t participate but would like to pledge – $25 pledge will get you 100 miles,   $100 will take us 400 miles.  Let’s keep St. Matthew’s generous hearts helping those in need as a gift toward the birth of our loving and merciful Lord Jesus.

    • Good Shepherd Parish (867 Gray’s Woods Boulevard, Port Matilda, PA  16870) sincerely invites you to join us as we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary who gave us our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and calls us to surrender our lives to Him.  The celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, will take place on Tuesday, December 12th.  It will begin at 4:30 pm with the prayer of the Holy Rosary, then at 5:00 pm the music and singing will be offered by a professional band from Washington D.C. area call “Mariachi Esmeralda”.  The band will also lead the congregation in signing during the Mass what will begin at 5:30 pm.  After the celebration of the Eucharist a reception will take place in the parish hall. 
    • Adoration Chapel at Saint Mary’s, 712 Allegheny Street, Hollidaysburg, PA  is open every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of each week from 7 am to 11 pm.  Come spend time with Jesus!

    • 8 Week Faith & Immigration Justice Class Begins Week of January 14, 2024 – The Faith and Immigration Justice class invites small groups to enter into a healthy dialogue around faith and immigration.  The classes will run on either Tuesday or Thursday evenings.  For more information  contact Teresa Jeffries at 814-381-1317 or  A Program Booklet is also available in the gathering space. 

    • Catholic Ministries Drive (CMD)   Our parish goal for 2023 is $30,406. 

        The annual CMD directly supports 14 ministries through which people are accompanied in their journey (100% of your gift does directly to these ministries).  There are many gifted and generous laypersons in our diocese who share their time and talent to support our Catholic ministries.

        This year, more so than others, our world, our nation, our communities, our parishes, and our families need tangible expression of hope.    This year 2023 is a time for everyone to move as  TOGETHER WE SERVE!

    • Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will occur every Friday after daily Mass from 8:30 am to 9:30 am.  If an event comes up on a Friday, then Fr. Michael will repose the Blessed Sacrament at his discretion.  This is great opportunity for spiritual nourishment.  Come and spend an hour with Jesus!  NOTE:  During Holy week Eucharistic Adoration will take place after Holy Thursday Mass until midnight.

    • Did you know 100% of your PA tax money can be sent to our local catholic school?   Look for brochures by the exit doors or contact RedefinED to enroll in EITC, a local company hired by the Diocese to manage enrollments, at 814-419-5505 or
    • Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown is establishing a prayer ministry and we are seeking prayer partners.  Every Friday we pray for those who ask for special intentions, for the marginalized, the vulnerable and all clients seeking assistance from Catholic Charities. 

           Prayer is one of the gifts we can give to each other at no extra cost.  To request prayers, please visit our website:  

           For more information on how to participate and spend time in prayer for those in need, please contact Lisa Fellabaum, Outreach Liaison at 814-505-1106 or by email at

    • Looking for a rewarding career in a faith-filled environment?  Locations throughout the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese have current openings in a variety of fields.  For a complete listing  go to  

    • Parishioners are encouraged to recite the rosary daily, gather together in the church on Wednesday afternoons at 3:30, and come before the daily and weekend Masses for the recitation of the Rosary. This is a special way of praying for individual and special intentions in a group to provide you  comfort and support.

    • Scholarship-  Any student from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown who is attending or will attend Franciscan University of Steubenville is eligible to apply for the John Paul II Scholarship.  For more information about the St. Pope John Paul II Scholarship at, call 800-783-6220, or email
    • Apply at Saint Joseph Academy  The Saint Joseph’s high school community and educational experience is strong, balanced, and most importantly, firmly founded in Jesus Christ. Applications are now being accepted at all grade levels. To learn more or begin the online application process go to You may also contact Ms. Maryann Lingenfelter, Director of Admissions, at or 814-808-6118 to arrange a tour or discuss any questions you may have.  We are looking forward to having you as part of the Saint Joseph’s community!

    •      If you are in need of counseling, Catholic Counselors of America LLC is open by appointment at St. Aloysius Faith Education and Community Center. By calling Leorosie Trexler at 814-505-7178.

           May God Our Father, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, bless you and your family, and may Our Blessed Mother Mary cover you in her mantle of protection!

    • The Family Life Office of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese has a ministry, Heaven’s Treasure.  The ministry attempts to reach out to families who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage or early fetal death by providing them with spiritual tools to help them to grieve their child through the care of the Catholic Church.  Please call the office at 814-695-5579 or email for more information.
    • MASS INTENTION SCHEDULING: Mass intentions will now be accepted.   Mass intention or requests will be  limited to 3 masses for each family per year (only one Mass can be for the weekend or Holy Day).    We schedule as we receive mass intentions and will do our best to honor your requests. Please keep in mind to be kind and considerate of others and this will allow as many as possible in our parish family to be able to request a celebration of Mass.  Remember that the value of a Mass is infinite no matter when it is celebrated.

    • Please note that the annual collection of religious articles takes place once a year in February. You are asked to please keep items to exchange/donate until that time.  The gathering space is not a drop off for old or not used items throughout the year.  If an item is not blessed you may discard of it on your own.
    • Try Catholic Radio – WJVM 90.3 FM the Voice of Divine Mercy
    • PROJECT RACHEL:  Would you like to find peace in your heart with your aborted child, with God, with the Church?  Don’t be afraid, the door is open.  For women, men, anyone wounded by abortion.  Contact Project Rachel 814-884-8000.  All calls are confidential.
    • Please remember our local Tyrone Food Bank.  Canned soups, peanut butter, cereal, jelly, and personal care items are always needed.  The Food Bank requests that dates on all donations be current.  Expired items cannot be accepted.

      Prayer for Peace in Ukraine

           Bishop Mark is requesting that  the faithful throughout the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown to join him in praying for peace in Ukraine as Russian forces invade the Eastern European country.

           The Bishop stands united in prayer with Ukrainian Catholics in that troubled part of the world and with the local Ukrainian Catholic population here in Central Pennsylvania. During this difficult time, he is inviting everyone to join him in praying the following ancient prayer.

           We fly to Your patronage, O Virgin Mother of God. Despise not our prayers in our needs, but deliver us from all dangers, since you alone are pure and blessed. O most glorious Ever Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ our God, accept our prayers and present them to Your Son and our God, that for the sake of You, He enlighten and save our souls.

      “This prayer is a unique part of the spiritual heritage of the Catholic and Orthodox Christians of the Ukraine, dating back to the 10th or 11th century. It is quite similar to the Memorare prayer that most of us learned as children. As we watch the unfolding developments from Ukraine, it is often difficult to process our thoughts and feelings. That’s where a prayer like this can bring calm to our disturbed minds and hearts, and especially to our world.”

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Saint Matthew School News!

See what is happening at our Saint Matthew School by visiting our website at:

  • Saint Matthew School “Angels”.    For years, Saint Matthew parishioners have sponsored school children or made donations to help parents in the sacrifice of sending their child to a Catholic School.  Please consider assisting school families for the upcoming year.
  • Saint Matthew School Scrip Purchases –   Orders can be placed by  contacting Alison Narehood by phone 814-684-4121 “oremail  stmatthewschoolscrip@gmail.comor” purchase after any of  the weekend Masses.
  • Did you know 100% of your PA tax money can be sent to our local catholic school?   The only way to can have the PA taxes you already pay benefit our Saint Matthew School is to enroll in EITC.  Look for brochures by the exit doors or contact RedefinED, a local company hired by the Diocese to manage enrollments, at 814-419-5505 or

Saint Matthew Catholic School Teachers

The Teachers and Staff:

Ms. Pauline Wiley – Principal

Vickie Henry – School Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Beth Kasic – Preschool and After Care Aide

Miss Taylor Curry – Kindergarten

Mrs. Jennifer Casanave – First Grade & Lead Teacher

Mrs. Margorie Frank – Second and Third Grade

Mrs. Deborah Hewitt – PreSchool

Mrs. Roberta Woomer – Fourth and Fifth and Sixth Grade

Mary Jane Rudakzwich – Librarian

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Parish Office Staff & Ministries Contact Information

Pastor:  Reverend Father Michael Pleva

Phone: (814) 684-1480 (Parish Office & Rectory)

Fax:      (814) 684-7969



Parish Office Staff:  Financial and Administrative Assistant: Debbie Zakrzwski


Office Hours: Monday 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Wednesday and Friday 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM

Director of Music: Leslie Estep
Call: (814) 684-4899 or email:


Director of Religious Education: Lauren Wright

Call: (814) 312-0969 or email:

Elementary to High School: (Grades K-8): Sunday mornings 9:00 AM to 10:15 AM


RCIA: Susan Burkholder

Call: (814) 684-0352 or email:


Ministry to the Homebound: Paula Lambert (814) 932-0651


Pastoral Council – Jason Terosky (814) 692-4222
Finance Council – Dennis Rozick (814) 684-5511
School Council – TBA
Cemetery Committee – Shirley Hall (814) 931-0657

Saint Matthew Catholic School “serving our community since 1869”

Lead Teacher: Jennifer Casanave.

School Phone: (814) 684-3510

School web-site:

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2023 Pope Francis Intentions

Below, please find the prayer intentions of the Holy Father for 2023:


For educators
We pray that educators may be credible witnesses, teaching fraternity rather than competition and helping the youngest and most vulnerable above all.


For parishes
We pray that parishes, placing communion at the centre, may increasingly become communities of faith, fraternity and welcome towards those most in need.


For victims of abuse
We pray for those who have suffered harm from members of the Church; may they find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering.


For a culture of peace and non violence
We pray for the spread of peace and non violence, by decreasing the use of weapons by States and citizens.


For church movements and groups
We pray that Church movements and groups may rediscover their mission of evangelization each day, placing their own charisms at the service of needs in the world.


For the abolition of torture
We pray that the international community may commit in a concrete way to ensuring the abolition of torture and guarantee support to victims and their families.


For a Eucharistic life
We pray that Catholics may place the celebration of the Eucharist at the heart of their lives, transforming human relationships in a very deep way and opening to the encounter with God and all their brothers and sisters.


For World Youth Day
We pray the World Youth Day in Lisbon will help young people to live and witness the Gospel in their own lives.


For people living on the margins
We pray for those persons living on the margins of society, in inhumane life conditions; may they not be overlooked by institutions and never considered of lesser importance.


For the Synod
We pray for the Church, that she may adopt listening and dialogue as a lifestyle at every level, and allow herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit towards the peripheries of the world.


For the Pope
We pray for the Holy Father; as he fulfills his mission, may he continue to accompany the flock entrusted to him, with the help of the Holy Spirit.


For persons with disabilities
We pray that people living with disabilities may be at the centre of attention in society, and that institutions may offer inclusive programs which value their active participation.

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