Advent-related events, reflections are being offered around the Peoria Diocese

The first candle of the Advent wreath is seen lit. Advent begins on Nov. 28. (CNS/Katie Rutter)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Following is a list of Advent-related activities in the Diocese of Peoria made known to The Catholic Post.

Life is Sweet hosting ‘Happy Holi-daze’ Dec. 2

CHAMPAIGN — National newspaper columnist Lori Borgman will present “Happy Holi-daze” on Monday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. in the Holy Cross Parish Center, 405 W. Clark St. The event is part of Life is Sweet, a series offered by area pro-life ministries.

A humorous look at the Christmas season, Borgman’s talk is intended to remind people of the real reason for the season. In addition to her column, Borgman is the author of six books, including “Pass the Faith, Please.”

There is no charge to attend, but goodwill donations will be accepted.

‘Journey to Joy’ offered by Champaign community

CHAMPAIGN — Reflections rooted in the Scriptures for the four Sundays of Advent will be at the heart of “Journey to Joy,” an Advent retreat that will be offered on Tuesday, Dec. 3, by the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary.

It will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Our Lady of Mercy Convent, 301 N. Wright St. The presenters will be Sister Charlene Cesario, SSCM, and Susan Amann, director of spiritual ministry for the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary.

Lunch will be provided.

A $25 donation or free-will offering is welcome. For more information or to register, contact Sister Charlene at (217) 841-2916 or by Nov. 29.

Community Festival of Nativities set Dec. 5-8 in Peoria

People of all ages are invited to reflect on “Love’s Pure Light” at this year’s Community Festival of Nativities, planned for Dec. 5-8 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3700 W. Reservoir Blvd., in Peoria. The interfaith effort will feature guest artist Liz Lemon Swindle, who will sign bookmarks and talk with visitors.

In addition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, festival sponsors include St. Vincent de Paul Church, Holy Family Church, and All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, all of Peoria, and Peoria Heights Congregational Church. The event is offered as a gift to the community, so admission is free.

Organizers said they have one simple hope: “To provide a peaceful place for individuals and families to reflect upon Christ’s sacred birth as they usher in the Christmas season.”

Visitors will be able to do that by viewing hundreds of Nativities — including more than 60 from the personal collection of Msgr. William Watson, a senior priest of the Diocese of Peoria. Diane Lage of Iowa will be bringing back her 1,500-piece Fontanini Nativity, along with her “Life of Christ” collection of nearly 3,000 pieces.

Also returning are Rolan Johnson’s commemorative Christmas cards and the ornaments that have been created from them to benefit the retirement fund of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Immaculate Conception in West Peoria for the last 25 years.

Musical performances by area schools, church choirs, and arts organizations are being scheduled, and there will be activities for the children, such as a Nativity scavenger hunt.

The Community Festival of Nativities will open on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 5 to 9 p.m. It will continue on Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The hours for Sunday, Dec. 8, are noon to 8 p.m.

Those who won’t be able to see Liz Lemon Swindle at the Community Festival of Nativities will have another opportunity. Lagron Miller Company will host signings by the artist on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 2 to 4 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Her artwork will be available for purchase at the religious goods store, which is located at 4517 N. Sterling Ave., in Peoria.

For more information, visit

Advent day of reflection at St. Mark, Peoria, Dec. 7

“Prepare for the Coming of the Lord” is the theme for an Advent day of reflection planned for Saturday, Dec. 7, at St. Mark Church, 1113 W. Bradley Ave., in Peoria. The speaker will be Bev Bryan, a retired parish and regional director of religious education.

The day will start by gathering in the rectory basement at 7:30 a.m. and then proceeding to the church for Mass. A light breakfast will be served.

For reservations, call the rectory at (309) 673-1263.

Festival choir planning concert for Dec. 8

BARTONVILLE — The St. Anthony Camerata Chorale, which serves as the core of the festival choir for the Diocese of Peoria, will present “A Celebration of Christmas” on Sunday, Dec. 8, at St. Mark Church, 1113 W. Bradley Ave., in Peoria. It will begin at 3 p.m.

In addition to sacred Christmas carols and music directed by Mary Ann Fahey-Darling, there will be contemporary arrangements of such favorites as “Sleigh Ride” conducted by Mary Jo Papich, co-director.

There is no admission charge, but those who attend are asked to bring non-perishable food items for Sophia’s Kitchen, a soup kitchen and spiritual center located at St. Joseph Church in Peoria. A free-will offering will be accepted to benefit the Love Repeated Orphanage in Tanzania, as well as Sophia’s Kitchen

‘Festive Fireside Favorites’ coming to Urbana Dec. 14

URBANA — St. Patrick’s Youth Orchestra is preparing a concert of “Festive Fireside Favorites” for Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick Church, 708 W. Main St. It will feature music from “The Nutcracker,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “The Polar Express” and more.

Admission is free.

St. Patrick’s Youth Orchestra includes students in seventh grade through high school from throughout the Champaign-Urbana area. It is entirely student led, from arranging to conducting.

Prairie Singers bring ‘Hallelujah, I Believe’ to Seneca

SENECA — Carols that reflect the joys and beliefs of the holiday season will be performed as part of the Prairie Singers’ 32nd Christmas concert series, which includes St. Patrick Church, 176 W. Union St., in Seneca on Sunday, Dec. 15. The theme for the 2 p.m. concert is “Hallelujah, I Believe.”

Other central Illinois concerts are planned for Thursday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Prairie Creek Public Library, Dwight; Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, Morris; Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, Ottawa; and Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, Streator. A free-will offering will be accepted at the church concerts.


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