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 | Staff Report

"Unwrap the Spirit" with Bishop Parkes

Right before Thanksgiving, Bishop Gregory Parkes recorded a greeting that ended with a prayer for all the faithful of our Diocese. In his message, he shared that although many saw Thanksgiving as the kickoff to a holiday season filled with excitement, gifts and celebrating, his prayer was for all members of our Diocese to unwrap the true Spirit of Advent. 

That prayer resonated with our Bishop throughout the holiday weekend, and as we neared Cyber Monday, he realized he wanted to transform his prayer into an invitation.

"The ads began coming through my inbox before Thanksgiving, and I knew that would gain momentum the closer we came to Black Friday and Cyber Monday," said Bishop Parkes. "I kept thinking, our people, our communities, our world really needs to break past that and unwrap the Spirit of Advent." 

In recent years, that spirit has broken through with #givingtuesday and #igiveCatholic, a world-wide movement to combat consumerism by encouraging generosity through personal financial gifts, with millions of dollars donated to worthy not for profits, including Catholic causes. But as Bishop Parkes expressed, "One day of giving is wonderful, but Advent isn't over in one day. It's a seasonal process of preparation to receive the greatest gift of all time: the birth of Christ."

Advent begins December 3rd this year with the lighting of the first purple candle. This first candle symbolizes hope and represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah. In joyful hope, Bishop invites all to participate in "Unwrap the Spirit!" by visiting and commit to prayer, penance and sacrifice individually, with a group of friends, within families and parish communities of faith.  

The site highlights a variety of ideas, resources and options to spark ideas on how you can “Unwrap the Spirit”. For example, a commitment of prayer can be as simple as spending 10 minutes in prayer for and with our family and friends, or to attend daily Mass for the first time in years. A commitment to penance could be to attend one of the parish Advent penance services being hosted across our Diocese in the next few weeks. And, sacrifice could mean volunteering an hour of time, a financial gift, or an item donation to a special cause.

Visit to learn more and decide how you will "Unwrap the Spirit" this season.