"> Georgiann Benkovic – Prince of Peace

How Did the Miraculous Medal Get Its Name?

As Catholics, we probably recognize the Miraculous Medal. The stunning image of Our Lady standing atop a globe with radiant light beaming from her outstretched hands is seen all around us, on medals around our necks, adorning homes and churches, and as centerpieces on rosaries. However, we may not know that the original name of the medal was the: Medal of the Immaculate Conception.”

The “Medal of the Immaculate Conception” was spread through the advocacy of Sty. Catherine Laboure, to whom Our Lady herself gave this image. Upon distribution of these medals to the faithful, numerous miracles were reported almost immediately and the medal was aptly called miraculous.

Let’s take a look at some of these miracles that gave the Miraculous Medal its name:

1.) In Paris, an 8 year old girl was the only one in her class who did not wear a medal and was the only one who caught cholera. She was given a medal and returned to school the next day.

2.) A pregnant woman contracted cholera and was thought close to death. After being, given the medal, she had a smooth delivery and both mother and baby were found to be healthy.

3.) A child who had been unable to walk was healed when he wore the medal on the first day of a novena.

After only four years, the number of medals distributed reached the millions, and by Catherine’s death in 1876, the number was in the billions.

Our Lady still desires to perform miracles through her Miraculous Medal! Invoke her great and loving intercession with the Miraculous Medal so it can be a daily reminder for you to invoke the miraculous love of our Lady.

Sunday, December 3

Dear Friends,

This week, we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the patronal feast day of he United States and as such as still a Holy Day of Obligation even though it falls on a Friday. Mass times can be found in the bulletin and online.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception wasn’t defined until 1854 by Pope Pius IX. While it was only defined in the 19th century, it does not mean we didn’t believe it before then. Indeed, for something to be declared as a dogma, it must by necessity be part of Divine Revelation or at least implied by previously defined beliefs. The Church has no authority to create or alter dogma, as the Author of Revelation is none other than God Himself. He has entrusted the propagation of the Truth to the world through the Church and ensures that the Universal Church will not in entirety err in matters of faith and morals. To this end, when something is infallibly defined or declared, it is done so with the mindset of preserving and promoting a belief already held by the Church.

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception is often confused with the Virginal Conception of Jesus Christ. The Immaculate Conception is the belief that “the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin.” (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus).

This means that Mary did not possess a fallen human nature, but one completely free from all sin. This is the central dogma that ties together all of the other Marian beliefs that the Church holds. Because of her Immaculate Conception, Mary is made fit to be the Virgin Mother of the Savior. Because of her Immaculate Conception, she is able to be assumed into Heaven body and soul at the end of her earthly life. She reigns as Queen of Heaven and Earth because of her relationship to Christ, but also because it is fitting that one so innocent and selfless should be the one entrusted with such great authority.

All of the graces and gifts Our Lady received were for the benefit of all, not merely for her exclusive benefit. Indeed, being free of sin doesn’t make her more distant to us sinners, but rather closer as in place of sin, she is filled with love. Love always draws the one who possesses it closer to those they care about. And Our Lady certainly cares about us. Her Immaculate Conception allows her to be God’s Mother and ours as well. So we gather annually to celebrate this feast day in her honor and to glorify Almighty God.

Please know of my prayers for you and kindly remember me in yours.

Fr. Arena

What is an Advent Wreath?

While the exact origin of the Advent wreath is uncertain, one thing is undeniable: the use of this symbol is a lo9ngstanding tradition in our Catholic Faith, dating back to at least the 17th century.

As we progressively light the candles throughout the Advent season, we acknowledge God’s coming through reflection, prayer, and hope. We make our own private vigil while awaiting the ight of the World.

Not only do we recall His first coming, we also await His second coming, when He will judge the living and the dead.

Significance of the Advent Wreath’s Shape and Color:

Since circles have no beginning and no end, the circular shape of the Advent wreath symbolizes eternal life in Christ. The wreath holds four candles, which are lit one-by-one over the four weeks of the Advent season. Generally, three are violet (purple) and one is rose-colored, each representing 1,0000 years. Added together, the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for the Savior.

Violet is a liturgical color symbolizing penance, sacrifice, and prayer During the first, second, and fourth weeks of Advent, we light violet candles as a reminder of the preparation of heart and mind undertaken during this season, which was traditionally known as a “little Lent.”

The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday (Rejoice) Sunday. On this day, we celebrate that our wait is almost over. Since rose is the liturgical color used to signify jo9y, we light the rose candle on the Third Sunday of Advent as we rejoice in anticipation of the coming of the Messiah.

Materials Used in the Advent Wreath:

Advent wreaths were traditionally made of evergreen branches, which have long been a symbol of the constancy and faithfulness we aspire to as Christians, Evergreens flourish during every season, remaining unchanged through the harshness of winter. We are called to live our Faith this same way–with holy confidence and fortitude.

Holly, with its prickly leaves, represents the Crown of Thorns. Pinecones represent the Resurrection, because they contain the seeds of a new tree and therefore of new life.

December 2023 Liturgical Services & Parish Events

December 2: Decorating of Outdoos Parish Complex beginning at 9 am

December 2: Vigil Mass at 4:00 pm

December 2: Blessing of Advent Wreath at all Masses. Bring you home Advent wreath for a special blessing by placing it on the Communion Rail.

December 2: Blessing of Outdoor Nativity Scene following 4 pm Mass

December 3: First Sunday of Advent: Mass at 8:30am and 10:30am

December 3: Family Gathering following 10:30 am Mass in the Lower level of the Parish Center.

December 7: Vigil Mass “Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception” at 5:30pm

December 8: “Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception” Mass at 9:00am and 6pm

December 9: “Rorate” Mass/Candlelight Mass in Honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be celebrated at the High Altar at 6:30am.

December 9: Vigil Mass at 4:00 pm

December 10: Second Sunday of Advent: Mass at 8:30am and 10:30am

December 10: St. Nicholas will be in Steelton to visit with the children and adults, too.

December 10: All You Can Eat Breakfast sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council #3625 from 9 am to 12 Noon. St. Nicholas will be stopping by for breakfast, too.

December 16: Vigil Mass at 4:00 pm. “Living Nativity” by our Parish children following Mass with a reception to follow in the Parish Center with games and food.

December 17: Third Sunday of Advent: Gaudete Sunday. We celebrate Bambinelli Sunday and bring your Baby Jesus figurine from our home Nativity scene to be blessed. Mass at 8:30am and 10:30am

December 17: 2:00 pm Penance Service with visiting Priests

December 17: 3:30pm Fr. Dolcic confessions in the Croatian language

December 17: 5:00 Fr Dolcic Mass in the Croatian language

December 23: Vigil Mass at 4:00 pm

December 24: Fourth Sunday in Advent: Mass at 8:30am and 10:30am (Sunday Obligation)

December 24: Christmas Eve Vigil Masses at 4pm, 6pm and Midnight. Midnight Mass will be in English with Croatian hymns. Carols will begin at 11:30 pm.

December 25: Nativity of the Lord. Merry Christmas: Mass at 9am

December 30: Vigil Mass at 4:00pm. Holy Family

December 31: Mass at 8:30am and 10:30am. Bring wine to our Masses for a special St. John Blessing.

January 1, 2024: “Mary, Mother of God” New Year’s Day: Mass at 9am

January 6, 2024: Vigil Mass at 4:00pm

January 7, 2024: Epiphany: Mass at 8:30am and 10:30am. Blessing of Epiphany Holy Water

Spaghetti On Second

Our next “Spaghetti On Second” Dinner has been scheduled for Sunday, January 28, 2024 from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.

We attempted to schedule a dinner prior to this date but due to multiple events scheduled in November and December in our community this was not feasible.

Thank you for your continued support and we will see you in January for our homemade pasta, meatballs, sauce, bread and salad. We will be selling tickets for the dinner at the end of December or early January.

What Does It Mean to Be Catholic?

What Does It Mean To Be Catholic? 

The Catholic Church was founded by Christ and his Apostles.  There are four marks or characteristics of the Church, and we are reminded of them each time we pray the Nicene Creed at Mass.

One:  Means all members are united as the Body of Christ, given life by the one Spirit.  We acknowledge one Lord, one faith, one Baptism.

Holy: Means the Church is centered on God.  It is Christ who, by his sacrifice, makes the Church holy.

Catholic:  Means universal.  The Church is for all times and all people.  The Church is “the fullness” of the means of salvation”. (CCC830)

Apostolic:  Means the Church is built on the foundation of the Apostles.  We teach the doctrine of Jesus as it has been handed down through the apostles and their successors, the pope and bishops.

Each Catholic is called to full and active participation in the life of the Church and has the right and responsibility to:

1.) Attend Mass on Sundays and on Holy Days of Obligation.

2.  Confess your sins, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a least once a year.

3.  Receive the Eucharist.

4. Observe the days of fasting Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstinence on Ash Wednesday in Lent established by the Church.

5. Help to provide for the needs of the Church

Encountering Christ and being a witness to his love means we are called to live like Jesus and work for justice and peace in this world by living the 10 commandments, the Beatitudes, the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

We are called to stand for the: Life and dignity of the Human Person, Call to Family, Community and Participation, Rights and Responsibilities of the Human Person, Option for the Poor and Vulnerable, Dignity of Work and Rights of workers, Solidarity of the Human Family, Care for God’s Creatures.


Infant of Prague

It was a little painted statue and stood a foot and a half high, was dressed in exquisite court dress, and cherished as an heirloom wedding gift. It came from Spain during an early spread of devotion to the Christ Child.

In the 17th century, a Spanish noblewoman named Isabel Manrique gave this little statue to her daughter Marie when Marie married a Czech noble. Marie gave it, in turn, to her own daughter Polyxena when the later married.

Polyxena treasured it for many years, but at last gifted it to the Carmelite monastery of Our Lady of Victory.

Shortly afterward the Czech kingdom was invaded by the Saxons, forcing the Carmelites to flee their monastery. The statue of the Christ Child, damaged and tattered was left behind in the ruins of the church.

Ten years later in 1638, a Carmelite priest found it. He took it to his church in Prague and displayed it by the altar.

Suddenly, as he knelt in prayer before it, the statue spoke, saying: “Have mercy on me and I will have mercy on you. Give Me My hands and I will give you peace. The more you honor Me the more I will bless you.”

After this, many miracles were reported to have been wrought through the statue and devotion to the Christ Child increased all the more.

Many saints, such as Therese of Lisieux and Francis of Assisi, were greatly devoted to the Infant Jesus. Nurture love for the Child Jesus in your own home.

The Catholic Company: Bite-Sized Faith


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.  Amen.

Blessed Virgin Mary Grotto

Dear Friends

Visit our Grotto at Prince of Peace Parish-Assumption of the BVM Church. Pray to our Blessed  Mother for peace in our country and the world and ask her assistance to bring friends and families who are not practicing their faith to return to her son, Our Lord Jesus.

Our Blessed Virgin Mary Grotto is the Queen of Peace.

Sacrifice of the Mass

The Sign of the Cross and the Greeting tells us who we are as we gather to enter into the Mystery of Our Lord’s Death and Resurrection.

The Penitential Rite  gives us the opportunity to acknowledge our sinfulness as we approach the Sacrifice of Christ that destroys sin and bring us back into a relationship with God.

The Gloria is a hymn that leads us to praise glorify, adore, thank and ask our Triune God for all we, His sons and daughter, need as we beg His mercy.

The Opening Prayer or “Collect” collects the intentions of the people assembled and presents them to God by the priest who stands in persona Christi (in the person of Christ).

In the Reading of the Old Testament we hear the story of God’s covenant with His chosen people Israel and the revelation of Himself that speaks of His mercy and desire for their salvation.

The Responsorial Psalm is the faithful’s response of praise and thanksgiving to God’s Word in the First Reading . It reminds us that we are not passive listeners to the Word; we are in a relationship of love with the Word of God.

The Second Reading from the New Testament tells us of God’s New and Eternal Covenant forged in the Blood of His Son who is the Word Made Flesh.

The Gospel is a proclamation of an event from the life of Our Savior.  In the readings from Holy Scripture that are not taken from the Gospel, it is God who speaks to His people.  But when the Gospel is proclaimed, it is specifically Christ Jesus, true God and true man, who speaks to us.

The Homily is a vital part of the liturgy of the Mass that explains the Holy Scriptures and instructs us in the Faith.

The Profession of Faith (the Nicene Creed) is the ancient formula of beliefs that unites the people assembled with the Universal Church of all ages in their expression of their Faith in Christ.

General Intercessions or Prayer of the Faithful offers prayers to God for the Church the world, and the need of people both living and dead.

The Preparation Rite is the offering of the bread and wine brought to His altar by the priest on behalf of the people of God assembled.  The people participate in the offering by virtue of their baptism into the priestly people of God.

The Eucharistic Prayer makes present the Mystery of Our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection.  Christ’s Sacrifice of the Cross, His offering to the Faith of Himself for the salvation of the world is represented on the altar.  At the words of consecration the bread and wine brought to the altar become the Body Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.  The baptized are called to participate in the sacrifice of Christ that is made present through the ministry of the ordained priest.

The Our Father begins the Rite of Communion.  We are faithful to Jesus’ command to pray in the words He taught us.  The priest prays for deliverance from evil, peace, and freedom from anxiety as we wait for the coming of Christ Our Savior in glory.  The priest extends a greeting of Christ’s peace to all present in the assembly.  The faithful share a sign of peace with one another.  The priest comingles a portion of the Sacred Host that he has broken in the chalice of the Precious Blood. The faithful sing the Agnus Dei. “Lamb of God You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, grant us peace.”

Communion has arrived.  The faithful go forward to receive His Sacred Body.  This reception of the Holy Eucharist effects communion between the individual and God and among the individual members of the Body of Christ.

The priest then blesses the people in the name of the Holy Trinity and dismisses all to go forth to witness to Christ in the world.

No One is a mere spectator at Mass.  All of the baptized are invited to participate in the sacred Mysteries by full, conscious and active participation.  This participation is not limited to eternal expression.  It must also be an external expression of faith and devotion.  The mass is an awesome treasure! It is Christ’s work of salvation active in our midst!