Spiritual Notes

During the season of Advent, Catholics are encouraged to seek God’s healing and forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The following is a schedule of Communal Penance Services at various Blair County parishes in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. For a Diocesan-wide schedule, visit the Diocesan website at dioceseaj.org. Consult individual parishes for other Reconciliation opportunities leading up to Christmas.

– Dec. 3 — 4 p.m., Saint John the Evangelist Parish, 309 Lotz Av.

5 p.m., St. Joseph Parish, 623 E. Third St., Bellwood

– Dec. 4 — 6:30 p.m., Holy Rosary Parish, 900 N. Fourth St.

– Dec. 11 — 7 p.m., Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, 806 11th St.

7 p.m., St. Matthew Parish, 1105 Cameron Ave., Tyrone

– Dec. 14 — 5:30 p.m., Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, 2716 Broad Ave.

– Dec. 16 — 10 a.m., Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish, 2301 Fifth St.

– Dec. 17 — 4 p.m., Saint Mary Parish, 312 Clark St., Hollidaysburg

– Dec. 18 — 7 p.m., St. Rose of Lima Parish, 5514 Roselawn Ave.

– Dec. 20 — 6:30 p.m., Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, One Cathedral Square

– Dec. 21 — 5:30 p.m., Sacred Heart Parish, 511 20th St.

Sam Childers, better known as the Machine Gun Preacher, worldwide motivational speaker and the only American to receive the Mother Teresa Award, will speak in his hometown of Central City, Somerset County, on Sunday.

Childers will speak during the 10:30 a.m. service at 3C’S Church, 165 Boyers Pond Road, Central City, (formerly known as Shekinah Fellowship Church).

Childers runs the organization Angels of East Africa, which works to help orphans and victims of war in countries such as Ethiopia, Uganda and South Sudan. His organization conducts many projects to help those in need, including the running of seven orphanages, drilling wells and running feeding programs which supply more than 12,000 meals a day.

Childers’ life was featured in a Hollywood movie, “The Machine Gun Preacher,” starring Gerard Butler and his work is also featured in a reality TV show produced by A&E and now available to watch online, at mgprealitytv.com. All proceeds from this show go directly to fund the projects underway in East Africa. In addition, Childers and West Coast Choppers are currently working on a new show, which will be filmed on location in both California and Africa.

The Sacred Music Library, located in the First Presbyterian Church of Hollidaysburg, will close for the holidays on Dec. 9 and reopen at 10 a.m. Feb. 2.

Seasonal music is available from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday and 10 to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 9. For more information, call the library at 695-5495.

Children at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1200 Logan Ave., Tyrone, will present “Sheep in Heavenly Peace,” a story of Bethlehem’s temp agency searching for more shepherds to help with the overstock of animals in the city. Their assignments soon take them to a meeting with the angel Gabriel and ultimately the Good Shepherd himself, Jesus.

The show will be presented at 6 p.m. Dec. 9.

A dinner-theater will be held at 11:45 a.m. Dec. 10, with the performance set to begin at 1 p.m.

Admission is free for both performances. The Dec. 10 lasagna dinner is by donation.

Musical director is Rachel Chamberlin.

The fourth annual Christmas extravaganza will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Warriors Mark United Methodist Church, 1840 Centre Line Road, Warriors Mark.

A pancake breakfast with Santa will be held from 9 a.m. to noon. The pancake breakfast is $7 for adults and $3 for children under 10 years old and includes pancakes, sausage, milk and juice.

Pictures with Santa are by donation. There will be free magic reindeer food for all children.

In addition to craft and other vendors, the event features lunch, funnel cakes and homemade pies.

The church is handicapped accessible. For more information, call 632-6906.

Juniata United Methodist Church, 808 N. Fourth St., Altoona, will hold a Hanging of the Greens service at 10:45 a.m. Sunday. The public is welcome to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent and experience the tradition of preparing for the Christmas season. For more information, contact the church office at 942-6065.

Religious organizations are invited to submit upcoming events, special speakers and other items to be published free of charge in Spiritual Notes. Items can be emailed to religion@altoonamirror.com or call Holly at 946-7451. Items may also be submitted online through the Mirror’s virtual newsroom at vnr.altoonamirror.com.