Ready or not, Christmas arrives this week! As you finalize your gift wrapping, decorating and dinner menu, be sure to slow down and block out some time to enjoy a service celebrating the true reason for the season.

The Rev. Margaret Ziegler and the congregation of Langcliffe Presbyterian Church will have a vespers service at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at the church, 1001 Main St.

The Rev. Philip Sladicka, Deacon Jim Rose and the parishioners of Queen of the Apostles Parish invite the community to their Christmas Masses at the church, 715 Hawthorne St., at 2 and 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, and 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 25.

Mass for the feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1, at the church. The vigil Mass will be celebrated at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. Due to increased attendance at Christmas Masses and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, please call the parish office at 570-457-3412 to make a reservation to attend church on Christmas Eve or day.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays at the church.

The Rev. Dale Pepper and the congregation of St. John’s Primitive Methodist Church will have its Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24, at the church, 314 Main St.

Sadly, due to the increase of COVID cases, the Bethel United Methodist Church will not have services until Jan. 3 under the advisement of the United Methodist Church’s Susquehanna Conference.

Hunters’ raffle

If you’re searching for a unique Christmas gift for the hunters in your life, consider purchasing a ticket for the outdoor enthusiast raffle sponsored by the Avoca Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary to Post 8335. The winner will match the daily lottery’s evening Pick 3 number in January. The raffle includes 31 prizes valued at more than $20,000 including a grand prize five-day bowhunting trip in the hardwoods of southeast Ohio with Buckeye Bowhunting. Other prizes include crossbow packages, binoculars and tree stands.

Tickets can be purchased by calling June Fitzgerald at 570-457-9604, Joe Burgio at 570-362-2141 or Lonesome Road Archery at 570-562-0301 by Dec. 31, while supplies last. Proceeds benefit the Avoca VFW veterans and auxiliary to support their community services.

Online spirit gear store

Queen of the Apostles Parish has opened a virtual spirit gear store in conjunction with Mad Tees, Dupont.

The store at https://stores.inksoft.com/queen_of_the_apostles/shop/home, offers cotton knit facemasks, winter scarves and hats, baseball caps, long and short sleeve T-shirts, V-neck and cardigan sweaters, quarter zip, crew neck and hoodie sweatshirts, fleece sweatpants, sport shirts and flannel lounge pants.

When your order is complete, a Mad Tees representative will contact you. Orders can be picked up on the back porch of Mad Tees, 340 Main St., Dupont, following social distancing guidelines.

A portion of all sales will benefit the parish.

Please note, orders take two weeks to complete.

Queen of the Apostles

Tickets are available for the parish’s Pot of Gold Stocking Stuffer raffle. Tickets, which are $10 each, offer a chance to win $75 daily and $500 on Jan. 1 and 31. To purchase a ticket, please call the parish office at 570-457-3412 or Ann Marie Piccini at 570-510-3125. You also can mail requests for particular numbers along with the payment to Queen of the Apostles Parish, 715 Hawthorne St., Avoca, PA 18641. The daily winning number must match the state lottery’s evening Pick 3 number.

The parish recently re-established the Cardinal John J. O’Connor Knights of Columbus Council 12967. Before its closing, this council was very active at SS. Peter and Paul’s Church. Since SS. Peter and Paul’s Church is one of two parishes which created Queen of the Apostles in 2011, it is only fitting the re-established council exists there.

In addition to providing charity to the community, the Knights of Columbus also was founded on the principles of unity and fraternity. For information, call the parish office. Membership is open to all men 18 or older.

Queen of the Apostles Parish Hall is sponsoring Paul’s Famous Sauce and Meatballs sale. The prices are as follows: quart of red sauce, $6; quart of red sauce and meatballs, $8, and a quart of vodka sauce, $10. To order, please call Paul at 570-430-9015 or Queen of the Apostles Parish Office at 570-457-3412.

Avoca Food Pantry

Avoca Food Pantry will be open at 4 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 7 and 21, at Bethel United Methodist Church, 532 Main St. The food, provided by the CEO Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank, can be picked up in the rear entry of the building. If you can volunteer to unload and distribute food, please arrive at the church at 1:30 p.m. For more information, please call Jim at 570-921-9899.

Jackie Borthwick-Galvin writes about Avoca every week. To list an item, email jborthwickgalvin@pittstonprogress.com or call 570-301-2171 by 5 p.m. Monday.

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