These late Advent days are filled with many blessings! At the Mass, we hear the stories of all that happened before the birth of Jesus: the Annunciation to Mary; the Visit of Mary to Elizabeth; the Annunciation to Zechariah and the birth of John the Baptist; the Annunciation to Joseph; and the journey to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus. You might take some quiet time on your own during these busy days to open your Bible to the beginning of the Gospel of Luke or Matthew and read these Gospels for your own prayer and reflection. The Great “O-Antiphons” also mark the Church’s prayer during these late Advent days. Most familiar to us in the song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” but part of the Church’s ancient chant and prayer, the “O-Antiphons” call upon the Lord by various titles – O Wisdom, O Lord, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Dayspring from on High, O King of the Nations, O Emmanuel – and express our longing that this great God will come to save us. While we know that the Lord has already come and that the Lord is already with us, let us continue our fervent prayer that the Lord will come to us, especially to bring peace and justice to our broken and weary world. In the midst of the busy-ness and crazy-ness of these late Advent days, I encourage you, as best you can, to find and take some time for quiet, for prayer, for reflection, so that all of us can enter into the Christmas celebration with a peaceful heart and a serene spirit.
Please note the Sunday Mass and Christmas schedule for next weekend, because it might seem a bit confusing. Here’s the bottom line: Catholics should attend two Masses within the course of two days or so, one Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Advent and one Mass for Christmas. Masses for the Fourth Sunday of Advent will be at 4:30pm on Saturday, December 23 and on Sunday morning, December 24, at 9:00am; please note that there will be ONE Mass on Sunday morning. Masses For Christmas will be celebrated on Christmas Eve, Sunday, December 24, at 4:30pm and 10:00pm, and on Christmas morning, Monday December 25, at 9:00am. Please note these Mass times, please arrive early as Masses will be more crowded, and please be patient with one another, accommodating to one another, and welcoming to our visitors and guests next weekend. We should always be hospitable and kind, but especially at Christmas!
Thanks for your generosity with Giving Tuesday, the St. Vincent de Paul Christmas Outreach, and the many works of charity offered during Advent. Thanks in advance for your generosity to the Christmas collection for Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. As we come to the end of the year, may I also ask that you consider an extra Christmas gift to the parish?
As we look forward to the New Year, I ask you to also consider requesting Mass intentions for your beloved dead or for special people you would like to remember at Mass. We are running short on Mass intentions for the year to come. While the Mass is always offered for everyone, it is a pious custom and a support to the priest to have a Mass offered for a particular intention. Throughout the year, remember to request a Mass intention when someone passes away, and know that the Mass can be offered for someone on a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. $10 is a suggested donation for a Mass intention. Please be in touch with Carmela in the parish office to arrange for a Mass intention.
Our school will finish this Thursday for the Christmas holidays, and our students and teachers are anticipating a relaxing Christmas break! Please note that the school and parish offices will be closed after Friday and into next week so that our employees can enjoy this time with their family and friends. Please respect these holidays, and if you have parish business, take care of that after the New Year.
Know of my prayers for you and for all our parish family during these days, that the Lord Jesus might come into our hearts with his merciful love! Merry Christmas!