From Father Rodney
Well, the Fourth Week of Advent will officially be 16 hours long. Not counting the Saturday, The final week of Advent will technically begin at midnight on Sunday, December 24th and will end with the vigil Mass of Christmas set to be celebrated at 4pm Sunday afternoon. An entire week of Advent in 16 hours! My guess is that we won’t be able to accomplish much in those few hours but rather, we will spend our time putting the final touches on the Christmas holiday. Making sure the house is ready to greet family and friends who will visit; making sure all of our gifts are wrapped; the final touches on those special food items that are only made for the Christmas holiday and any other number of things that we will need for the days to come. The great season of hope and expectation was certainly cut short this year but God has still used these 22 days to help prepare us for the coming of Christ at the end of time but also to celebrate His Birth as an infant child. In the crazy, hectic time leading up to December 25th hopefully we’ve reflected on the real gift that we are about to celebrate. God loved us so much that He sent us His very own Son as a gift to each of us. The gift that allows us to enter into a real relationship with our God – our God who came to make His home among us. God wanted to know what it was like to laugh and cry; to experience pain and joy; to know love and forgiveness. As we give gifts and receive them this Christmas season, let us hold tight to the perfect gift of Jesus that God has given to us out of pure, selfless love. Come Lord Jesus, come now do not delay. Merry Christmas!
January 1, 2018 Mary, Mother of God
January 1st is usually a holy day of obligation but this year, since Mary, Mother of God falls on a Monday, it is not a holy day of obligation. To that end, there will only be one daily Mass @ 8AM. It would, however, be a nice way to begin the year. Perhaps you will consider attending the daily Mass as we begin a new year.
From Father Rodney….
Two little words pack a powerful punch this Third Sunday of Advent and hopefully give us the boost we so need as we trudge through this hectic season. Saint Paul, writing to the weary Thessalonians encourages them: REJOICE ALWAYS! Using plain, simple language, Paul reminds the early Christian Community at Thessalonica that despite sufferings, hardships and anything that causes them pain or distress they should REJOICE ALWAYS. Hearing those words this weekend or reading them here now you might be saying to yourself: I have no reason to rejoice. I remember years ago, before I became the Pastor of Saint Mary’s and when I was still in full-time hospital ministry, I had been called to visit a patient (no HIPPA violation!) and when I walked into the room I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The situation was a challenging one indeed. I met an individual who was devoid of all hope. I had never experienced anything like it…no exaggeration. It just so happened that it was the Saturday of Guadete Sunday and as I sat and listened and attempted, albeit feebly, to offer the patient a reason to hope, I used Saint Paul’s own words that we reflect on here and the person said to me that he had no reason whatsoever to rejoice. He then proceeded to outline, in great detail, the reasons his life was in such disarray. I then proceeded to paint him a picture of what the divided Christian Community of Thessalonica looked like and why Saint Paul encouraged them, despite everything negative that was happening, that they had to REJOICE ALWAYS. (A word to the wise…I don’t think that I was successful in my efforts) It can happen to any of us. Life can be so overwhelming; situations might make us doubt and question and even want to abandon following Jesus. If we do that, then we will have no reason to REJOICE ALWAYS for He is the reason to hope. He also happens to be the reason for the season. As we continue this great journey of joyful expectation, may we, despite whatever is going on in our lives, to REJOICE ALWAYS. We light an additional candle on our Advent wreath this Third Sunday and may its’ glow illumine our path so that we can see clearly through all of the proverbial messes of life so that, we might REJOICE ALWAYS!
Come Lord Jesus. Come now. Come quickly. Do not delay.
Christmas 2017: December 23, 24 & 25
I was asked by several parishioners this past Sunday to clarify what exactly the obligation for Mass attendance is in light of how the celebration of Christmas falls this year. Simply put: you have to attend Mass twice. No, attending the vigil Mass on the 23rd will not count for Christmas and attending Mass on the 24th in the morning likewise does not fulfill the Christmas obligation. So, here it is in a nutshell. If you attend the 4PM Vigil Mass on the 23rd, you will need to attend one of the Vigil Masses on the 24th (4PM or 5:30PM) or the midnight Mass….yes, it is at 12:00AM or the 10:00AM Mass on the 25th. If you attend one of the 3AM Masses on the 24th (8AM, 10AM or 11:30AM) you will still need to attend a Vigil Mass later in the day or the Midnight Mass or the morning Mass on the 25th. It happens every so often. Let’s put a smiley face on as we get to be together an extra day!