The Christmas Season will soon be upon us – and we want to help you and your family get ready for Both the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas next weekend! This year, the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas day fall consecutively on a Sunday and Monday. With the supreme importance of the Birth of our Savior, the additional Holy Day Obligation for Christmas is not lifted or transferred. This means that all Catholic Christians are obliged and expected to attend a 4th Sunday of Advent Mass and a Christmas Mass. This year there are back-to-back Mass obligations. Two obligations, means Two Masses! In an attempt at accommodation, we are altering the Mass schedule for the 4th Sunday of Advent. Everyone should go to one Mass for the 4th Sunday of Advent and one Mass for Christmas. Simply going to one Mass between Saturday evening and Monday morning of that weekend will not fulfill one’s whole obligation.
In other words, Choose One Mass for both the 4th Sunday of Advent and One Mass for Christmas.
4th Sunday of Advent Mass Schedule (Attend One):
- Saturday, December 23 @ 5p
- Sunday, December 24 @ 9a (Note: the 8a & 10:30a Masses have been combined for this Sunday only)
Christmas Mass Schedule (Attend One):
- Sunday, December 24 @ 4p (with Holy Family School Choir)
- Sunday, December 24 @ 6p (with Christmas Schola)
- Monday, December 25 @ Midnight (with Adult Choir & Knights of the Holy Temple)
- Monday, December 25 @ 9a
Make the effort to get to Mass every Sunday, but especially the effort of this minor ‘cross’ of back-to-back duties. We often hear the call to “Keep Christ in Christmas”. In recent years, I’ve added, “Keep Mass in Christmas”. It’s hard to grumble about the general state of affairs, the secularization of the world, the commercialization of Christmas, the growing lack of patience or kindness, when so many Christians themselves seem unwilling to put in the minor effort to pause in their busy celebrations to actually celebrate as Christ commanded us in the Mass.
The word “Obligation” seems to have developed a rather negative connotation in recent years. As if having mandatory responsibility toward another in any way is to always be avoided or is somehow unjust? Rather than “Obligation”, you might think of the synonym “Commitment”. While commitments can also be a challenge, we tend to realize that commitments flow from our authentic relationships of love with others. Attending Mass is an outward, actual, tangible sign of your inward Commitment to Christ. If we want to foster & maintain that loving relationship, we must live up to our commitments to that relationship.
As a small consolation, the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God on Monday, January 1, 2024, will not be a Holy Day of Obligation. It has been lifted! So only 1 Mass the weekend of Dec 30-31 as usual.
If you are still with me – I realize this is a challenging and perhaps hard to hear Pastor’s Notes, the Third Sunday of Advent which we celebrate this weekend is called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete meaning “to Rejoice”. There is the lighting of the rose or pink candle in our Advent Wreath with a similar wearing of Rose or Pink vestments by the priest. Having passed the halfway point, we are reminded that Advent is drawing to a close, and soon, very soon, we will celebrate Christmas Joy in the birth of our Incarnate Savior. This is a Joy that is not confined to one weekend of the year, but a Joy that is already the foretaste of Christmas itself, and of the overall Joy that is proper to the whole of the Christian life. We are called & challenged to be a Joyful people. Not living from mere obligation (or even commitments) but from authentic Love at having first been loved by Christ. What hardship, inconvenience, additional Mass attendance, or state of world affairs could darken such a supreme Mystery of grace and wonder. None! For Christ is truly everything. Christ gives everything to you and for you in the Mass.
+ Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God. +
Holy Family, Committed to Christ & Each Other, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries