Fourth Sunday of Advent

This weekend we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent.  The Gospel passage is the Visitation of Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth.  J.  Philip Horrigan, who writes “Scripture Insights” for At Home with the Word (Published by LTP) has the following to say about the Gospel passage: “Luke describes the encounter of Mary and Elizabeth and their greetings of joy and hospitality.  The tenderness of this scene engages our own joy and desire to make ready for the coming of the Savior-Messiah into our every day lives.  This meeting of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist (often called the Precursor) and the mother of the one whom John announced represents the meeting of a people’s hope with the fulfillment of that hope.”  In addition, the Sourcebook for Sundays, Seasons, and Weekdays (also published by LTP) notes the following:  “Mary rushes to the side of Elizabeth, who, like her, is the recipient of divine favor.  But Elizabeth immediately recognizes in Mary one more blessed than she, and she also understands that what makes Mary special is her ability to trust that God’s words to her would be fulfilled.  Both women will suffer greatly for the privilege they have been granted – as will their sons – but for now the linked destinies of John and Jesus can’t detract from the sheer joy of reaching out to touch a cousin who is also a recipient of God’s surprising grace.”  These next few days as we prepare for the celebration of the Nativity of the Lord, let us ask ourselves how well we have prepared ourselves spiritually, and how often we have prayed “Come, Lord Jesus!”?  Have we shared our faith with a family member or a friend?  Have we affirmed the faith of another?                                                                                                                                                          

There are several opportunities these last days of Advent to continue our preparation for Christmas.  Immediately after 9:30 AM Mass, those going caroling to the homebound and Nursing Homes are gathering in the Meeting Room for a snack, some instructions, and dividing up into groups for rides.  Church will be open until 1:00 PM Sunday for Prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  At 1:00 PM, those wishing to help with enhancing the worship space (decorating the church) for Christmas will gather.  Morning Prayer and weekday Mass will be celebrated as usual.  Thursday is the Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord.  Our Christmas celebrations begin with the 5:00 PM Vigil Mass that evening at the Saint Matthew Church site.  Please note all of our Christmas liturgies below.

 

Our Christmas Mass Schedule is as follows:

 

December 24 – 5:00 PM

Saint Matthew Church Site

Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord

Prelude Music and Caroling begins at 4:40 PM

 

December 24 – 7:30 PM

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Mass During the Night

Saint John Paul II Parish Church

Principal Mass

Prelude Music and Caroling with Adult Choir begins at 7:00 PM

 

December 25 – 10:00 AM

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Mass During the Day

Saint John Paul II Parish Church

Prelude Music and Caroling begins at 9:40 AM

 

The Parish Office will be open Monday through Wednesday (December 21-23) this week.  It will be closed Thursday and Friday as well as the following week, with the exception of Wednesday, December 30.  On that day, there will be regular office hours: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM.  Staff members may be working on other days during that week, but the office will only be open for business on Wednesday.

Friday, January 1, is the Octave of Christmas, the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God.  It is a holy day of obligation.  Mass will be celebrated on that day at 10:00 AM.  Please join us for the celebration.

I wish you and your families a blessed and grace-filled Christmas and Christmas Season.  May you be enriched by the Lord’s presence in your lives.  And may you spend some enriching and relaxing time with those you love.

 

Christmas Peace and Blessings!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ