From the Pastor: Advent is Upon Us!
The way Advent and the early December dates line up this year, the first week of Advent is chock full of marvelous feast days! I know you already have your calendars marked for December 8, the Holy Day of Obligation (yes, there are still a few of them!) celebrating the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We have three Masses that day: the normal Friday 6:30 am and 8:30 am Masses, plus an evening Mass at 7:00 pm. But a full lineup of heavy hitters warms us up in preparation for that day. Monday is St. Chrysologus, the Church “Doctor of Homilies”, with a commemoration of St. Barbara, who is one of the revered 14 Holy Helpers. Tuesday is the feast of St. Sabbas, a hermit monk whose clever and holy Bishop really stuck it to the rebellious monks who demanded that Sabbas be removed from his role as abbot (come to the 8:00 Mass to hear the rest of the story!). Wednesday, December 6, brings us... wait, do I really need to tell any of you whose feast day is December 6? I certainly hope not! St. Ambrose (a second Doctor of the Church in one week!) follows him (that is at least a small hint that the Saint of December 6 is a male!) on Thursday. All in all, it is quite a solid group of Saints.
Rather than just run down the list of all the Saints throughout the rest of Advent, I next wish to draw your attention to the Saturday following the Second Sunday of Advent. Get a good night’s rest that Friday night, for we are going to celebrate a Rorate Caeli Mass on December 16 and, as you might remember, Rorate Masses begin before dawn! We will have to change our regular Saturday morning schedule to accomplish this. The Rorate Mass will begin in total darkness save for candlelight at the altar, at 6:30 am (rather than the normal 8:00 am). We are planning on having some simple breakfast food following the Mass, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Confessions. If anyone wishes to let us know ahead of time that they will be there, or will bring food, or will serve the Mass, or will be in the Schola, it would help with the planning of this great feast.
Here is a little bit about the Rorate Mass which I wrote for the bulletin before the one we held last year: “The Advent Rorate Masses are celebrated in darkness, with only candlelight to illuminate the church. As the Mass continues, the daylight grows stronger, as if the signified Light of the World, Jesus Christ, is finally dawning upon us. The Savior is bud forth in the East (or Orient, which, as another aside, is why the term ad orientem--to the east--is used when the priest faces at least liturgical east like the congregation, all looking expectantly to the Orient for the return of Our Lord in His Majestic Glory), the land is blessed, and the Christians (Catholics are the true Christians) are set free from the dark captivity of sin. He came to save us from our sin, to bring light to those in darkness. He came through, and is magnified by, the Blessed Virgin Mary, without whom we would find no Savior, and merit no salvation.” I know that there are many good reasons which might keep you snug in bed that morning, but if you make the effort for this Mass, I think you will be hooked and make it a yearly event.
Now for one major bit of information about something else coming up very quickly, though not until early next year. So far I have three confirmandi signed up definitely and almost two (2) more persons signed up for Confirmation next year. The first “almost” person is from our parish and actually signed up too early, using last year’s online form as if he could use my magic time machine and get him confirmed in the past. The second “almost” person is from another parish but desperately wants to attend the Traditional Latin Mass and get confirmed in the Traditional Rite but his mother and father don’t want to leave their Novus Ordo parish. He is still in negotiations with them and with his pastor! But as of this writing, even though the current Confirmation Information and Checklist is available both online and at the office, only those few have actually availed themselves of it, so our total tally is three (3) confirmandi. That is not a bad thing if it is an accurate count but, since the Confirmation date given to us by Bishop Parkes is quickly approaching (Confirmation time and date: 7:00 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018) we soon need to tell the Bishop how many kids we have who will be ready and eager to receive the sacrament. I would hate to have him bypass us this year due to having such a small class only to have several dozen more sign up after he takes us off his calendar! So please don’t procrastinate on this. If you or your child(ren) are preparing for Confirmation, please use the website for guidance and let us know at the office that we need to get ready for you/them!
With prayer for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka