From the Pastor: Merry Advent and Christmas Vigil and Christmas!
The 4th Sunday of Advent is missing this year. Perhaps it is better to say that it is not completely lost, but rather misplaced or even replaced. As I mentioned last week, in the Traditional Latin Mass when the Vigil of Christmas falls on a Sunday, it replaces the 4th Sunday of Advent. Not so in the Novus Ordo Calendar. The Vigil of Christmas, instead of taking the place of the 4th Sunday, is instead celebrated in the evening, Christmas Eve. Since we don’t normally have a Novus Ordo Mass scheduled on Sunday, we will have no 4th Sunday of Advent Mass that day. But wait. We have a Novus Ordo Mass Saturday evening, so the 4th Sunday of Advent will be celebrated on Saturday instead of on Sunday. As for the TLM, both of the Sunday morning Masses will be Christmas Vigil Masses. We have added a NO Mass on Sunday evening but even though it is celebrated on Sunday, it will not be the 4th Sunday of Advent Mass, for that Mass will be replaced by the Christmas Vigil Mass. But the TLM Christmas Vigil Masses of the morning will have different prayers and readings than the NO Christmas Vigil Mass of the evening. Even had we added another TLM on Christmas evening, it would be the exact same Mass as the morning TLMs and so would still be different than the NO Christmas Vigil. Add to that confusion the people who keep checking the Sunday evening calendar online and complain that there is no Midnight Mass scheduled. Of course, what they fail to comprehend is that Midnight Mass is not held on Sunday evening but rather first thing on Monday morning. The Sunday calendar ends at 11:59:59 so to find the Christmas Midnight Mass one has to look on Monday’s calendar, because Christmas Midnight Mass begins as soon as Christmas begins, and not two or three hours earlier as so often happens at NO parishes. Monday is Christmas. Did that clear up anything? Yes? Then let me just forget about complicating things by telling you what St. Joseph Vietnamese Mission is doing with their Christmas Vigil and Day Masses, or you will just get confused again. And it is probably not a good idea for me to explain that there are three different and distinct Christmas Day Masses in both the NO and TLM calendars, each with its own general time frame in which they are to be celebrated (midnight, early morning and later morning), except that with the NO Mass one can be substituted for the others if the priest chooses. Or if the liturgy committee plans it. Or if the lectors read the wrong readings. Or something like that.
Moving on, I want to thank all of you who have sacrificed so much to be active members of this parish, naming especially those who work as well as pray. Altar boys and choir members (and the parents or family members who transport them and wait for them as they practice and again as they fulfill their function, sometimes very early in the morning and sometimes very late at night, are amazing in their dedication. Thank you all. The women’s guild and other volunteers, who do so much planning and serving and cleaning, allow us to have such things as coffee and donuts after Sunday Masses, an upcoming Epiphany Ball and many other events. You do so much. Thank you all. Those of you who support the Amani family, who assist the American Heritage Girls, who donate generously to those young ladies who are discerning vocations to the religious life and the young men entering seminary, who prepare the altar, who wash and iron the liturgical linens, who clean, repair and replace broken pews and other church items, who teach children the faith, who lead the Holy Rosary with the Spiritual Mothers on Wednesdays or at the Friday Family Rosary and Game night, who show up and bring food for the Wednesday night and Sunday potlucks, who attend adult Catechism classes, who taught (sorry, past tense only due to the teacher having babies!) Latin classes, who organize the youth group and the new Juventutem group, who come to the Holy League men’s club, the K of C... (Did I leave anyone out? Probably. Sorry about that.) You are all amazing people. With travel times averaging approximately 45 minutes one way just to get here, bypassing several other more conveniently located parishes as you do so, you humble me, who only has to walk a hundred yards. All you do, all year ‘round, is a Christmas gift this pastor truly appreciates. May God bless you all.
Oh, one more thing before I forget. This Wednesday, December 27, is the feast of St. John the Evangelist. There is a special blessing of wine after Mass (remember, enemies of the Church tried to kill him by poisoning his wine, which he simply blessed and drank to show the power of God), so don’t forget to bring in your favorite bottles that morning!
Merry Christmas Vigil to you all. Rejoice, for the time of the Savior’s birth draws near!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka