Rejoice! Next Week Is Christmas
This week is Gaudete Sunday, which means that we rejoice because the Lord is near. The word Gaudete is taken from the Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday’s Mass: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near (Philippians 4:4-5). We bust out the pink (or rose) vestments to signify that the Lord is dawning. The sky turns pink when the sun rises which signifies its approach. Similarly the vestments are pink signifying that the Lord will soon appear on Christmas.
2023 is a unique year because Christmas falls on a Monday. So next weekend we’ll celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent on Saturday and Sunday and then dive right into the Christmas Eve Masses on Sunday afternoon (12/24).
To lighten the load for priests, musicians, and our other volunteer ministers, we are making a slight adjustment. The regularly scheduled Sunday morning Masses at St. John and St. Lawrence will be moved to Saturday evening vigil Masses for only this weekend. On December 23, Mass at St. Lawrence will be at 6:00pm and Mass at St. John will be at 6:30pm. The only Sunday morning Masses in our parishes on December 24th will be 10:00am at St. Joseph and 10:30am at Immaculate Conception. Thanks for understanding and your flexibility for Christmas.
The final adjustment that we made is getting a little bit of help for Christmas eve and Christmas day. Fr. Eric Wood who is from Versailles and teaches at the seminary, will be celebrating one Christmas Eve Mass and one Christmas morning Mass. Fr. Wood has helped us out on Easter Sunday for the past three years and we are grateful for his assistance again this year. If he is at the Masses you are attending, please be sure to thank him for his generosity.
Finally, we will be passing out Christmas books this year. Various publishers offer books to parishes at incredible bulk discounts so that they can be passed out to parishioners. This year we will be distributing Beautiful Eucharist, which is published by Dynamic Catholic. It is a wonderful book. Each chapter is written by a different Catholic author, speaker, theologian, or priest. They discuss many different aspects surrounding the Eucharist.
This is incredibly pertinent because the Bishops of the United States of America are coordinating a Eucharistic Revival. As a group, they are seeing the need to renew our faith and love of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. This book is one small way that we are participating in the revival. At the start of the next year, I’ll announce another very exciting way our parishes are participating in the Eucharistic Revival. Stay tuned!
A handful of parishioners have suggested that we distribute the new parish prayer book as a Christmas book. Unfortunately, this isn’t able to happen for a number of reasons. First the bulk orders of books for Christmas have to be ordered months in advance. Secondly our publisher isn’t able to print more books before the holidays.
Many people have requested a copy of the prayer book, so we’ll have more printed soon. If anyone feels called to donate funds to make this happen, we would be very grateful. They will cost us about a dollar each and we’ll need to print around 1000 for our parishioners. Thank you for your incredible generosity. It is exciting that the prayer books are being received well.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Sean Wilson