This year, since the Fourth Sunday of Advent falls on the Eve of the Nativity, what does this mean for our Mass obligations?
As per the norm, Catholics are obliged to attend Mass on Sunday to keep holy and commemorate the Christian Sabbath. This can be done this year by attending Mass on Saturday at 5.30 or Sunday morning at 8.45 for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
The Feast of the Nativity is a holy day of obligation as it calls the Christian faithful to celebrate a particular dimension of the mysteries of Jesus Christ [and His Church] – namely the Incarnation. Therefore, we are obliged to attend holy Mass either on Sunday evening for the Vigil of the Nativity (4.00 pm, 6.30 pm, or 9 pm) or Monday morning Mass of the Nativity at 9.00 am.
Since we are obliged to celebrate these two important mysteries we cannot fulfill the obligation for the celebration of Sunday and the Nativity obligations with just one Mass (say, Sunday evening).
- Option 1: Saturday evening 4th Sunday of Advent 5.30 Mass + Sunday evening Vigil of the Nativity (4pm or 6.30 pm or 9 pm)
- Option 2: Saturday evening 4th Sunday of Advent 5.30 Mass + Monday morning Nativity Mass at Dawn (9 am)
- Option 3: Sunday morning 4th Sunday of Advent 8.45 am Mass + Sunday evening Vigil of the Nativity (4pm or 6.30 pm or 9 pm)
- Option 4: Sunday morning 4th Sunday of Advent 8.45 am Mass = Monday morning Nativity Mass at Dawn (9 am)
Your help is needed for Sandwich Saturday; please contact Alishia Snoke at 740.407.5870 to see how you can help.
As the weather becomes more harsh the need in our community increases.
The better we understand Jesus, the better we understand ourselves.
But who was Jesus, this itinerant preacher whom many called the Messiah? In Priest, Prophet, King, you’ll discover Jesus as the Anointed One – the ultimate priest, prophet, and king foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament. Using Biblical insights and engaging stories, Bishop Barron affirms that we see Jesus most clearly through the lens of the Old Testament.
Through this presentation of Priest, Prophet, King, you will better understand Jesus, become more familiar with Scripture, and realize your own priestly, prophetic, and kingly mission.
- Tuesday, January 23 from 7 – 8.30 pm
- Tuesday, February 6 from 7 – 8.30 pm
- Tuesday, February 20 from 7 – 8.30 pm
- Tuesday, March 6 from 7 – 8.30 pm
- Tuesday, April 10 from 7 – 8.30 pm
- Tuesday, April 24 from 7 – 8.30 pm
Cost & Registration
The cost is $27.00 per person for the Workbook
Registration Form (DOWNLOAD HERE) due to the Parish Rectory by Tuesday, 2 January 2018
In her liturgical year the Church helps the Christian faithful to encounter each year anew, her Lord, Jesus Christ. Since God has become Man in Jesus Christ, He has entered time and our world, and thus the liturgical seasons and commemorations are not memories of distant events of our Salvation History, but are encounters with the living God. As with the visible world and nature, there are seasons and cycles to the year. The same is true with our liturgical year. There are times for fasting and feasting; times for sorrow and joy; and times for more intense conversion and penance. But in all of this, the Church encounters her Lord and His saving Gospel. Throughout these times and seasons, Catholics re-live the life of Christ: the Annunciation to the Bl. Virgin Mary, Jesus’ Incarnation, His Birth, being raised in the holy family, His Baptism and retreat into the dessert, and His Paschal Mystery: His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. As Christians, celebrating well the rituals and traditions of the Church in her liturgical year, helps us to live intimately with Jesus Christ.
As we prepare to journey through the season of Advent, the prayer and worship of the Church helps us to remember our need and longing for the Messiah. Although our world is all about immediate gratification; the timeless memory of the Church tells us to be in touch with our longings. It is good to long. By recalling the ancient prophecies and the expectancy of the Messiah, we are aided in renewing our need for Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and welcoming Him more into our lives, especially those fibers of our being that are in need of conversion and healing. Mother Church also encourages us to look for the many ways in which the Lord comes to us now: sacramentally in Holy Communion, in the person of the Priest, in holy Scripture, and in the person of our neighbour. We are also reminded that the Lord will return again at the end of time as Judge, or at our death in particular judgement, and so we heed the call of John the Baptizer to “make straight His paths.”
With this in mind, let us look to where we need the Lord more in our lives – to turn away from sin and to turn toward the Lord and His mercy and healing. Our deanery parishes will offer advent penance services to help us go about this christian work:
- Tuesday, 5 December – St. John the Evangelist – Logan, 7.00 pm
- Sunday, 10 December – St. Bernadette – Lancaster, 3.00 pm
- Tuesday, 12 December – St. Mark the Evangelist – Lancaster, 7.00 pm
- Thursday, 14 December – St. Mary of the Assumption, 7.00 pm
- Sunday, 17 December – St. Mary – Bremen, 3.00 pm
- Tuesday, 19 December – St. Joseph – Sugar Grove, 7.00 pm
As Mother Church helps us to prepare not only for the commemoration of the Nativity this Advent, but more importantly, for when we meet the Lord face to face, let us avail ourselves of this special opportunity to seek God’s mercy and grace in this sacrament. Let us welcome the Divine Physician into our lives to heal and transform us, so that we may be ready and open to receive Christ the Lord in the many ways He comes to us this Advent and this New Liturgical Year.
Parishioners are invited to bring in their family advent wreaths on the First Sunday of Advent (Sat 2 Dec. or Sun 3 Dec.) and place them around the parish advent wreath before Mass for Father Eilerman to bless during the three Masses. We suggest attaching your family name to the wreath to help you identify it after Mass.
History of the Advent Wreath by Rev. Fr. William Saunders
The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.
By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21). By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.
The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to our faith: The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing. Holly also has a special Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, and one English legend tells of how the cross was made of holly. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ. Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection. All together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death, and resurrection.
The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Savior. Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.
The light again signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one rose candles with four white candles, which will be lit throughout Christmas season.
In family practice, the Advent wreath is most appropriately lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food. A traditional prayer service using the Advent wreath proceeds as follows: On the First Sunday of Advent, the father of the family blesses the wreath, praying: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” He then continues for each of the days of the first week of Advent, O Lord, stir up Thy might, we beg thee, and come, that by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The youngest child then lights one purple candle.
During the second week of Advent, the father prays: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure minds. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The oldest child then lights the purple candle from the first week plus one more purple candle.
During the third week of Advent, the father prays: O Lord, we beg Thee, incline Thy ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The mother then lights the two previously lit purple candles plus the rose candle.
Finally, the father prays during the fourth week of Advent, O Lord, stir up Thy power, we pray Thee, and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy grace, Thy merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The father then lights all of the candles of the wreath.
Since Advent is a time to stir-up our faith in the Lord, the wreath and its prayers provide us a way to augment this special preparation for Christmas. Moreover, this good tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our homes and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.