You will be reading this on the Third Sunday of Advent, yes, you heard me right, it is already the third Sunday. For those of you interested in liturgical trivia, it is known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word for rejoice and is the first word in the opening prayer for the Third Sunday. We rejoice because when Jesus took on human flesh, our salvation was at hand.
Next Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, is one of our Building Faith Sundays. You will remember that the parish pastoral plan calls for eight Building Faith Sundays this year and next. One Sunday will be a guided meditation on the Gospel in place of a homily. The second Sunday will feature parishioner witness talks. The purpose of the guided meditation is three fold. First, it allows you some time for quiet prayer, secondly it helps deepen your relationship with Jesus, and thirdly, it helps demonstrate the power of Scripture, which is the Word of God. So, consider inviting someone to come to Church with you next Sunday. Remember we need to build up our Sunday attendance.
Also it is not too early to start thinking about Christmas itself. Every year I tell you the same thing, there is a different mood at each Christmas Mass. On Christmas Eve, the 4pm Mass is mobbed! We average about 600 people. In some way, it is like a homecoming event. Adult children are home for the holiday as are the college students. There is a strong sense of community and the music is led by Ryan Laney on piano, Allison Rohr and Megan O’Callaghan as cantors, Michael O’Callaghan on trumpet, and Don Nelson on the organ. The spirit is festive and Dan and Karen Lyons keep the parking lot peaceful!
The 6pm Mass is the children’s Mass with the pageant. It is so heart-warming to see the little ones each year. Each year the congregation consists of families who have been coming to this Mass for decades as well as newer families with young children. The music is done by the Reach Singers and the congregation is full, but not overflowing. We end Christmas Eve at 10:00pm. Note the time. This Mass involves many visitors and Fr. Rojin will preside with Don Nelson and Andrew and Monica Harrington doing the music. This Mass averages about 200 people.
Christmas day, itself, is very peaceful. Fr Rojin will do the 8am and Jack O’Melia will cantor. There will be cello music at all three Masses on Christmas day and Allison Rohr will be cantor at the last two Masses. The 8am Mass will have about 150 people in attendance, while the 11am will see around 300. I will be presiding at the 11am, and Fr. Rojin will have the 12:30. Attendance at the 12:30pm will be about 75 people.