December 17, 2023
Dear Parish Family,
Happy Gaudate Sunday! Guadate is the Latin word for rejoice. It is the special name that we give to the Third Sunday of Advent. We rejoice because we have reached the halfway point of our Advent Journey. Actually, this year, the way that Christmas falls, we are well past the halfway point of Advent. While there are always four Sundays of Advent, this year we have four Sundays but really only three full weeks. So if you’ve felt like Advent was going fast this year, now you know why.
The Fourth Sunday of Advent being on December 24th this year raises some questions about Mass. Since Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, could you get a two for one or double dip? Can you attend Mass on Sunday evening (Christmas Eve) and have it fulfill both your Sunday obligation and Christmas Obligation? Allow me to help clarify with this example.
I have friends who have two daughters and a son. Their daughters’ birthdays are June and August. Their son’s birthday is December 25. The daughters have parties and presents in the summer. But while their son is blessed to share his birthday with Jesus, they are extra careful to make sure that his birthday doesn’t get lost in Christmas. They make sure that it is two special and distinct celebrations.
It’s kind of the same with the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve Mass. We need to give each the distinct attention and honor they deserve. Each has a separate Mass. Each have their own readings, own prayers, own theme, own character. So Masses on the morning of the December 24 are for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Masses in the evening of December 24 are for Christmas. And so … a separate Mass for each.
While that might cause us to think a little more about what Masses we will go to for the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas, it hopefully will cause us to think about why we need to go to different Masses for each. It shouldn’t merely be because we have to, but because we want to. At every Mass we meet Jesus—we encounter His presence—in His Word, His Body and Blood, and in the community of believers gathered in His name. It is a source of our joy.
Masses for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
Saturday December 23: 5:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 24: 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
(No 11:30 a.m. Mass Christmas Eve Morning)
Masses for CHRISTMAS
Sunday, December 24: 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Midnight Mass begins at 12:00 a.m.
Monday, December 25: 10:00 a.m.
Love, grace, and peace!
Father Neil Sullivan