From the Desk of Father Tharp
This is an unusual year in that the fourth Sunday of Advent (today) is Christmas Eve. The Chancery of the Archdiocese has reminded every parish to be clear in explaining that one must attend a precept Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Advent as well as another Mass for one’s Christmas obligation. In other words, you cannot attend one Sunday Mass and count it for Sunday as well as Christmas. There are no “2 fer’s.”
St. Ann and Sacred Heart therefore announce the following schedule of Masses for Christmas: Please note that Sunday Masses on Christmas Eve morning are at the usual times at both St. Ann and Sacred Heart.
Christmas Masses at St. Ann are scheduled for Sunday, Christmas Eve for 5:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m. and midnight. The midnight Mass at St. Ann will be celebrated by a Glenmary priest. Fr. Schmitz will celebrate on Christmas Day (Monday) at 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Christmas Masses at Sacred Heart are scheduled for Sunday, Christmas Eve for 3:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. and midnight. Carols will begin at 11:10 p.m. Masses on Christmas Day (Monday) are at 8:00 a.m. 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon. (Please note that the 7:00 p.m. time is a departure from the past, but I could not find a priest to have an earlier time, so I must return from St. Ann in time for this Mass.)
New Year’s Schedule
Recall that January 1, 2018 New Year’s Day falls on a Monday just like Christmas. However, New Year’s Day the Feast of Mary the Mother of God is not the patronal feast for the United States. The patronal feast of the United States is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Therefore the “obligation” to attend Mass on New Year’s Day is excused. In other words, we are obligated as Catholics to attend Mass for Sunday, December 31 either on Saturday evening or Sunday morning, but we are not obligated to attend Mass for New Year’s on Sunday evening or Monday. For this reason, the only anticipatory Mass will be New Year’s Eve (Sunday Evening) at 5:15 p.m. at St. Ann. There is no anticipatory Mass on Sunday evening at Sacred Heart. Monday (New Year’s Day) there will be the regular 7:30 a.m. Mass at Sacred Heart and the regular holiday Mass time of 9:00 a.m. at St. Ann. There will be no other Masses on Monday New Year’s Day.
Confused? Just remember that Monday, January 1, the Feast of Mary the Mother of God is not a Holyday of Obligation this year.
Reflection on Scripture
The Fourth Sunday of Advent this year is Christmas Eve. In the reading from 2 Samuel, King David regrets that he has a better house than God’s presence signified by the Ark of the Covenant. In the Annunciation which is today’s gospel, Jesus is revealed as the new temple of God, the Christ. Through the mystery of the Eucharist, we become the Mystical Body of Christ. Jesus came in to the world through Mary. Jesus is in the world through his mystical body; the Church. Therefore, the Old Testament longing of David is not satisfied by Solomon’s Temple, but by the birth of Jesus Christ into this world.
Readings for the Feast of the Holy Family
Sir 3:2-6, 12-14
Theme: Simeon and Anna