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Advent IV

Our church, as decorated for Christmas Mass

Daily Sermons
December 16 – Fr. Lehtoranta – St. Eusebius
December 17 – Bp. Dolan – Wisdom
December 18 – Bp. Dolan – The Ten Commandments
December 19 – Bp. Dolan – O Root of Jesse
December 20 – Bp. Dolan – O Key of David

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
I am writing to you after an unusually successful weekday Mass for Ember Wednesday, the great “Golden” or Rorate Mass, which honors the Incarnation. It is offered by candlelight in the predawn darkness, symbolic of man’s state in the somber slumber of sin before the dawning of the Sun of Justice. Five souls assisted at the Holy Sacrifice. Later, of course, the school children will come and sing sweetly for one of the last High Masses before the Christmas break. Our dear homeschooling children are on schedule, too, coming to decorate the church for the Christ Child’s birth. Many of them are old enough to be experienced, but still young enough to be original in their work. We appreciate them all, as well as the adults who climb high ladders and do grown up things with great grace.

Our school children were baking up a batch of cookies last Friday for Sunday’s Cookie and Craft Sale, a good and practical “home ec” class, which filled Helfta Hall with a savory aroma. Thank you for your cooking and creative crafts. I am so pleased to say that we made $799.00 “for the children.”

Christmas comes conveniently midweek this year, giving us plenty of time to finish our preparations, as well as a little rest time before the following Sunday. We will be blessing the children after all the Masses next Sunday. Bring them after the High Mass for a little party and some poetry. There’s a present, too, for each child.

Monday we honor America’s first canonized saint, Frances Xavier Cabrini. Tuesday is already Christmas Eve, the “day without end” and the night without rest, which sees us all watchful and waiting for the Lord’s midnight coming. The special Offices begin Tuesday morning, and continue for the Matins and Midnight Mass, Lauds and even Vespers.

Christmas Day has its own glories with the special music and Benediction at the 9:00 “Mass of the Shepherds,” and the quiet third Mass “of the day” at 11:00 AM. Friday, St. John’s Day, the main Mass is sung at the school time of 11:20, with the opening of the Infant of Prague Novena before, and Benediction after, as well as the Blessing of the Wine. Next Sunday we have, as usual, our regular schedule of Masses.

On another front, we think we have at last located the source of the leak which did so much damage to the hallway opposite the gift shop. As a mark of confidence, we patched up a great portion of it, and will probably have the rest plastered and painted “after Christmas.”

Fr. Lehtoranta has departed now for his customary Milwaukee Christmas, but not before decorating his office and the Convento with a series of cheering Christmas Trees, to keep us in the holiday mood while he’s gone. Thank you, Father. I remember fondly Carol and Steve Niehaus who used to decorate a tree for Fr. Cekada and me at our house in Sharonville, and even found time to cook chili for after Midnight Mass. Many happy memories make an even merrier Christmas, don’t they? And new Christmas customs join the old to ornament this season of joy, for young and old.

Fr. McKenna is gone again to Norfolk, Virginia’s tiny St. Augustine Church with its Murphy bed in the sacristy. I know the faithful there will appreciate his Christmas visit. Bishop Sanborn is making a late Advent visit to England, where he will be giving a conference, offering Mass, and interviewing a potential seminarian.

Fr. McGuire is here with us for Christmas Midnight, and then goes to St. Clare for the day. One of our two Nigerian clerics, Mr. Abraham Chukwu, is with us for Christmas. We appreciate his presence and assistance.

Thank you to so many who responded to our “Send a Priest to Nigeria for Christmas” appeal. Fr. Nkamuke is over there now, and I am sure he is very busy with souls starved for the Sacraments. They are having a true Christmas.

Be sure to mark your calendar (get one in the gift shop before they go!) for Twelfth Night, Epiphany. After the 5:30 Solemn Mass, you are invited to our parish Christmas party, which honors all of our Church workers and volunteers. So many hours presented this past year like precious myrrh or fragrant frankincense. God reward the gold of your devotion!

Thank you for your generous Advent giving, your special offerings at this season, and your steady Sunday support. May Our Lord reward you as He comes to you for Christmas, with His peace.

May Mary lead you to Jesus, and keep you there!
– Bishop Dolan