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Advent I

✠ The Bishop’s Corner ✠
Thanksgiving week is always a short one, as the standard work week gives way to holiday by Wednesday evening. But of course cooks cook, and shoppers shop, providing us with our turkey dinner. The Opus Dei, the work of God continues too in our beautifully decorated Thanksgiving sanctuary, with Holy Mass and music and prayer. The Friday is always a quiet day, good setting for two adult baptisms. Thanks be to God. The festive celebration of St. Andrew’s Day closed the church year yesterday with High Mass and two confirmations.

But Thanksgiving is never destined to last long, is it? For the world it is reduced to a meal, football, shopping and the start of a complicated and anymore carefully choreographed Christmas celebration. For Christians, Thanksgiving is a fitting celebration to encourage us to keep the sweet self denials, the different well intentioned resolutions that mark our Advent, which must prepare us for Our Lord’s threefold coming: Christmas, death, and the End of the World. Sober stuff. Prayer and penance are not burdensome extras for us in an already busy season, but rather what this all too short Advent season is all about.

May it be a blessed one for you and yours! St Nicholas comes on First Friday to remind us that this Child Is God, whom we worship at the All Night Adoration. The first candlelight Rorate Mass closes the vigil of prayer on Saturday, the Vigil of the Immaculate Conception. Some penance is prescribed for all, with abstinence from meat this year two days in a row, and fasting on the Saturday for those not dispensed. Check the bulletin or your calendar for the fasting rules.

But next Sunday is already a great feast, the Immaculate Conception. St Nicholas will come with treats for the little ones. Model of episcopal condescension, he will set up his throne after the 7:30 in the vestibule to catch the quickly fleeing faithful. Linger for a moment after the Masses. If you’re a poetry lover, or just devoted to Our Lady, you may wish to go back to the classroom for the annual recitation of Fr Ryan’s The Immaculate Conception. Festive Vespers closes the day. It’s a good thing the angels attend, otherwise we’d feel a bit lonely sometimes.

Don’t forget to make the Stations this Advent. Plenty of good works to choose from. Give Our Lady your Advent plans, and start today.
–Bp. Dolan