Though I am not a talented singer, which anyone who sits near me at church knows, I always sing O Holy Night with full heart and voice. Though the verse about a weary world has always struck a chord with me, it’s never more so than in the Advent seasons since COVID-19. Our world is quite weary, with worry and concern still too often a heavy part of our daily lives. The hustle and bustle of this time of year can mean longer lines in the store, later nights wrapping gifts and addressing cards, and (at least for me) dwindling levels of patience and good cheer.
Which is why we celebrate Gaudete Sunday on this Third Sunday of Advent. Gaudete, which means rejoice in Latin, comes from our Entrance Antiphon: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.” As our Lord draws near, we have a heightened sense of joy and anticipation, marked by the rose candle in our advent wreath and special vestments at Mass. We await the Incarnation of our Lord-- not with worry or fear, but with glad tidings and tremendous joy. A thrill of hope, indeed, for our very weary world.
This weekend, guests at our 9:30am and 11:30am liturgies are invited to bring the Bambinelli, or baby Jesus figurines from your home nativities, to be blessed at The Basilica. Dr. Johan van Parys, our Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts, shares, “Ever since Saint Pope Paul VI started the Blessing of the Bambinelli in 1969, every pope after him has continued the tradition. A few years ago I was in Rome for Gaudete Sunday. To my great delight the people around me took a baby Jesus out of their pocket or purse and lifted it up so Pope Francis could bless it.” What a poignant and visible reminder that God chose to be revealed to us through an innocent baby, and that God is with us, here and now, always and forever, even in the midst of our weariness.
Finally, we hope you, your family, and your guests can join us for Christmas at The Basilica. The magnificent liturgies will fill your heart with joy and peace.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24
2:00pm: Vigil Eucharist* with Archbishop Hebda
5:00pm: Vigil Eucharist*
7:30pm: Vigil Eucharist
10:30pm: Prelude Music for Christmas
11:00pm: Choral Music for Christmas
11:30pm: Vigil of Lights
Midnight: Solemn Eucharist*
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25
7:30am Eucharist at Dawn
9:30am Solemn Eucharist*
11:30am Solemn Eucharist
* livestreamed liturgies