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Archives: December 2020
In our weekly video series "Art That Surrounds Us," Johan van Parys, Ph.D., our Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts, shares information about a piece from The Basilica of Saint Mary's art collection.
This week we are on location at Johan's home, and he shares information and anecdotes about his personal nativity collection, acquired over a number of years, which spans many countries, ethnicities, mediums and artistic styles. "The wonderful thing about nativities," he says, "is that throughout the world people have depicted the nativity scene in their own image."
Our next episode of Art That Surrounds Us will be available the week of January 4.
Basilica Staff Christmas Greeting
I hope this message finds you and your family continuing to stay well during these very challenging times.
Today I have three things I would like to mention. First, at this point, barring any unforeseen issues or circumstances, we anticipate having our usual schedule of Masses for Christmas and the weekend after. While our 3:00pm and Midnight Masses on Christmas Eve are both full; people will still have the opportunity to register to attend any of the other Masses on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. You can do this through the registration link on our website. Registration will be open until Monday evening December 21.
We also will be livestreaming several of our Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, for those who don’t feel comfortable attending Mass in person. I also want to remind people that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days continues to be suspended. Given this, if due to age, health issues, or other concerns, please know that you don’t have to attend Mass, and that we encourage you to join us for one of livestreamed Masses.
The second thing I want to mention, is that after the 9:30am Mass on Christmas Day, we invite those who have participated in Mass via livestream to come to The Basilica to receive Communion.
The process will be very simple, and there is no need to pre-register. You just come to the rectory on 17th Street, where you will receive a prayer card. You will then proceed to the front of our School building to receive Communion while you remain in your car. We will distribute communion from approximately 10:30am to 11:00am.
The third thing I want to mention is that this Sunday December 20 after the 11:30am Mass until about 1:00pm, we invite you to bring the baby Jesus from your Nativity set to the Basilica to be blessed. The blessing of the Bambinelli will take place in-front of the parish office building on 17th Street.
I will bless the baby Jesus from your Nativity set while you remain in your car. We will also give you a home blessing kit so that you can bless your home at the beginning of the New Year. Again, this blessing will take place after the 11:30 Mass on Sunday December 20th in front of the rectory on 17th Street.
Finally, I want to thank all of those who have continued to support The Basilica financially during the pandemic. Your contributions to our Annual Fund allows us to offer the many programs, services, and ministries that are at the heart of our Basilica Community.
I also ask you, though, to start thinking now about your Christmas contribution to The Basilica. The Basilica, like all parishes, relies on its collections at Christmas and Easter to balance its budget. Your financial generosity at this time will be greatly appreciated.
Finally, as always, if you have questions or concerns about anything that is happening at the Basilica, please contact me at the parish office or send me an email. My contact information is available on our parish website.
We pray for your love and compassion to abound
as we walk through this challenging season.
We ask for wisdom for those who bear the load
of making decisions with widespread consequences.
We pray for those who are suffering with sickness
and all who are caring for them.
We ask for protection for the elderly and vulnerable
to not succumb to the risks of the virus.
We pray for misinformation to be curbed
that fear may take no hold in hearts and minds.
As we exercise the good sense that you in your mercy provide,
may we also approach each day in faith and peace,
trusting in the truth of your goodness towards us.
News and Resources
Being the second oldest of seven children, when I was growing up I spent a lot of time chauffeuring my younger brothers and sisters to various places for various activities. Since one of my grandmothers also did not drive, I often would have to drive her to various events and activities as well. Now I wish I could tell you my motives for being the family chauffeur were completely altruistic. The reality was, though, that it was simply the price I had to pay if I wanted to use the family car on weekends.
Now to be quite honest, chauffeuring my brothers and sisters around was no picnic. They were almost never ready to leave when they were supposed to be. There were often unplanned stops and/or detours on the way to our destination, and they were seldom ready and waiting when I arrived to pick them up. Worse, though, was that their gratitude was almost non-existent. Occasionally, I’d get a quick thank you, but those times were rare.
My grandmother, on the other hand, was different. She never failed to be ready when I stopped to pick her up and, in fact, was almost always waiting for me. This same thing was true when I returned to take her home from wherever she had been. Even in cold weather she would be standing either outside or close by the door waiting and watching for me so that I wouldn’t be kept waiting. And she never failed to express her gratitude to me.
My grandmother was truly an Advent kind of person. She knew how to be prepared and how to wait expectantly. Even when her timetable had to be adjusted, she never complained. I think she realized, perhaps better than most, that time spent waiting does not have to be wasted time. It can be used for quiet reflection or interior preparation. Waiting can be a time when anticipation grows and expectations develop. Or, as in my grandmother’s case, it could also be used for a decade or two of the rosary for some of her errant grandchildren.
Now I mention this today because in these waning days of the season of Advent, while the world around us seems to speed up and become busier than ever, this season calls us to slow down and wait—to wait in joyful hope and faith filled expectation. And even though we know what it is we are waiting and preparing for, there is (or should be) a sense of newness and excitement about it. For the great miracle of the Incarnation did not happen once long ago only to exist now as a pleasant memory. Rather, it is an ongoing event. God continues to touch the world with God’s grace and God’s love. At times, though, we can become so busy that this most basic fact of our existence can recede into the background, or worse, be forgotten altogether.
As modern day believers, we need to be reminded on a regular basis that the Incarnation—the Word becoming flesh—is a wondrous and ongoing miracle. My prayer during these last days of Advent is that we might use these days as a time of remembering, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting in joyful expectation, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, that we might welcome him with love and be open to his grace.