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I am a mom to two young children. Two beautiful children, ages 8 and 4, a boy and a girl. I became a mom not at all how I imagined or pictured for myself. After over two decades of waiting, longing, trying, and grief therapy, I finally opened myself up to the possibility of adoption. And within nine months of starting the adoption process, our son was placed in my arms. My husband and I were in the delivery room for both of our children’s births, and I had the privilege of cutting the umbilical cord for both of our children. I later reflected on how symbolic that necessary medical act was.

We keep open relationships with both of our children’s birth moms. Open can mean different things to various adoptive families. For us, it looks like this: They, along with their families, were at their baptisms and have never missed a birthday party. We have them over to our house every couple of months for visits. We send them school pictures, cards or facetime on holidays, and updates after well-child visits or school conferences. We let them know if they’ve been sick for a few days or have been diagnosed with something. In short, we try to keep them in the loop.

We here at The Basilica hope that you keep your faith family in the loop too when things are going on in your life. Sadly, we sometimes don’t know one of our parishioners has been in hospice or journeying with illness until death has come, or perhaps until death is very near. We always think what more we could have done had we known.

Fr. Daniel, Fr. Joe and I would like to encourage you to let someone here know when a life challenge presents itself—separation, divorce, financial hardship, health—so we can walk with you and perhaps offer prayer support or professional referrals. If you or your loved one have been diagnosed with a serious health issue, don’t keep us in the dark. We’d like to talk with you about various options for pastoral care.

One is the Sacrament of Anointing, a beautiful sacrament of healing that can be celebrated more than once. Long ago it was called Extreme Unction or Last Rites and reserved for the deathbed—but no more! It is now celebrated at the onset of a serious physical or mental health condition, before surgery, in old age, or when one desires healing and God’s grace through the Holy Spirit. A priest will lay hands on the person’s head and pray over them, and then anoint the person’s forehead and palms with the oil of the sick, a holy oil blessed by the bishop. Through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal and it is the whole church who commends those who are sick to Christ, our Healer. We have confidence that even if physical healing does not result, one’s suffering is united with Christ’s and the Holy Spirit gives that person gifts of strength, faith, peace, and courage for what lies ahead. This Sacrament can be requested individually when needed, or celebrated communally when offered at our Saturday evening Mass.

By knowing that you are ill and desiring of pastoral care, we can also talk with you about other forms of spiritual care: a blessed prayer shawl, a visit by the Threshold Singers when hospice begins—singing songs of peace and comfort, names included on the Prayer Line or Prayers of the Faithful, Eucharist brought by an Emmaus Homebound Communion Minister, or a trained listener to listen deeply to your varying emotions, questions, or stories through the Emmaus Listening Ministry.

Like my family whose world got much bigger because of open adoption, we are in charge but we don’t go it alone. May the same be true for any of you journeying with illness: you are in charge but you don’t have to go it alone. Bring your Basilica faith family along.

 

Wendy Cichanski Caduff
Coordinator of Caring Ministries
The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

 

 

Advent 2022: A Season of Longing and Listening

The Fourth Week of Advent: The Virgin Shall Conceive and Bear a Son!

 

The fourth Sunday of Advent is also known as Rorate Sunday. The name is derived from the Introit or opening chant for the Eucharist that day: Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum: aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem. This chant is based on Isaiah 45:8 and freely translates as Drop down dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain down the just one; let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior.”

This fervent prayer emphasizes that we are getting closer to Christmas and our prayer for the arrival of our Savior intensifies.

On Saturday, December 17 we start singing the so-called O-antiphons. These antiphons, all of which start with the exclamation “O” were sung during Vespers or Evening Prayer from December 17 through December 23. The popular Advent hymn, O Come Immanuel is based on these antiphons. Each one of these antiphons presents a poignant description of the Messiah we await:

 

December 17: O Sapientia…

O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!

 

December 18: O Adonai…

O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!

 

December 19: O Radix Jesse…

O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!

 

December 20: O Clavis David…

O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!

 

December 21: O Oriens…

O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness

and in the shadow of death.

December 22: O Rex Gentium…

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save us, whom you formed from the dust!

 

December 23: O Emmanuel…

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!

 

If you are not able to pray Vespers it may be good to simply meditate on each one of these antiphons as we continue our preparation for Christmas.

One custom we started a couple years ago was the handing out of Blessed Straw on Rorate Sunday. This is an old practice which originated in France and spread quickly throughout the continent. After setting up the empty manger at the beginning of Advent children were allowed to add one piece of straw for every good deed they did. Maybe they helped with extra chores, or they said an extra prayer, or they did something nice for their siblings. Whatever it was, every good deed gave them the opportunity to add a piece of straw to the manger.

That way, the children not only prepared the manger for the baby Jesus. More importantly, they prepared their heart for Christ.

So, on Sunday, please remember to pick up your bag of Blessed Straw at the end of Mass.

 

 

 

 

What to do in the Domestic Church:

 

Advent Wreath

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we light the fourth and last candle on the Advent wreath.

As I mentioned before, the origin of the Advent wreath is unclear. There is evidence of a pre-Christian custom of decorating a wheel with candles, while prayers were offered for the wheel of the earth to turn so that light and warmth would reappear. Christians then adopted this ritual and began to use it in domestic settings during the Middle Ages.

The wheel itself, a circle with neither beginning nor end, signifies eternal life. The evergreens, too, represent eternal life, with holly implying immortality, cedar expressing strength and healing, laurel touting victory over suffer­ing, and pinecones or nuts lauding life and resurrection. The four candles that were added to the wreath over time represent the four weeks of Advent.

 

A Blessing for the Lighting of the Third Candle

After someone in the family has lit the first and second candle on the Advent Wreath the prayer begins with the sign of the cross and continues as follows:

 

Leader:           Today we begin the fourth and last Week of Advent.

We open our hearts to God’s love

as we prepare to welcome Christ.

The candles of this wreath remind us that

Jesus Christ came to conquer the darkness of sin

and to lead us into his glorious light.

Let us pray that we may always be ready to welcome him.

 

Leader:           You came as the Child of Bethlehem

to gather the little and the lowly:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader:           You come as the Child of Mary

to be Emmanuel, God-with-us:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Priest:             You will come as the Son of Justice

                        to bring Creation to the fullness of its salvation:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader:           Let us pray:

                        Ever-living God, we praise you for this fragrant wheel of time

that marks our days of preparation

for the Advent of your Christ.

As we light the fourth and last candle of this wreath,

open our eyes to see your face,

open our ears to hear your voice,

open our hands to touch your presence in the lowly ones

of this earth.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

All:                  Amen.

 

The leader ends with the sign of the cross.

 

 

 

 

 

A Quick Glance at the Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent

 

From the First Reading: Isaiah 7:14

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

 

From the Second Reading: Romans 1: 5

Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name.

 

From the Gospel: Matthew 1:23

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means "God is with us."

 

This Week at The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

Sunday Eucharist

We will celebrate the sacrament of the sick during the 5:00pm Mass on Saturday, December 17.

 

During the 9:30m and 11:30am Masses December 18 we will have the annual blessing of Blessed straw to be used in your nativity at home. The straw will be available at all Masses.

 

Sunday Vespers:

On Sunday afternoon we gather in the choir stalls at 3:00pm to celebrate Vespers. This form of prayer is perfect for the season as it begins with a silent procession in the dark, followed by a lighting of individual candles. We sing beautiful psalms, listen to Sacred Scripture, and pray for the needs of the world.  We end Vespers with a prayer to the Blessed Mother who is so central to the Seasons of Advent and Christmas.

Sunday Vespers is Livestreamed.

 

Weekday Eucharist

We celebrate Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel, Monday through Friday at 7:00am and at Noon. The noon Mass is livestreamed.

 

Morning Prayer:

On Tuesday and Wednesday we gather in the Basilica Choir Stalls at 9:15am for the celebration of Morning Prayer. This is a simple but beautiful way to begin your day.

 

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

A priest is available in the St. Joseph Chapel for the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation each Saturday between 9:00-10:00am.

 

Exhibits

As we advance in the Advent Season more and more of the crèches or Nativity Scenes from our Basilica collection will be on exhibit in The Basilica and in the Undercroft.

Also, every day of Advent and Christmas we have a Facebook post that highlights one of the nativities in my personal collection.

 

And please remember to be pace yourself!

Advent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. Rather, Advent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. So please pace yourselves. Give yourself and others the necessary space. And above all be patient.

 

 

 

Immanuel “God with us”

 

 

Full Christmas schedule at www.mary.org/christmas

 

 

Celebrate Christmas at The Basilica 

The historic Church will be beautifully decorated with evergreen trees and poinsettias. The music, liturgy, and community create a special Christmas experience for all. 

 

Eve of the Birth of the Lord

Saturday, December 24

2:00pm     Vigil Eucharist*                          Archbishop Bernard Hebda with children’s choirs, cantor, organ
5:00pm     Vigil Eucharist*                          Mundus & Juventus ensembles, music from around the world
7:30pm     Vigil Eucharist                           piano, cantor, violin, trumpet
10:30pm   Prelude Music for Christmas     organ, harp, flute
11:00pm   Choral Music for Christmas       Cathedral Choir, organ, harp & flute
11:30pm   Vigil of Lights                            Cathedral Choir, organ
Midnight   Solemn Eucharist*                     Cathedral Choir, brass, harp, organ

 

The Birth of the Lord

Sunday, December 25

7:30am     Eucharist at dawn                      cantor, organ, violin
9:30am     Solemn Eucharist*                      Cathedral Choir, brass, strings, organ      
11:30am   Solemn Eucharist                       Cathedral Choir, brass, strings, organ      
5:00pm     Eucharist                                    music from around the world

 

Make a special gift to The Basilica this Christmas.

 

*ASL Interpreted/Livestream

Parking and Tips

 

 

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.

 

 

Christmas Schedule

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
5:00pm Eucharist

 

* livestreamed liturgies

 

 

Advent 2022: A Season of Longing and Listening

The Third Week of Advent: Lord, Come and Save US!

 

The third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday. The name is derived from the Introit or opening chant for the Eucharist that day which starts as follows: Gaudete in Domino semper or Rejoice in the Lord always.

Gaudete Sunday marks the half-way point in our Advent journey. We have two weeks behind us and two weeks ahead of us. Depending on what day of the week December 25 falls the fourth week is not always a complete week. This year, because Christmas fall on a Sunday, we have a full fourth week on Advent. Next year, we will have the shortest possible fourth week of Advent as Christmas Eve falls on the fourth Sunday of Advent. So, on December 24, 2023 the morning Masses will be for the Fourth Sunday of Advent while the afternoon Masses will be for Christmas Eve.

The liturgical color for Gaudete Sunday is rose. This color is worn only twice during the liturgical year: Gaudete Sunday which mark the middle of Advent, and Laetare Sunday which marks the middle of Lent.

On Gaudete Sunday, we invite you to bring the baby Jesus from your home nativity to 9:30am and 11:30am Eucharist for a blessing. The children of Rome bring their baby Jesus to St. Peter’s Square on Gaudete Sunday for what is known as the Blessing of the Bambinelli by the Pope. It was St. Pope Paul VI who started this custom in 1969. Every pope since then has continued this blessing. Our blessing at The Basilica is based on this blessing in Rome.

 

What to do in the Domestic Church:

 

Advent Wreath

On the Third Sunday of Advent, we light the third candle on the Advent wreath.

As I mentioned last week, the origin of the Advent wreath is unclear. There is evidence of a pre-Christian custom of decorating a wheel with candles, while prayers were offered for the wheel of the earth to turn so that light and warmth would reappear. Christians then adopted this ritual and began to use it in domestic settings during the Middle Ages.

The wheel itself, a circle with neither beginning nor end, signifies eternal life. The evergreens, too, represent eternal life, with holly implying immortality, cedar expressing strength and healing, laurel touting victory over suffer­ing, and pinecones or nuts lauding life and resurrection. The four candles that were added to the wreath over time represent the four weeks of Advent.

 

A Blessing for the Lighting of the Third Candle

After someone in the family has lit the first and second candle on the Advent Wreath the prayer begins with the sign of the cross and continues as follows:

 

Leader:           Today we begin the third Week of Advent.

We open our hearts to God’s love

as we prepare to welcome Christ.

The candles of this wreath remind us that

Jesus Christ came to conquer the darkness of sin

and to lead us into his glorious light.

Let us pray that we may always be ready to welcome him.

 

Leader:           You came to free us from anxiety

and to fill our minds and hearts with peace:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader:           You come to baptize us in the Holy Spirit

and to kindle within us the fire of your love:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Priest:             You will come as the God of Joy

                        who takes delight in your people:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader:           Let us pray:

Ever-living God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ,

whose advent we await.

As we light the third candle of this wreath,

kindle within us the fire of your spirit,

strengthen our hearts and enlighten us with your grace,

that we may serve you all the days of our lives.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.

All:                  Amen.

 

The leader ends with the sign of the cross.

 

A Quick Glance at the Readings for the Second Sunday of Lent

 

From the First Reading: Isaiah 35:1-2

The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.

 

From the Second Reading: James 15: 7, 9

Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.

 

From the Gospel: Matthew 11:3

"Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?"

 

This Week at The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

Sunday Eucharist

During the 9:30m and 11:30am Masses this Sunday we will have the annual Blessing of the Bambinelli. Please remember to bring your Bambinelli to Church.

 

During the 5:00pm Mass we will honor Our Lady of Guadalupe as it is the eve of her feast. The Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Dale Korogi in Spanish and English. Traditional Aztec Dancers will start dancing on The Basilica Plaza at 3:30pm. Music for the Mass will be provided by La Familia Torres-Peña. A Fiesta in Teresa of Calcutta Hall will follow the Mass.

 

Sunday Vespers:

On Sunday afternoon we gather in the choir stalls at 3:00pm to celebrate Vespers. This form of prayer is perfect for the season as it begins with a silent procession in the dark, followed by a lighting of individual candles. We sing beautiful psalms, listen to Sacred Scripture, and pray for the needs of the world.  We end Vespers with a prayer to the Blessed Mother who is so central to the Seasons of Advent and Christmas.

Sunday Vespers is Livestreamed.

 

Weekday Eucharist

We celebrate Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel, Monday through Friday at 7:00am and at Noon. The noon Mass is livestreamed.

 

Morning Prayer:

On Tuesday and Wednesday we gather in the Basilica Choir Stalls at 9:15am for the celebration of Morning Prayer. This is a simple but beautiful way to begin your day.

 

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

A priest is available in the St. Joseph Chapel for the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation each Saturday between 9:00-10:00am. Please mark your calendars for

 

Taizé Prayer with the Sacrament of Reconciliation

On Tuesday, December 13, at 5:30pm we will celebrate Taizé Prayer in The Basilica. This is a very meditative form of prayer marked by short phrases that are sung over and over again.

During the service we will have several priests available for individual celebrations of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

This is a great way to prepare for a worthy celebration of Christmas.

 

Exhibits

As we advance in the Advent Season more and more of the créches or Nativity Scenes from our Basilica collection will be on exhibit in The Basilica and in the Undercroft.

Also, every day of Advent and Christmas we have a Facebook post that highlights one of the nativities in my personal collection.

 

Concerts

This week, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Singers, and soloists will perform  Handel’s Messiah in The Basilica on Thursday, December 15 at 7:30pm and on Friday, December 16 at 8:00pm. For tickets, please go to https://content.thespco.org/events/holiday-concerts-handels-messiah-2223/

 

And please remember to be pace yourself!

Advent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. Rather, Advent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. So please pace yourselves. Give yourself and others the necessary space. And above all be patient.

 

The Basilica of Saint Mary along with its sister parish Ascension Catholic Church will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on Sunday, December 11, 2022.
 
The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe brings the Basilica’s vibrant multi-cultural community together to celebrate with music, dance, and liturgy. 
 
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Schedule: 
 
Sunday, December 11, 2022
3:30pm: Traditional Aztec dancers on the Basilica plaza with procession into the Church
5:00pm: Bilingual Mass with music by La Familia Torres-Peña
6:00pm: Fiesta in the Basilica’s lower level, Teresa of Calcutta Hall
 
December 12th marks the feast day of the Virgin Mary, or Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of the Americas who appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico City in 1531.
 
 

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