Johan's Blog

Christmas Season 2022-2023: God is with us!

The Epiphany of Our Lord!

 

The word Epiphany is the English transliteration of the Greek word Epiphaneia, which means appearance, revelation, or manifestation. Originally, this feast, which is celebrated on January 6 marked the Birth of Jesus. It was not till the middle of the 4th C. that Christmas began to be celebrated on December 25. When that happened, the feast of the Epiphany changed focus to the Baptism of the Lord in the East and the visitation by the Magi in the West. 

Today, the churches of the West celebrate the Solemnity of the Epiphany as the culmination and the climax of the Incarnation Cycle.  On this day we celebrate the recognition of the baby born in Bethlehem as the Son of God.  After the shepherds, the Magi are the first to encounter Jesus and reveal him as the King of Kings

A cultural setback to the success of this feast is that the people experience Christmas day as the highlight of the season and once this day is passed, the season is over.  In liturgical terms, however, the season of Christmas begins on December 25 and culminates with the solemnity of the Epiphany.

 

What to do in the Domestic Church:

 

The traditional Epiphany Blessing and Chalking of the Door:

 

Epiphany is the time when people are invited to bless their homes and to chalk the door. This is done to remind ourselves that all of us belong to Christ, whether we are away or at home. It also invites us to be welcoming to all and to open our homes and hearts to all those who enter just as Christ did.

 

As part of this blessing the lintel above the front door is chalked with the following: 20 + C + M + B + 23. The 20 and 23 refer to the year 2023. The letters C M B are the initials of the names traditionally given the three Magi: Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. They are also the first letters of the Latin words: Christus Mansionem Benedicat or May Christ bless this house.

 

 

The Blessing begins with someone using blessed chalk to write the traditional 20 + C + M + B + 23 on the lintel above the door.

 

Then everyone present enters the home and the leader begins with the sign of the cross. The leader then continues as follows:

 

Leader:                 Let us praise God, who fills our hearts and homes with peace.
Blessed be God forever.

All:                         Blessed be God forever.

 

Leader:                 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling place among us.

                              It is Christ who enlightens our hearts and homes with his love.

                              May all who enter this home find Christ’s light and love.

 

Leader:                The Son of God made his home among us.

                              With thanks and praise let us call upon him saying:
All:                        Stay with us, Lord.
 

Leader:                Lord Jesus Christ,

                              with Mary and Joseph, you formed the Holy Family:

                              remain in our home,

that we may know you as our guest and honor you as our Head.
We pray:

All:                        Stay with us, Lord.
 

Leader:                Lord Jesus Christ,

                              you had no place to lay your head,

                              but in the spirit of poverty accepted the hospitality of your friends:

                              grant that through our help

unhoused people may obtain proper housing.
We pray:

All:                        Stay with us, Lord.
 

Leader:                 Lord Jesus Christ,

                              the Magi presented their gifts to you in praise and adoration:

                              grant that those living in this house

may use their talents and abilities to your glory

and the betterment of society.
We pray:

All:                        Stay with us, Lord.
 

 

After the intercessions the leader invites all present to say the Lord’s Prayer.
 

Leader:                 Lord God of heaven and earth,
you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation
by the guidance of a star.
Bless this house
and all who inhabit it.
Fill them (us) with the light of Christ,
that their (our) concern for others may reflect your love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R/. Amen.

 

The leader then sprinkles the home with Holy Water.

 

Leader:                 May Christ Jesus dwell with us,
keep us from all harm,
and make us one in mind and heart,
now and forever.

All:                        Amen.

 

Everyone ends with the sign of the cross.

 

A Quick Glance at the Readings for the Solemnity of Epiphany of Our Lord for your personal reflection

 

From the First Reading: Isaiah 60: 1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.

 

From the Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6

the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

 

From the Gospel: Matthew 2: 1-12

They were overjoyed at seeing the star, 
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.

 

This Week at The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

Sunday Eucharist

We will have the usual schedule of Masses:

Saturday: 5:00pm

Sunday: 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 5:00pm

Please remember to pick up your home blessing kit after Mass.

 

Sunday Vespers:

On Sunday, January 8 at 3:00pm The Basilica Schola Cantorum will sing Vespers for the Solemnity of the Epiphany in The Basilica Choir Stalls.

 

We livestream Sunday Vespers.

 

The next Vespers will be on the first Sunday of Lent, February 26.

 

Monday de-greening of The Basilica:

Please join other members of our Basilica community as we transition The Basilica from Christmas to Ordinary Time. We will gather in The Basilica at 8:30am on Monday, January 9.

 

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 Thursday 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

 

Exhibits

Please be sure to visit The Basilica’s principal Nativity behind the high altar as well as a selection of nativities from The Basilica collection which you can find in The Basilica as well as in the undercroft.

 

Concerts:

January 21, 2023, at 7:00pm: Luminous Night of the Soul will be performed by The Basilica cathedral Choir directed by Teri Larson, together with instrumentalists from St. Thomas University.

 

And please remember that Christmas is not a day but a season!

The world around us wants us to start celebrating Christmas too soon and wants us to stop celebrating too soon. The proper celebration of Christmas does not start until the Eve of December 24 and does not end till Baptism of the Lord. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I, for one will continue to enjoy my Christmas tree and many nativities at home and I will listen to Christmas Carols till January 9.

baldacchino Mary

Mother of the Church

On January 1, the Octave or eighth day of Christmas we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. This feast which can be traced back at least to the 7th C. was replaced by the Feast of the Solemnity of the Circumcision of Christ in the 13th C. Saint Pope Paul VI replaced the Feast of the Solemnity of the Circumcision of Christ with the more ancient feast of Mary, Mother of God.

Mary is known by many titles often evoking her role in Salvation history such as Queen of Heaven, her virtues such as Mother of Good Counsel, or referencing her apparitions such as Our Lady of Guadalupe. The oldest and most foundational title for Mary is Μητερ or Mother as found in Scripture. The oldest theological title is that of Θεοτοκος (Theotokos), Bearer of God or Mother of God.

Although the latter title is very common and perfectly accepted today it was not so from the beginning. This title likely was first used around the year 200 and became widely accepted by about the year 300, give or take some decades. At first, it seems to have been used for its poetic beauty without giving much thought to its theological implications. But as the title became more popular its theological significance was carefully studied and discussed.

In essence, two opposing positions developed. The first argued in favor of the title insisting that in Jesus, God became human thus Mary became the Mother of God. The opposing position disputed the title arguing that God who is eternal could not be born and thus the title of Mother of God made no sense.

Trying to reconcile both camps Archbishop Nestorius who became the Patriarch of Constantinople in 428 offered an alternative. Rather than Θεοτοκος (Theotokos) he suggested the use of the title of Χριστοτόκος (Christotokos) or Christ bearer, Mother of Christ.

The matter was discussed at the Council of Ephesus which Emperor Theodosius II called in 431 at the insistence of Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria and Pope Celestine of Rome. The Council affirmed the title of Theotokos, condemned and deposed Nestorius as Patriarch of Constantinople and sent him into exile. And ever since, Mary has been known as the Mother of God.

Since those early theological debates, Mary has been honored with many other titles. Just think of her titles in The Litany of the Virgin Mary, also known as the Litany of Loretto. This Litany was officially approved by Pope Sixtus V but predates this official recognition. Since its inception more titles have been added by successive popes, even until today. Since becoming Pope, Pope Francis has added three new titles to the Litany of Loretto: “Mater Misericordiae” or Mother of Mercy; “Mater Spei” or Mother of Hope; and “Solacium Imigrantium” or Solace of Migrants.

These many titles honor Mary and all her many virtues but the one title that is the foundation for them all is undoubtedly the title of Theotokos.

Mary, Mother of God, and Mother of the Church, pray for us.

 

 

 

Christmas Season 2022-2023: God is with us!

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God!

 

The Christmas Season begins on the evening of December 24 and runs through Monday, January 9, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

On January 1, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Because January 1 falls on a Sunday, The Feast of the Holy Family which is usually celebrated on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year will be celebrated on Friday, December 30.

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is usually celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany but when Epiphany falls on January 7 or 8. Baptism of the Lord is celebrated the next day, which is Monday, January 9 this year.

This year, the Christmas season ends on January 9, 2023.

 

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Mary is known by many titles often evoking her role in Salvation history such as Queen of Heaven; celebrating her virtues such as Mother of Good Counsel; or referencing her apparitions such as Our Lady of Guadalupe. The oldest and most foundational title for Mary is Μητερ or Mother as found in Scripture. The oldest theological title is that of Θεοτοκος (Theotokos), Bearer of God or Mother of God.

Although the latter title is very common and perfectly accepted today it was not so from the beginning. This title likely was first used around the year 200 and became widely accepted by about the year 300, give or take some decades. At first, it seems to have been used for its poetic beauty without giving much thought to its theological implications. But as the title became more popular its theological significance was carefully studied and discussed.

Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390) famously wrote: “…if anyone does not agree that Holy Mary is the Mother of God, he is at odds with the Godhead.” This affirmation belies the fact that not everyone accepted the title of Theotokos.

To settle the matter Emperor Theodosius II called the Council of Ephesus in 431 at the insistence of Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria and Pope Celestine of Rome. The Council solemnly affirmed the title of Theotokos, and ever since, Mary has been known as the Mother of God. 

 

What to do in the Domestic Church:

 

The oldest known prayer to Mary:

 

Although we are all most familiar with the Hail Mary and the Rosary, the oldest known prayer to the Blessed Mother is known by it’s Latin title as Sub tuum praesidium. The prayer is believed to have originated in Egypt in the third Century.

 

It would be very fitting to pray this prayer at home on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

 

To your protection we flee, O Theotokos,

do not despise our prayers in our need,

but deliver us from all dangers,

Glorious and blessed Virgin.

   (3rd C. Egypt)

 

 

A Quick Glance at the Readings for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God for your personal reflection

 

From the First Reading: Numbers 6:22-27

The LORD bless you and keep you!  
The LORD let his face shine upon you,

and be gracious to you! 

 

From the Second Reading: Galatians 4: 4-7

You are no longer a slave but a child [of God],  
and if a child [of God] then also an heir, through God.

 

From the Gospel: Luke 2: 16-21

And Mary kept all these things,  
reflecting on them in her heart.

 

This Week at The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

Sunday Eucharist

We will have the usual schedule of Masses on the weekend of December 31 and January 1.

Saturday: 5:00pm

Sunday: 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 5:00pm

 

Sunday Vespers:

On Sunday, January 1 at 3:00pm Mirandola will sing Gregorian Vespers for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in The Basilica Choir Stalls.

 

On Sunday, January 8 at 3:00pm The Basilica Schola Cantorum will sing Vespers for the Solemnity of the Epiphany in The Basilica Choir Stalls.

 

We livestream Sunday Vespers.

 

The next Vespers will be on the first Sunday of Lent, February 26.

 

Weekday Eucharist

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

 

Please note that on Monday, January 2 we will only have a 7:00am Mass. The Basilica offices will be closed.

 

Morning Prayer:

On Thursday 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

 

Exhibits

Please be sure to visit The Basilica’s principle Nativity behind the high altar as well as a selection of nativities from The Basilica collection which you can find in The Basilica as well as in the undercroft.

 

And please remember that Christmas is not a day but a season!

The world around us wants us to start celebrating Christmas to soon and wants us to stop celebrating too soon. The proper celebration of Christmas does not start until the Eve of December 24 and does not end till Baptism of the Lord. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I, for one will continue to enjoy my Christmas tree and many nativities at home and will listen to Christmas Carols till January 9.

 

Christmas Season 2022-2023: God is with us!

Christmas: The Word was made flesh!

 

The Christmas Season begins on the evening of December 24 and runs through Monday, January 9, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Because January 1 falls on a Sunday, The Feast of the Holy Family which is usually celebrated on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year will be celebrated on Friday, December 30. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is usually celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany but because Epiphany is so late in January (January 7 or 8) Baptism of the Lord will be celebrated on Monday, January 9.

 

What to do in the Domestic Church:

 

The Manger

Already by the 5th C. the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome featured a chapel with a representation of the scene of Jesus’ birth as described in the Gospels and visualized by artists. It was not until the 12th C. when Saint Francis promoted the use of the manger that its popularity grew dramatically. From the 12thC. on crib-making became widespread throughout Europe.

 

Today, Christmas scenes known as mangers or crèches, are displayed in churches and homes throughout the world. In most cases these crèches beautifully reflect the race and ethnicity of the people who created them.

 

The Christmas Tree

The earliest reports of decorated trees date back to ancient Roman times when small trees were decorated with pieces of polished metal during the winter festival of Saturnalia to honor Saturn, the god of agriculture. During the Middle Ages, Adam and Eve were commemorated with mystical plays on December 24 and an evergreen was decorated with apples to symbolize the tree of Paradise. In Germany this tree came to be know as Christbaum or Christ tree which eventually became the Christmas tree. By the nineteenth century the Christmas tree had become ubiquitous in the Western Hemisphere.

 

Whether it is placed outside or inside the church, a Christmas tree is a wonderful symbol of the tree of life, the tree of paradise. It brings joy to people’s hearts as they indulge in feelings of nostalgia from childhood memories. At the same time, it invites people to look toward the fu­ture when the promise of eternal life will be fulfilled.

 

 

A Blessing of your Manger

The leader begins with the sign of the cross.

 

 

As we celebrate the birth of Christ, we pause to bless this manger.

The practice of erecting mangers was encouraged by St. Francis as a way to draw attention to the message of Christmas.

 

 

 

A Quick Glance at the Gospel Readings for Christmas

There are four different sets of readings for the celebration of Christmas. We have a set of readings for Mass on Christmas Eve, Mass during the night, Mass at Dawn on Christmas Day and Mass during Christmas Day.

 

The Gospel for Mass on Christmas Eve: Matthew 1: 18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.

 

The Gospel for Mass during the Night: Luke 2: 1-4

While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child, 
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, 
because there was no room for them in the inn.

 

The Gospel for Mass at dawn on Christmas Day: Luke 2: 15-20

Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God 
for all they had heard and seen, 
just as it had been told to them.

 

The Gospel for Mass during the day on Christmas: John 1: 1-18

And the Word became flesh

and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

 

This Week at The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

 

Saturday, december 24

2:00pm:*         Vigil Eucharist 

Organ, Cantor, Cathedral Choristers, Children’s Choir and Cherubs

5:00pm:*         Vigil Eucharist 

Mundus & Juventus                                      

7:30pm:          Vigil Eucharist  

Piano, Cantor, Violin, Trumpet

10:30pm:        Prelude Music for Christmas

Organ, Harp, Flute

11:00pm:        Choral Music for Christmas

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ, Harp, Flute                                                                           

11:30pm         Vigil of Lights 

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ

Midnight:*       Solemn Eucharist 

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ, Brass, Harp 

 

Sunday, december 25

7:30am           Eucharist at Dawn  

                        Organ, Cantor, Violin, Soprano Soloist

9:30am:*         Solemn Eucharist    

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ, Brass, Strings 

11:30am:        Solemn Eucharist    

The Basilica Cathedral Choir, Organ, Brass, Strings 

5:00pm:          Eucharist                   

Christmas music from around the world

Sunday Vespers:

 

There will be no Vespers on Christmas Day.

On Sunday, January 1, the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God Mirandola will sing Gregorian Vespers at 3:00pm.

On Sunday, January 8, the Solemnity of the Epiphany The Basilica Schola Cantorum will sing Vespers at 3:00pm.

 

Weekday Eucharist

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

Please note that there will be no Masses on December 26 as The Basilica will be closed.

 

Morning Prayer:

On Thursdays 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

The Nativity Scenes from our Basilica collection are now on exhibit in The Basilica and in the Undercroft.

We will continue to post one of the nativities in my personal collection on Facebook throughout the Christmas Season.

 

And please remember to be pace yourself!

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

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

Crèche Collection mexico web banner

Mornings at the Manger

This Advent, spend Mornings at the Manger as Dr. Johan van Parys, Director of Liturgy and Sacred Arts, tells us about various nativities in his personal collection from around the world.

 

December 9

Holy Family created by the Adianto Ceramics Workshop in Cumbaya, Ecuador. Mary and Joseph wear traditional Ecuadorian clothing. The pieces are created out of rolled sheets of clay to which such details as clothing, ears, hair, and coats are added. After the clay have semi-dried additional details are carved into the figures. Then the figures are fired in a kiln. Finally the artisans paint the figures.

 

Holy Family created by the Adianto Ceramics Workshop

 

 

December 8
Stylized and semi-abstract Holy Family. Nevertheless, the devotion of Mary; the protection of Joseph and the sweetness of Jesus are clearly conveyed.
The work is signed by Jorge Monares of Santiago, Chile. Jorge learned the copper trade working in his father’s workshop starting in 1976. He works together with his wife to make decorative work such as nativities, jewelry as well as utilitarian pieces like pots. They use the traditional colonial forging technique which is characterized by only using fire and a hammer as their tools.

 

Stylized and semi-abstract Holy Family

 

December 7
Charming nativity scene from Guatemala.  Jose Canil Ramos carved each figurine by hand from pinewood which he weathers and dries during the summer months. The characters’ florid orange robes and purple cloaks are painted by hand, including their smiling faces. Featuring nine pieces, this nativity scene preserves a tradition that was brought to Guatemala in 1649. Jose Canil Ramos was born on May 25, 1981, in Chichicastenango. He learned his craft from his father who used to carve masks and saints to sell at the Chichi market. Jose now shares a workshop with his mother.

 

nativity scene from Guatemala

 

 

 

 

December 6
Playful Brazilian presépio, or nativity, which has 19 painted clay pieces.
Two pieces are of note are the cactus and the rooster. The rooster refers to the legend that a rooster was present in the stable where Jesus was born. Immediately after Jesus’ birth the rooster started to crow, thus announcing the divine birth to the world. The Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is known as the “Mass of the Rooster” in Brasil and other countries, such as Spain and Bolivia. One cannot but make an additional connection with the rooster that crowed three times as Peter denied Jesus. The cactus is a great example of inculturation. As each culture started to depict the nativity they added elements borrowed from their own experience.
 
 
playful Brazilian presépio nativity
 
 
 
December 5
Colorful nativity from Nicaragua, which is carved from cedar wood and then painted with unique floral motives. Of note is that the Christ child, rather than lying in a manger, the child is placed on a pineapple. The symbolic meaning of a pineapple is welcome, generosity and hospitality.
 
colorful nativity from Nicaragua
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Advent 2022: A Season of Longing and Listening

The Second Week of Advent: Prepare the Way of the Lord!

 

The English word Advent comes from the Latin Adventus Domini, meaning the Coming of the Lord. Most of us understand this to mean Jesus’ presence with us at Christmas as we commemorate and celebrate his birth. The full meaning of Adventus Domini, however embraces Jesus’ birth some 2000 years ago; his presence with us today as well as his return at the end of time. Advent thus becomes a time of preparation not only for the celebration of Jesus’ birth 2000 years ago. It also is a time when we become more aware of Jesus’ presence in our lives today. And it is a time of  preparation for his Second Coming at the end of time.

As Christians we believe that Christ’s return in Glory will complete the Messianic Times. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied some 2700 years ago that this will be a time when “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks;” when “the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;” when “there shall be no more ruin on all my holy Mountain;” when “the steppe and the parched land…will bloom with abundant flowers.”

During Advent we are invited to dream of Isaiah’s perfect world without diseases, disasters, and death; a world where all God’s children and all of creation exist together in perfect harmony. The Season of Advent also moves us to act and invites us to help in bringing about that harmonious world.

So, let’s sing Maranatha, Come, Lord Jesus with full voice and let’s act in ways that will hasten the arrival of that perfect and peaceful world.

 

What to do in the Domestic Church:

 

Advent Wreath

On the second Sunday of Advent, we light the second 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 Second 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 second 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 herald of the good tidings of God’s salvation:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader:           You come to bring forth in us

                        a rich harvest of justice and peace:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Priest:             You will come to bring to completion

                        the good work you have begun in us:

                        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 second candle of this wreath,

kindle within us the fire of your spirit,

that we may be light shining in darkness.

Enlighten us with your grace,

that we may welcome others as you have welcomed us.

We ask this through the same Christ our Lord

whose coming is certain and whose day draws near.

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 11:1-3

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.

 

From the Second Reading: Romans 15: 5-6

May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to think in harmony with one another,
in keeping with Christ Jesus,
that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

From the Gospel: Matthew 3:1-3

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

 

The Advent Calendar

Last Sunday, having read my first Advent Aid, someone mentioned that behind the door for each day in their calendar they hide one of the figurines of their nativity. Each day they place one more figurine in their nativity scene ending on the 25th of December with the Christ child. Other calendars have a Bible verse hidden behind the little door or maybe a suggestion for a good deed.

Advent Calendars allow children and adults alike to keep up with the progression of Advent and countdown to Christmas as they open one little door each day.

 

This Week at The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

Sunday Eucharist

You will notice that the rituals are somewhat different and that the tone of the liturgy is one of deep longing for Christ’s presence in our midst. We celebrate Sunday Eucharist on Saturday at 5:00pm and on Sunday at 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, and 5:00pm.

We will continue to livestream the 9:30am Sunday Eucharist.

 

Sunday Vespers:

On Sundays 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 Tuesday, December 13 at 5:30pm we will celebrate Taizé Prayer with the option to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

 

Exhibits

As we advance in the Advent Season more and more of the creches 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 Saturday, December 3 at 2:00pm, Minnesota Sinfonia will bring their annual Family Holiday Concert to The Basilica. This concert is free and open to the public.

Look for more information on our website.

 

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.

 

My early years in Minneapolis were not always easy as I greatly missed my family in Belgium and my friends at Notre Dame. Christmas time was particularly difficult. I was very glad that my late parents came to Minneapolis for my first Christmas here in 1995 and my dear friend, the late Fr. André Laurier joined me in 1998. My parents had the pleasure of lots of cold and snow which they had not experienced before. And Fr. André taught me an important lesson which I treasure to this day.

André arrived the Friday before Christmas. On Saturday, we spent the day decorating the Christmas tree. It was a lovely robust and fragrant blue spruce. Carefully unpacking each ornament, I told its story. Many stories resonated with André as he knew the Belgian people and places I was talking about. When we were all finished, we went into the kitchen to prepare dinner. From the kitchen, a terrific noise called us back to the living room where we found the tree on the floor surrounded by shattered glass.  André quietly cleaned up, carefully gathering the surviving ornaments while collecting the pieces of those that shattered. I was very upset. Those Christmas ornaments were a tangible reminder of so many cherished memories and of so much love. I excused myself and spent some quiet time in my room.  When I finally re-emerged, I found the tree back in place, the surviving ornaments ready to be hung, and the table set for dinner. We had a quiet dinner that night and we talked of all things Belgian.

The next day, when I returned home from Sunday liturgies, I found the tree decorated with the surviving ornaments and some new ones ready to be hung. Cleverly, André had bought some clear glass ornaments which he filled with the remnants of the broken ornaments. 

Later that day, as we sat down to admire the tree, André mused that perhaps the many memories  had proven too much for the tree and that maybe it was time to let go of some old memories in order to make room for new ones.“ It is not that you have to let go completely” he said, “you can hold on to bits and pieces, but you need to make room for more.” And so, I did! I let go of the old and I welcomed the new.

The season of Advent invites us to let go of all that we unnecessarily cling to, to take stock of our spiritual life, and to approach the future with joy and anticipation, discovering the potential for beauty in that which seems broken, unimportant or insignificant.

Our world often seems on the brink of collapse with relentless wars; global warming; divisive rhetoric; fear mongering… There is so much brokenness and such division. Yet, as Christians we are called to continue to see the potential for beauty and to work toward it. After all, God did not come to us as an imperial ruler but rather as a vulnerable baby. He was not born in a palace but in a stable to a family on the move. He did not live in Rome but in a small country occupied by the Romans.

In the words of Pope Francis given at the Mass for the sixth World Day of the Poor on November 13: “a disciple of the Lord should not yield to resignation or give in to discouragement, even in the most difficult situations, for our God is the God of resurrection and hope, who always raises up. With Him we can lift up our gaze and begin anew.”

I am looking forward to preparing my home for Christmas, this year. It will again be adorned with many ornaments. Some of them are old, reminding me of my family in Belgium, but most of them are new, bearing the memories of my travels, my friends, and my Basilica life. And, still to this day, I treasure the clear glass ornaments filled with the bits and pieces of old and treasured memories for they continue to teach me to let go and to look for the potential of beauty even in the most broken times and places.

This Advent, rather than resigning ourselves or losing hope, let us look for the potential of all that is beautiful and good in the brokenness of our world and our hearts and thus help to build the world which God has imagined for us.

 

Advent 2022: A Season of Longing and Listening

The First Week of Advent: Let us Walk in the Light of the Lord!

 

Last Sunday, the liturgical year ended with the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King. During his homily given in the Cathedral of Asti, Italy, Pope Francis challenged the image of Jesus this solemnity evokes. Too often, he said we depict and imagine Christ as a worldly king, and “what comes to mind is a powerful man seated on a throne with magnificent insignia, a scepter in his hand and precious rings on his fingers, speaking in solemn tones to his subjects.” Yet, the truth about Jesus is that he was exactly the opposite. He was not born in a palace but rather in a stable or a cave. He was not born in Rome but rather in one of the poorest outskirts of the Roman Empire. He did not seek the company of princes but rather surrounded himself with sinners and the sick, widows and those wanting, fishermen and carpenters. And he surely never sat on an earthly throne or wore a crown made of gold. His throne was the cross on which he died. His crown was not made of gold but of thorns.

During Advent we meditate on this great mystery of God choosing to come to us not as a king but a baby born in a stable to a humble family so he might show us the true path to salvation. And that path did not involve thrones and crowns and scepters but rather a stable, a manger and a cross.

Advent is a time of deep listening to our most inner being; to one another, and above all to the voice of God. Advent is also a time of intense longing that world God imagined for us, free pf war and violence, suffering and pain. Listening and longing both require time and space, admittedly a challenge especially during Advent. Please allow yourself that much needed time and space to prepare for the Coming of our Lord.

 

What to do in the Domestic Church:

 

Advent Wreath

Today, many churches and homes are decorated with and advent wreath. 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.

Since the use of the Advent wreath originated in the homes of Christians, we invite you to continue this custom. Advent wreaths can be easily constructed. The candle for each week is lit and blessed in the evening of the Saturdays or Sundays of Advent.

 

A Blessing for the Lighting of the First Candle

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

Leader: Brothers and sisters,

               today we begin the season of Advent.

               Let us 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 lead us into his glorious light.

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

 

Leader: You came to turn the hearts of all to love of God and neighbor:

                 Lord, come and save us.

All:         Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader: You come to enrich us with gifts of grace and knowledge:

                 Lord, come and save us.

All:         Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader: You will come on a day we cannot know

                bringing redemption to all your faithful:

                 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 first candle of this wreath,

               rouse us from sleep that we may be ready to greet him

               when he comes with all the angels and saints.

               Enlighten us with your grace,

               and prepare our hearts to welcome him with joy.

               We ask this through the same Christ our Lord.

All:         Amen.

The leader ends with the sign of the cross.

 

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

From the First Reading: Isaiah 2:4

They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.

 

From the Second Reading: Romans 13: 12

The night is advanced, the day is at hand.

Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light

 

From the Gospel: Matthew 24: 42

Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

 

The Advent Calendar

            Printed Advent calendars originated in Germany at the Beginning of the 20th C. It is believed that US soldiers who returned from Europe after the war brought them back for their children.

Advent Calendars allow children to keep up with the progression of Advent and countdown to Christmas as they open one little door each day. The better calendars have a Bible verse hidden behind the little door or maybe a suggestion for a good deed.

 

At The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

Sunday Eucharist

You will notice that the rituals are somewhat different and that the tone of the liturgy is one of deep longing for Christ’s presence in our midst. We celebrate Sunday Eucharist on Saturday at 5:00pm and on Sunday at 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, and 5:00pm.

 

Weekday Eucharist

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

 

Morning Prayer:

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

 

Sunday Vespers:

On Sundays 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.

 

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 creches or Nativity Scenes from our Basilica collection will be on exhibit in The Basilica and in the Undercroft.

 

Concerts in The Basilica

Several concerts have been scheduled for the second and third week of Advent. Look for more information on our website.

 

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.

 

 

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