Johan van Parys

Director of Liturgy & Sacred Arts
Liturgy

Johan van Parys, a native of Belgium, has been The Basilica’s Director of Liturgy and the Sacred Arts since 1995. He holds graduate degrees in art history and comparative religious studies from the Catholic University in Louvain, Belgium, and a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. 

Johan enjoys writing for Basilica publications as well as for other outlets. Since 1997 he has been the managing editor for Basilica, the award winning Basilica Magazine. His book Symbols That Surround Us was published in 2012. Johan teaches in the School of Theology at St. John’s University. He is the current chair and founding member of the MN chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums and is a member of the North American Academy of Liturgists and Societas Liturgica.

(612) 317-3434

Recent Posts by Johan van Parys

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.

 

 

 

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