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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,

As I mentioned in my column last week, Advent is the second longest it can be this year. You might be saying what is he talking about, isn't Advent always 4 weeks long. Yes and no. Advent always has four Sundays, but isn't always four weeks long. When Christmas is on a Saturday, as it is this year, the 4th Sunday of Advent will be followed by 6 days, including Christmas Eve. When Christmas is on a Sunday, as it will be next year, Advent will have a full week following the 4th Sunday. But the following year, 2023, Christmas will be on a Monday and so the 4th Sunday of Advent will also be Christmas Eve, and Advent will have no days following the 4th Sunday. Just a little ecclesiastical liturgical trivia.

A big thank you to the combined choirs of the parish and to the Spanish community for the presentations of the Christmas Concert and the Nativity play, respectively. Other engagements, including a wedding, prevented me from attending either but the great gift of live-streaming is that you can go back to any event and see (and hear) it at your leisure and even if you were there, you can replay it, again and again and again. If you missed either, or simply want to experience it again, I invite you to go to the website for your viewing pleasure.

Monday evening will be the last opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Penance before Christmas. In fact, because Christmas is a Saturday and the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (New Year's Day) is also a Saturday, it will be the last opportunity before the start of the New Year. It would be a great way to begin the New Year with, as we used to say, a "clean slate." Why not make that a pre-New Year's resolution-making a good confession, to be ready to celebrate the God of all mercy, who comes as the enfleshed God in Jesus the Christ to lead us to new life in the New Year. I can think of no better way to end one year (especially the year we've just gotten through), and to begin a New Year (one marked by a return to real living-we hope), then to be refreshed in spirit, sins forgiven, facing the future with new hope. Because for the Archdiocesan and the parish calendars, the official holidays of 12/25 and 1/1 fall on a Saturday, their observance, as holidays, are transferred to Monday, 12/27 and Monday, 1/3, there will be no confessions on those two Monday evenings. So, after Monday, 12/20, the next scheduled confessions will be Saturday, 1/8/2022. This Monday evening, confessions begin at 7:00 with the three parish priests and Fr. Mert hearing. Come and take advantage of the opportunity for grace.

We have continued our usual Christmas Eve/Christmas Day mass schedule. Last year, we required registration. This year, we do not. Covid protocols remain the same as in these last months, masks are required for all who are not vaccinated, but we do not have vaccination police. As we are a Christian community, we hope honesty in the practice of these protocols will be a given. The ropes will remain in the transcepts of the church for those who wish to practice some form of social distancing. The main body of the church will remain totally open, as will all the seats in the auditorium. If you get to the church and it is full, please, please be agreeable to going over to the auditorium. The celebrations there will be just as solemn, just as prayerful, just as celebratory. Also please understand we cannot predict what the numbers attending will be like. Last year, we greatly overestimated Christmas attendance but that is no indicator of what it will be like this year. As always, let's everyone be respectful, polite, patient and understanding, so we can all celebrate God's greatest gift to us, the Christ, His Son, with peace and joy in our hearts and our minds.

Merry Christmas
Fr. Ron

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