My Holy Rosary family,
It has only been one year since Fr. Michael and I came to Holy Rosary but we have already gone through so much together. This has been a different kind of year to say the least. But, even when we were unable to be together during the pandemic; we kept Christ at the center of our lives, following the example of our beloved patroness, the Blessed Virgin Mary, by reflecting the love of God to one another. We have lifted one another up in prayer, continued to support the parish financially, and graciously volunteered to help one another when it was needed. When the Bishop lifted his decree on October 4th, it was wonderful to see so many at Mass again. And now, I am excited to be able to celebrate with you our Second Advent and Christmas together. Now, I know that Easter is supposed to be the height of our liturgical year. But it is Advent and Christmas that really touch my heart. For as I told you last year, Christmas is the ultimate good news that this world needs to hear. In a world plagued by violence, injustice, and what can seem like a never ending fount of disorder, fear, and confusion; when the news seems to be more bad than good, the promise of Immanuel, “God with us,” needs to be heard louder and more clearly than ever before. It is our mission here at Holy Rosary to proclaim that good news, that God is indeed with us, not just at Advent and Christmas, but all throughout our lives.
As we once again are drawn into these holy seasons, the words of St. John the Baptist should resound within us, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.” Over the next four weeks we are invited to get ready, to prepare, to make a place for the Lord in our lives and in our hearts and to anticipate His coming. Advent is a time to get ready and to build up the hope within our hearts for the promised coming of Jesus Christ! We do this by repenting of our sins and emptying ourselves of all that keeps us from totally embracing Christ. I encourage each of us to take advantage of this Advent season to really dig deep into our hearts and souls. So as we seek Christ this season let us pay attention to devotions that have always helped us draw closer to Him. Gathering as a family to pray and light our Advent Wreaths, blessing our Christmas trees, praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena, having a daily family devotional, the options are unlimited, please see our website for things your family can do together.
But once again, we need to remind ourselves that we don’t just prepare individually, we as a parish family also reflect in our communal worship a change from the “norm” to prepare ourselves more intently. During the Advent season, we fast from singing the Gloria as a reminder that we are waiting for Jesus to come. In our worship, incense has always been a symbol of our prayers ascending to heaven; we will be using incense at the 10:30 am Mass to remind ourselves of the greater intensity of our prayer. Each, Wednesday and Friday in addition to our normal adoration we will also be offering the Sacrament of Confession from 5:00pm to 6:00pm. Sunday evenings we will offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Confessions, and Solemn Vespers so that we can prepare ourselves more fully for the Christ’s coming among us. And finally, each weekend as we gather together for Mass during this holy season we will light the candles of our Advent wreath. As we do so, we tell the world, “The darkness will not last! For there is someone more powerful than all the evils affecting this world. Christ is ‘the Light that came into the world’ to dispel the darkness.” My brothers and sisters, I pray that you will have a blessed Advent!
Blessings in Christ!
Fr. Patrick Gallagher
Advent Confession Schedule
2020 Advent Schedule:
Solemn Vespers and Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament offered each Sunday during Advent:
November 29th , December 6th, 13th, and 20th at 5:00pm in the Church.
First Friday Devotion, December 4th
Eucharistic Adoration all day, Confessions 5-6, Holy Mass 7:ooPM, Sacred Heart Devotion following Mass with Benediction.
Every Wednesday and Friday 1:00pm – 6:00pm with Confessions from 5:00pm-6:00pm
Every Sunday from 2:00pm- Solemn Vespers with Confessions from 4:00pm – 5:00pm.
St. Andrew Christmas Novena
Beginning on St. Andrew the Apostle’s feast day, November 30th, the following beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
[here mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother.
Then follows the prayer which is said before the evening meal each night of the first week in Advent.
FIRST WEEK The following prayer should be repeated each day during the first week. After the prayer, the family’s youngest child lights the first purple candle. (Family members can also take turns lighting and blowing out the candles on each night.)
Leader: O Lord, stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come, That by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance. Through Christ our Lord.
The candle is allowed to burn during evening meals for the first week.
SECOND WEEK The prayer that follows is to be repeated each day of the second week. After the prayer, the oldest child lights the first and second purple candles.
Leader: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure minds. Through Christ our Lord.
The two candles are allowed to burn during the evening meals of the second week.
THIRD WEEK The joyful Sunday in Advent (known as “Gaudete”) is represented by rose (or pink) instead of the penitential purple color. Each night during the third week the mother of the family lights the pink, as well as the two previously burned purple candles, after the following prayer has been said.
Leader: O Lord, we beg Thee, incline Thy ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Through Christ our Lord.
The three candles are allowed to burn during the evening meals of the third week.
FOURTH WEEK The prayer that follows is to be repeated each day of the fourth week. After the prayer, the father lights all four candles.
Leader: O Lord, stir up Thy power, we pray Thee, and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy Grace, Thy merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. Through Christ our Lord.
The four candles are allowed to burn during the evening meals of the fourth week.
Finally, we prepare for everything we consider important in life. And that includes Christmas. We visit family and friends, bake cookies, decorate our trees, and shop for gifts until we’re ready to drop.
This year, prepare for Christmas in a different way. Join our parish for BEST ADVENT EVER: LET YOUR SOULSHINE, a free email program from Dynamic Catholic that will help you slow down and focus on what matters most during the busy holiday season. Each day of Advent, you’ll receive an email with:
- Short inspirational video.
- Practical tips for everyday life.
- Real-life stories to encourage you in your faith journey.
Plus, every Sunday during the program, you’ll receive a thought-provoking video reflection that will help you understand how the Gospel relates to your own life.
Sign up at BestAdventEver.com.