Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is with great JOY that we celebrate the third week of Advent. Before anyone says that the priest is wearing pink, the color is ROSE!!!! Traditionally, in the Church, the third Sunday of Advent is called the GAUDETE SUNDAY. Gaudete, the Latin for Rejoice, was the first word sung in the introit of the Mass. The Joy of Christ who already came and is with us is the focus of this Sunday. This also marks a shift of attention during Advent. Advent can be divided into 2 parts. The first part is the awareness and the call to be prepared for the second coming of Christ. The second part, we recall the first coming of Christ, promised and prophesized in the Old Testament. The second part is also known as the Novena for Christmas, since it starts on December16th. In some countries, there are beautiful traditions of the faithful during these nine days before Christmas, such as Novenas for the Child Jesus. In Latin America, especially in Mexico, they have the Posadas, which the people remember when Mary was looking for lodging for the birth of Jesus. Usually it is done in the houses, but here in the parish we will do them at Meehan Hall every day at 7:00pm, starting on Monday December 16th. Although it’s in Spanish, all are welcome.
We ourselves should also make preparations for the celebration of the Birth of Christ. There are signs and symbols of our faith that symbolize the expectation and the coming of Christ. We have the Advent Wreath, with the candles, that symbolizes the expectation of His birth. The evergreens adornments symbolizes that Christ is our life, and he never dies, like the greens, even in the midst of the death of all nature (winter). The Christmas Tree has a beautiful story how it originated with St. Boniface in Germany around the year 720. We also have the tradition of the nativity scene that was spread with St. Francis (Remember that Jesus is not there until Christmas and the Kings only arrive on January 6 th!!!!). I invite you all to prepare yourselves and your houses for the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
There are some big news that I would like to share with you: WE WILL CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN THE UPPER CHURCH!!!! The works are well advanced, with the final details getting done this week. The sacristy looks beautiful, the flooring is coming along, the new lights are amazing. Only the pews will not be ready on time. Instead, we will rent chairs until they get installed. Thank you for all your prayers and the help of many volunteers that made it possible!!!
Also, Cardinal Sean O’Malley is coming to Marlboro to visit us!!! The Cardinal will be coming on January 11th for the 4:30pm Mass to pray with us and install me as the pastor. Personally, he has shown great support to our Parish during this last year. On the morning after the fire, he called us to inquire about the damage in the Church, assured us of his prayers, and made himself available if we needed his help. He also asked me often how the Church was coming along. He along with, Bishop Reed, and the archdiocese were extremely helpful to us during the process of the restoration and accommodating our needs during the time we did not have the main Church.
Father Steven Clemence