O people of Zion, behold,
the Lord will come to save the nations,
and the Lord will make the glory of His voice
heard in the joy of your heart
(Introit, Second Sunday of Advent).
As we proceed through the holy season of Advent, this year we have a unique situation for us to keep in mind. Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday in this year’s calendar. However, Sunday also happens to be the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Therefore, questions have arisen regarding what our Mass obligation is this year, as well as, by extension, what is our obligation for the New Year’s solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God?
Accordingly, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano has sent the following directive to all parishes:
Sunday Obligation, December 23-24: The faithful may attend a Vigil Mass on Saturday, December 23rd or any Mass on Sunday, December 24th (including any Christmas Vigil that concludes before midnight) in order to fulfill the Sunday obligation. Should one choose to fulfill his or her Sunday obligation by participating in a Christmas Vigil Mass, one should also attend Mass on Monday, December 25th, in order to fulfill the Christmas obligation.
Christmas Obligation, December 24-25: The faithful may attend a Vigil Mass or Midnight Mass on December 24th or any Mass on Monday, December 25th, in order to fulfill the Christmas obligation (unless, as noted above, the Christmas Vigil fulfills the Sunday obligation).
Our Christmas Eve Vigil Masses at St. Marguerite will be at 4:30 pm and 10:30 pm with Christmas Carols beforehand at 10:00 pm with our choir.
Christmas Day Masses will be 9:00 am, 11:00 am, and a 12:30 pm Traditional Latin Mass (in the Chapel).
The next question concerns the solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God which is celebrated on 1 January. This is normally a holy day of obligation. However, this is also one of the Marian feasts where if it falls on a Monday, which it does this year, it is not celebrated as a holy day of obligation. Therefore, we certainly encourage everyone to come to Mass to begin the New Year on 1 January by presenting our upcoming year before the throne, as it were, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but this is not required by the Church this year as a holy day of obligation. Our Mass, therefore, on New Year’s Day will be our usual 8:30 am Mass. New Year’s Eve, which is on a Sunday, keeps the regular Sunday Mass schedule as usual.
In addition, Confessions are available every Saturday from 3:30-4:15 pm in the Church, as well as every day in the Chapel from 8:00-8:20 am. In addition, St. Joseph Parish has Confession available every Tuesday evening from 7:00-8:00 pm. We encourage everyone to make a good, holy Confession in Advent to celebrate with a clean conscience the spiritual joy of the birth of our Savior on Christmas Day!
May you have a most blessed and holy week.
Fr. Shawn William Cutler
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