This Sunday, we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, also called “Gaudete Sunday,” or Rejoice Sunday, and we will light the third candle in the Advent wreath, the rose-colored candle. This candle is also called the “shepherd’s candle”; the color rose is a liturgical color for joy; the priest and the deacon also wear their vestments in this color. This Sunday is meant to remind us of the joy that the world experienced in the birth of Jesus and also to remind us that amid the preparatory sacrifice of Advent, there is also room for joy. It is called Rejoice Sunday, in memory of the Latin liturgies when the priest in the initial antiphon invited the faithful to be joyful by saying: “Gaudete in Domino Semper. Interum dico: Gaudete. Dominus prope est,” which means “Always rejoice in the Lord. I repeat: Rejoice, for He is near” (Phil.4, 4-5). May we rejoice this Sunday in the face of all the goodness and kindness the Lord has given us. We must be positive towards all the good and beautiful blessings He gives us. Let’s wait for the Christmas celebration in joy and peace.
Changing the subject, I want to remind you that we will have our Advent Penance Service on Wednesday the 20th at 7:00 pm in preparation for Christmas. I invite you to come early and participate in a short meditation and examination of conscience, and then the priests will start hearing confessions. We will have some visiting priests, so parishioners will have more opportunities to confess. I invite you to come and prepare to celebrate the great celebration of Christmas; remember that we must prepare the way of the Lord and His coming.
This year, the Christmas celebrations will be somewhat different because next Sunday, the 24th, during the day, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, will be celebrated, and at night, Christmas Eve. As Catholics, we have the spiritual duty to finish the spiritual preparation that concludes with the masses on the Fourth Sunday of Advent by attending one of the regular morning masses. In the afternoon, Christmas time begins; our Christmas mass schedule will be 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm in Spanish. At 11:30 pm, our choir will sing Christmas carols and the mass of the Nativity of the Lord at midnight. Some will think that if you come to the morning masses, it counts as Christmas masses; well, I clarify that only the masses after 5:00 pm count as Christmas masses. On Monday the 25th, Christmas day, we will have two masses in English, 8:00 am and 10:00 am, both with music and at noon, we will have the mass in Spanish.
We have finished our cycle of Sundays Social for this year, 2023, and I had forgotten to thank all the brothers and sisters who made an effort to prepare them, especially Richard and Clarissa Sacra and all the volunteers for all the efforts and sacrifice they put in during the year, every first Sunday of the month is a time of meeting, sharing and, above all, getting to know each other better. Each month is a different experience; we get to know each other and share, that is, the power of a cup of coffee, the power of encounter and fraternity. Thank you for sharing and making our parish part of your life, where we grow in friendship and fraternity. Next year, we will continue this beautiful tradition, and many more will join every first Sunday of the month.
May Jesus and Mary bless you always. I have you in my prayers.