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Sunday Parish Bulletin 





 Fr. Novajosky’s Note


    Dear Members of the Cathedral Parish,

    Advent continues. Have you noticed any changes between the Mass the last two weeks and those Masses from prior weeks? Some might be more apparent, others a bit subtler. If we consider first the visuals, we should notice that flowers, while permitted, should not be extravagant as feasts, certainly nothing like is appropriate for Christmas. A wreath with four candles is located in the church and the number of candles lit corresponds to the number of weeks that have happened in Advent to that point. Advent has its own proper color: Violet. The color change probably strikes most right away. Green and white are no more for the Advent Sundays, although during the week still you will find white or red for certain saints. The color violet instead makes a regular appearance.

    Violet is used during the season of Lent and at a handful of different Masses, such as Masses of reparation or for remission of sins. In the Ordinary Form (the Mass most commonly celebrated since 1970), violet also serves as an option for the funeral Mass. While Advent historically may have started as more of a penitential season, like that of Lent, it does not have the same exact character any longer. It does not focus on penance, fasting and abstinence like Lent. Perhaps to better grasp the flavor or feel of Advent, we might look to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the Mass as it was offered in most places regularly until 1970. In this form, violet is the proper color for vigils. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is preceded by a vigil on August 14. The day before the feast of the Roman martyr Lawrence there is a vigil with violet. Violet is connected with a time of preparation to enter more into the feast and celebration. Here is what we should consider primarily for Advent preparation.

    Before thinking about a way by which we can prepare, we should also consider the audible change for Advent. The Gloria (“Glory to God in the highest…”) is removed from the Sunday Mass. There is another more comprehensive change that is less apparent to the ear not expecting it. The organ is to be used only in support of the singing. Instrumental music does not have its place in the nonfestal liturgies of Advent. The reduction of the organ can be striking. There is a starkness to only the voice. It also results in more silence.

    Having considered the visual and auditory changes, we can consider two things that are always good, however Advent encourages us to make use of them if they are not part of our normal practice, or to increase them if they are. One thing is to contemplate exactly what Jesus Christ brings to us and the world. Last week I wrote a little about a world prior to the Incarnation or a culture without Christ. Reflecting deeply and being honest, Christ should bring us much. Perhaps we fail to be grateful and this will allow us to foster proper gratitude to Almighty God. It will also help us to see what it is that those who do not have Christ lack and that which we, as disciples, can bring to them. The second means to assist in preparation is silence. Silence provides a space in which we can speak, listen and authentically converse with the Lord. There is much noise of the bad kind. Silence, combined with good and beautiful sounds, can help to prepare us to hear the Word (a name used to describe the Son of God by St. John in his Gospel).

    One additional way to help prepare that I expect will include both reflection upon the novelty of Christ for us and the opportunity for silence will be the morning of reflection next Saturday, December 15. See the ad in this bulletin for more information.

    Have a great week and see you again soon. You are in my prayers daily, especially during the offering of the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. Saint Augustine and Saint Patrick, our patrons, pray for us!

Fr. Novajosky





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