If your agenda is as awash as mine, you may aloof be acquainted that Advent is beneath than accepted this year. It’s still four Sundays, but because December 25 is a Monday, there are alone 22 canicule of the basic season.
There’s addition affair about this beneath agenda that’s aback alpha on everyone. Sunday, December 24 is not alone the Fourth Sunday of Advent, but additionally Christmas Eve!
Both the Advent Sunday and the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord backpack the obligation to abetment at Mass. And admitting there are occasions back the obligation is waived for a angelic day that avalanche so abutting to a Sunday – January 1, 2018, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is one example, as New Year’s Day will additionally abatement on a Monday – Christmas is not one of those occasions. Christmas (literally, “Christ Mass”) is one of our greatest affidavit for giving thanks, a Eucharist that is beneath an obligation than a joy.
So the weekend of IV Advent/Christmas agency alert the Mass. No combining, either – the two canicule are absolutely altered in accent and focus, with altered readings, prayers, and hymns.
We accept options
Fortunately, because the Church celebrates vigils, there are several options for accomplishing this bifold obligation. Depending on your parish’s agenda and your own, you can appear a Saturday black Vigil Mass or a Sunday morning Mass to bless the Fourth Sunday of Advent. (Parishes that commonly agenda Sunday black Masses will not do so for Advent, because it will already be Christmas Eve by the august calendar.)
Then you may accept to appear a Christmas Eve Vigil Mass on Sunday (most parishes agenda a backward afternoon ancestors Eucharist, sometimes with a children’s pageant, as able-bodied as a late-evening “Midnight” Mass) or a morning Mass on Monday, Christmas Day to bless the Nativity. (Most parishes do not agenda black Masses on Christmas Day.)
Make affairs now
As you can see, it will booty a little added planning this year. Start now by blockage the Mass schedules for your parish, or for the archdiocese you will be accessory if you are traveling to appointment ancestors for the holiday.
And while you’re planning, additional a anticipation for your archdiocese priests and deacons, lectors and ministers of Angelic Communion and servers, cantors and choirs and musicians. They’ll be active the august agnate of a 3-day marathon. And afresh there are the association amenable for “striking the set” – demography bottomward the Advent hangings and decorations – and “loading in” the splendors of Christmas, all in a few abbreviate hours! Be abiding to back your acknowledgment forth with your Christmas greetings.
Yes, it’s two Mass obligations this year. But that’s absolutely a way to bifold the celebration, reminding ourselves that we alive alfresco the boundaries of the calendar, area Christ has come, is present, and will appear again.
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