Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday 13 November 2016

Dear Friends in Christ,

Next Sunday is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, and during Mass at 9 and 11 am our sacred music will be fitting for the sovereign Lord of all creation. This also means that in two weeks we will begin a new Year of Grace on the First Sunday of Advent, and once again we will celebrate Solemn Vespers at 5 pm on each Sunday of Advent. Please plan now to join us for Advent Vespers and to bring a friend for 30 minutes of beautiful music, peaceful prayer, and sacred silence.

Bishop Guglielmone will be with us on Tuesday 6 December to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to more than 60 young men and women, and the last week he did the same for a similar group at our mission church of San Sebastian. Pray for these young Christians that they may be bold witnesses to Christ through radical conversion, deep fidelity, joyful discipleship, and courageous evangelism.

Thursday 8 December is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, patronal feast of the United States and a holy day of obligation, and we will celebrate Mass at 7 am, 12 noon and 7 pm on that Thursday. As a special blessing this year, Bishop Guglielmone will celebrate the noon Mass for Immaculate Conception. Every Sunday of the year is a holy day of obligation by divine precept, and several other days of the year are holy days of obligation by ecclesiastical precept — meaning that the Church is exercising the binding part of the power of binding and loosing given to the Apostles by the Lord Jesus. In the United States, these days of obligation are: 1 January, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; 15 August, the Solemnity of the Assumption; 1 November, the Solemnity of All Saints; 8 December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and 25 December, the Solemnity of the Birth of the Lord Jesus. The Solemnity of the Ascension is also a holy day of obligation, but in the United States that observance is now transferred from 40 days after Easter to the following Sunday.

All of the above means that in a year when none of the holy days falls on a Sunday, Catholics are expected to attend Mass a minimum of 59 times. Even if you allow an hour of travel time for each Mass, that comes to about 120 hours each year for us to be at Mass or traveling to and from Mass. Most studies show that Americans spend an average of 1500 to 1800 hours each year watching television, and the Church asks us for 120 hours each year to worship the living God in spirit and truth. When we so easily give ourselves to 15 hours of television for each hour spent in the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist, how is it possible that so many Catholics simply don’t bother to accept the invitation of the Lord Jesus to “do this in memory of me”? Resolve now to make every effort in the coming year to attend Mass each Sunday and holy day and help a faltering Catholic return to regular practice of the Faith.

Father Newman