Advent

Don't Miss Thursday Evening's Advent Prayer Service and Christmas Tree Lighting

ChristmasTree2
A Christmas Tree of the Past

Join us tonight at 7 PM for the festive formal beginning of the Christmas season at Holy Cross.

Gather in the church for song, a Scripture reading and reflection, followed by the lighting of our Christmas tree on Ward Avenue and the blessing of the Manger at the pergola.

Every year the sheep and other live animals create extra interest for our younger children.

Enjoy hot chocolate and other refreshing goodies in our gymatorium immediately after the blessings.

(We'll adapt to the weather conditions if necessary and not spend too long in blustery winds or really cold temperatures.

 


The Annunciation Window at Chartres Cathedral

 

Annunciation Window at Chartres
Annunciation Window at Chartres Cathedral

 

 

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation nine months before Christmas on March 25th. This year because the solemnity fell on Good Friday, the celebration was moved to April 4th.

Advent is an appropriate time to recollect what began 9 months ago with the announcement of the Angel Gabriel - the virginal conception of Jesus.

Next week we will celebrate the Immaculate Conception on December 8th - the Immaculate conception of the virgin Mary who was spared from Original Sin from the first moment of her existence.

 


Advent Resources for the Family

Each year the resources available on the USCCB website get better and better. 

Be sure to check out the daily Advent Calendar, reflections for each Sunday in Advent and a blessing for the Advent wreath in the home.

Advent Resources from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

 

Advent Calendar
There is an Advent Calendar and a Daily Family Calendar among other resources.

The Root of Joy Is Gratefulness

Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk now associated with a group called Gratefulness.org, reminds us that 

    It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.

We're guilty of thinking the other way around, especially when we expect gratitude to spontaneously well up from an unhappy heart. To be grateful we must be observant and focus more on what we already have than what we feel need.

May we experience the joy which comes from gratitude this Thanksgiving!

  Gratitude


Get Ready For The New Year

The new church liturgical year, that is. The new church liturgical year begins on the First Sunday of Advent. Do you know the six seasons of the liturgical year? There are many online resources for those who would like to follow the year with a liturgical calendar. The USCCB has published a pdf version of the calendar available for download here

2017 Liturgical Calendar from USCCB

Capture


Praying As Family: Retreat for Parents, Grandparents: Monday December 5th in Holy Cross Auditorium, 7:00 PM

M_praying-as-a-family
M_praying-as-a-family

 

A Short Guide to Praying as a Family,

written by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecelia

as an aid for families who desire to grow in their lives of prayer.


 

Two Dominican sisters of St. Cecelia Congregation will visit and speak with us about praying as a family. In simple and engaging language, they will direct families step-by-step in beginning to pray together and in deepening their prayer.

Families who have used this book say that they have found especially helpful the sections on how to begin family bedtime prayers, the monthly family meeting, and praying with one’s spouse. They have commented that this guide is simple, practical, and profound. “Helping children learn the habit of prayer,” writes Archbishop Charles Chaput in the Forward, “becomes one of the most important lessons a family can share.”

Everyone is invited, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Babysitting will be provided. Call to reserve a copy of the sisters' book


Adult Faith Reflections During Advent: November 30 and December 7th

Adoration-of-the-shepherds
El Greco's "Adoration of the Shepherds

Join us for two sessions of spiritual reflections, prayer and discussion during Advent. We will begin in the church with Evening Prayer and then adjourn to the St. Joseph Meeting Room for a discussion of Eugene LaVerdiere's book The Firstborn of God: The Birth of Mary's Son Jesus (Luke 2:1-21)

The book is a perfect mix of scholarly tidbits about Scripture and pastoral reflection for prayer on the Gospel of Luke, especially the infancy narrative.

The "Conclusion" chapter discusses Luke's use of word paintings in his gospel and references El Greco's Adoration of the Shepherds.

We'll condense our sessions to two in order to free up time as the Advent season comes to a close and Christmas approaches: November 30 and December 7th. On November 30 we will have Evening Prayer at 7:00 in the church followed by the discussion and reflection at approx. 7:15 PM. On December 7th there will be a Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception at  7:00 PM. 

Copies of the book will be available for purchase in the Parish Office for a donation of $15. 

Plan to join us for one or both sessions! All are welcome.

 


First Sunday in Advent

The First Sunday in Advent brings another invitation from the Church to see things with a vision clearly set on Christ's presence already among us yet also focused on His coming again. 

The candles we light on our Advent wreath dispel the darkness around us and herald hope into our hearts.

Our Advent wreath in the church is suspended above the congregation...a kind of portal to heaven, or to think in terms of a modern metaphor, a holy wormhole to another dimension.

Advent Wreath Holy Cross Church

Outdoors, the wreath surrounds our garden fountain, with candles like torches to withstand the wind and the rain (and snow?) at the Atlantic shore.

For Advent, the predella of our Blessed Sacrament Altar has been decorated with a scene from Duccio's Maesta altarpiece - The Annunciation. (highlight at left lower corner)

Altar


O Mary, We've Been Waiting

IMG_2686
IMG_2686
IMG_2686
IMG_2686It's wonderful that Mary has arrived in time for Advent. Our waiting for Mary, at least, is over. Now she can help us observe a blessed season of watching and waiting for the commemoration of the Coming of Christ and the longing for Him to come again.

The yellow glow of the setting sun shines in the marble of the statue and imparts a warm glow in the late evening.


Advent Is A Busy Time

Please be sure to make room in the busy month of December to participate in some of the many liturgical activities here at Holy Cross.

There is no better way to celebrate a hope-filled and joyful Christmas than to have spent a watchful and prayerful Advent.

This Advent it is more urgent than even to remember that we wait not only for the arrival of December 25th in celebration of Our Lord's previous coming, but also long for His coming again to rightwise the world.

Holy Cross Church Advent 2015_Page_1
Holy Cross Church Advent 2015_Page_1

Download PDF

 

 


St. Therese of Lisieux, The "Little Flower"

Nothing is little about everyday holiness, but it is simple and that is the message of the "little" way of holiness. Revolutionary for its time, St. Therese championed the idea that a call to holiness was not simply the province of priests or religious. Consonant with Pope Francis' Year of Mercy, she petitioned to be allowed to dedicate herself to the merciful suffering of Jesus.

It's not easy to keep track of Therese since her name itself has been spelled many ways and can also be properly appended with "Child of Jesus" and "Jesus of the Holy Face." 

St Therese of Lisieux at Holy Cross Church
The "Little Flower"


Our stained glass window shows her youthful beauty, her contemplation of cross with Jesus crucified and garlands of roses falling from her arms and Carmelite habit. Each is a clue about her life, which is certainly worth study. As a Doctor of the Church, her autobiography, A Story of a Soul, a good biography or writings about her spirituality are accessible and fruitful for spiritual seekers of all ages.