Weekly pastor’s post (December 17)

Dear friends,

Well, this wasn’t the weekend I had planned on – but as several folks have pointed out, better now than Christmas weekend! Still, I am sorry to have missed out on Gaudete Sunday and being able to use my rose vestments. Ah well. I am grateful to Father Rob Evenson, who was happily available to substitute for me while I recuperated, and to our homebound ministers, who assisted him as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion during the weekend Masses.

Speaking of EMHCs, there will certainly be some question as to why we don’t use them more regularly. To answer that I would gently remind questioners of the instruction from Sacramentum Redemptionis (particularly nos. 154-160). While this weekend provided a temporary need (especially when it was unclear if an elderly priest would be available), the document is very clear:

Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason. (Sacramentum Redemptionis, 158)

In short, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion – at least for the Precious Body – are not something we have a need to use. On the flip side, EMHCs for the Precious Blood are something I would like to pursue. More on that after the new year.

In addition to being Gaudete Sunday, this Sunday was December 17 – the first day of the ‘O Antiphons‘. At Vespers (or Evening Prayer) of each day, the antiphon preceding the Magnificat starts with ‘O’ and then uses one of the titles of the Christ. One of the most popular Advent hymns – O come, O come, Emmanuel’ – uses these antiphons as the inspiration for each verse!

If your interested in doing a deeper dive, my friend Thom Ryng posts on the O Antiphons each year – you might enjoy reading about each antiphon as it comes up, as well as listening to the chanted antiphon. Check it out at his blog The World is Quiet Here.

yours in Christ,
Father Maurer

P.S. Saint Mark parish is offering extra confession times during Advent: Wednesday through Friday, from 5pm to 6pm and on Saturday from 3 pm to 4:30 pm.

P.S.S. This Friday is our last of our December movie nights – we’re watching The Santa Clause. I will admit that I was hoping this would make the list as it is one of my favorites 🙂