The Advent season begins on November 27 this year. As the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year, Advent (from, “ad-venire” in Latin or “to come to”) is the season encompassing the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to the celebration of Christmas. The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and to the anniversary of Our Lord’s birth on Christmas.
Our Advent readings call us to be alert and ready, not weighted down and distracted by the cares of this world (Lk 21:34-36). Like Lent, the liturgical color for Advent is purple since both are seasons that prepare us for great feast days. Advent also includes an element of penance in the sense of preparing, quieting, and disciplining our hearts for the full joy of Christmas.
Advent devotions, including the Advent wreath, remind us of the meaning of the season. Here at St. Francis of Assisi, we have several activities and events to help you focus on the season.
Children’s Christmas Choir
Our Children’s Christmas Choir will practice at 6 pm on December 5, 12, and 19 in the church. All rehearsals will last approximately one hour. Children in grades 2-6 are invited. There is no need to pre-register; we will collect names at the first rehearsal on Monday, December 5. This children’s choir will sing at the 4 pm Christmas Eve Mass in the church. Please contact Orlando Vera in the parish office if you have any questions.
Immaculate Conception (Holy Day of Obligation)
The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a Holy Day of Obligation and is the patronal feast day of the United States of America. We will have four Masses for this celebration.
Lucinda y las Flores de la Nochebuena
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas. Following the 5 pm Mass on Sunday, December 11, we will have a special celebration for Our Lady of Guadalupe with pastries, refreshments, and music. We invite you to bring flowers to place before Our Lady. The Mass for this feast day is at 10 am on Monday, December 12.
La Gran Posada
The Posadas (Spanish for inn, lodging, or shelter) are an Advent candlelight procession and celebration. In Mexico and some parts of Central and South America, it is traditional to hold Posadas during the nine days before Christmas. The Posadas are a reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s long, frustrating search for a place where Jesus could be born. The tradition reenacts the story told in Luke 2:1-7 but with a twist—a happy ending with the innkeeper welcoming Mary and Joseph inside. We learn from the Posadas that by welcoming the poor and the needy, we are welcoming Jesus into our midst. (See Matthew 25:40)
Advent Reconciliation Opportunities
Prepare your heart for Christmas by taking advantage of our additional Advent Reconciliation times during the final week of the season. One of our priests will be available for confession from 11 am-2 pm and from 5 pm-7 pm on December 19, 20, and 21. As always, you can also go to Reconciliation during our normal time on Saturdays from 3:30 pm-5 pm (excluding December 24, 2022). If it has been a while since your last confession, you can find a helpful how-to guide in the “Confession” button in our parish app. Text APP to 55321 or search your phone’s app store for myParish.
Our St. Vincent de Paul’s Angel Tree program benefiting children from needy families in our community begins on November 26. The Angel Tree will be located in the gathering space and will be decorated with paper ornaments with a child’s age and gender. Please take as many ornaments from the tree as you wish and then return them attached to your unwrapped gift. You may bring your gifts and leave them by the Angel Tree in the gathering space during the weekend Masses or drop them off at the parish office during regular business hours. Please bring the gifts by December 14. (If you are able to bring them earlier than this date, that is appreciated.) Thank you for being an angel to a child in need!
The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Christmas is one of the most important days of the Church year, second only to Easter itself. Celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is the culmination of the mystery of the incarnation, the feast of God becoming flesh.
The liturgical season of Christmas begins with the vigil Masses on Christmas Eve and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. During this season, we celebrate the birth of Christ into our world and into our hearts and reflect on the gift of salvation that is born with him, including the fact that he was born to die for us.
The Christmas tree and the Nativity scene are popular symbols of the season and a tradition in many Christian homes. It is also traditional to exchange Christmas gifts with family and friends to honor God the Father’s gift of his only son to the world. Having received the gift of Christ, we naturally want to pass that gift along to our loved ones.
We have several Mass times you can choose from on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Please note there is no 5 pm Mass that Saturday or Sunday, and we will not have our usual Reconciliation time that Saturday.
Pilgrim Icon Prayer Service in Honor of St. Joseph
Knights of Columbus Council 15240 invites you to a prayer service with the St. Joseph icon at 9:30 am on Friday, December 30 in the church. Daily Mass will follow at 10 am. The prayer service, flowing from the Year of St. Joseph declared by Pope Francis in 2021 and inspired by his apostolic letter Patris Corde, honors St. Joseph and asks for his intercession in preserving, cultivating, and passing on the Catholic faith to future generations.
The St. Joseph icon is the latest icon to be a part of the Knights of Columbus Pilgrim Icon Program. Every few years, the Knights of Columbus selects an icon of a saint whose patronage is particularly inspiring to Knights and their communities. Each jurisdiction receives one or several of these icons which travel from council to council and serve as the centerpieces for prayer services in parishes throughout the Order. Since the first traveling pilgrim icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1979, more than 174,800 council and parish prayer services with some 22 million participants have been held.
Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly chose to entrust his service as Supreme Knight to St. Joseph and through this Pilgrim Icon Program, encourage Knights and their communities to “turn in prayer to St. Joseph, give thanks to God for the gift of fatherly example, and ask St. Joseph to be a father to us” as we seek to “grow in our own imitation of St. Joseph’s quiet strength, integrity, and fidelity.”
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Begin the new year of 2023 by celebrating Mary, the Mother of God with us. Our Mass times for New Year’s weekend (December 31-January 1) are the same as our normal Mass times:
Saturday 5 pm
Sunday 8:30 am, 11:15 am, 1:30 pm (Spanish), and 5 pm