Join us for a celebration of Christmas Cheer!
On Sunday, December 14th at 4 pm in Church
Listen to the Music of the Talented Ministers of Song from St. Stanislaus . . .
Everyone is invited to this free event!
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Advent This Week (December 14 – 20)
December 17 marks the beginning of the “O” Antiphons, the seven jewels of our liturgy, dating back to the fourth century, one for each day until Christmas Eve. These antiphons address Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles, based on the Old Testament prophecies and types of Christ. The Church recalls the variety of the ills of man before the coming of the Redeemer.
Before the coming of God in the flesh, we were ignorant, subject to eternal punishment, slaves of the Devil, shackled with our sinful habits, lost in darkness, exiled from our true country. Hence the ancient antiphons announce Jesus in turn as our Teacher, our Redeemer, our Liberator, our Guide, our Enlightener and our Saviour. — The Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine, trans. Ryan and Ripperger, 1941
The antiphons beg God with mounting impatience to come and save His people. The order of the antiphons climb climatically through our history of Redemption.
In the first, O Sapientia, we take a backward flight into the recesses of eternity to address Wisdom, the Word of God. In the second, O Adonai, we have leaped from eternity to the time of Moses and the Law of Moses (about 1400 B.C.). In the third, O Radix Jesse, we have come to the time when God was preparing the line of David (about 1100 B.C.). In the fourth, O Clavis David, we have come to the year 1000. In the fifth, O Oriens we see that the line of David is elevated so that the peoples may look on a rising star in the east, and hence in the sixth, O Rex Gentium, we know that He is king of all the world of man. This brings us to the evening before the vigil, and before coming to the town limits of Bethlehem, we salute Him with the last Great O, O Emmanuel, God-with-us (from He Cometh by Fr. McGarry).
As Elsa Chaney in Twelve Days of Christmas states, “They seem to sum up all our Advent longing as they paint in vivid terms the wretched condition of mankind and his need of a Savior.”
The “O” Antiphons are the verses for the ancient hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The first letter of the Messianic titles: Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—spell out Latin words ERO CRAS, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.”
The antiphons are part of the evening prayer of the Divine Office, the antiphon before and after the Magnificat. They are also the alleluia verse before the Gospel at Mass.
One way to celebrate the “O” Antiphons is reviving the old custom of monasteries of different monks furnishing extra treats on these days to the members of the community. As Florence Berger describes:
The gardener gave the community some of his finest dried or preserved fruits on Dec 19 when he called on Christ: ‘O Root of Jesse, come to deliver us and tarry not.’ The cellarer unlocked the best wine for his treat as he called: ‘O Key of David, come, and come quickly.’ Finally, on Dec 23, the abbot gave his extra gift to the brothers. Expense accounts which are still extant show how generous and extensive a list of foods were used on the abbot’s ‘O day.'” — Cooking for Christ, National Catholic Rural Life Conference
Depending on the size of your family, each day can be “assigned” to a family member, usually youngest to oldest, so that they can provide a special treat for that O Antiphon day. The surprise usually revolves around dinner, but it does not need to be too fancy or a food treat. It’s preferable to have a homemade treat, but the younger the child, the less they can do. For example, the youngest could serve candy canes or graham crackers, the next child could provide popcorn or soda, the next child could have a special holycard for everyone, another child could cracked nuts to serve after dinner. The father’s and mother’s treats would be a little more “sophisticated” — like Mom could serve a favorite dinner or dish, like mashed potatoes, Dad could take everyone out for ice cream. These are just suggestions. The best part is leaving it up to the member to keep it a secret until dinner time, except possibly with some help from Mom and Dad.
O Sapientia (December 17) O Wisdom (Eccl 24: 5), you came forth from the mouth of the Most High (Sir 24: 30), and reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly (Wis 8: 1). Come, and teach us the way of prudence (Isa 40: 14).
O Adonai (December 18) O Adonai or O Lord and Ruler (Exod 6: 13) and Ruler of the house of Israel (Matt 2: 6), you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush (Exod 3: 2), and on Mount Sinai gave him your Law (Exod 20). Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us (Jer 32: 21).
O Radix Jesse (December 19) O Root of Jesse, you stand for the ensign of all mankind (Isa 11: 10); before you kings shall keep silence and to you all nations shall have recourse (Isa 52: 15). Come, save us, and do not delay (Hab 2: 3).
O Clavis David (December 20) O Key of David (Apoc 3: 7) Scepter of the house of Israel, you open and no man closes; you close and no man opens (Isa 22: 22). Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death (Ps 107: 10).
O Oriens (December 21) O Rising Dawn (Zac 6: 12), Radiance of the Light eternal (Hab 3: 4) and Sun of Justice (Mal 3: 20); Come, enlighten those who sit in darkness & the shadow of death (Ps 107: 10; Lk 1: 78).
O Rex Gentium (December 22) O King of the Gentiles (Hag 2: 8), Desired of all, you are the cornerstone that binds two into one (Eph 2: 20). Come, and save poor man whom you fashion out of clay (Gen 2: 7).
O Emmanuel (December 23) O Emmanuel (Isa 7: 14; 8: 8), our King and Lawgiver (Gen 49:10; cf. Ezek 21: 32), the Expected of the nations and their Savior (Isa 33: 22): Come, and save us, O Lord our God.
Jennifer Gregory Miller Jennifer G. Miller
Activity Source: Original Text (JGM) by Jennifer Gregory Miller, © Copyright 2003-2014 by Jennifer Gregory Miller
May you have a blessed Advent as you wait for Him
Rejoicing and Waiting!
by Fr. Thomas Rosica
The readings for this Sunday are Isaiah 61:1-2a, 10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28.
Third Sunday of Advent, Year B – December 14, 2014
Advent is the season of the prophets and the Scripture readings of these weeks before Christmas help us to focus our vision and deepen our longing for the Messiah.
In this year’s Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent, the figure of John the Baptist appears once again on the stage of salvation history. John’s whole mission was a preparation for the Messiah’s coming. When the time had come, John led his own disciples to Jesus and indicated to them the Messiah, the True Light, and the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. John, himself, was not the light. He came to testify to the light. He didn’t spend time thinking about his shadow. He just allowed the light to shine on him.
John considered himself to be less than a slave to Jesus, “There is one among you whom you do not recognize — the one coming after me — the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to unfasten” (John 1:26-27). When John’s own disciples came to him and were troubled about the meaning of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, he answered them confidently: “No one can receive anything except what is given them from above.” John says he is only the friend of the bridegroom, the one who must decrease while his master increases (John 3:25-30). The Baptizer defined his humanity in terms of its limitations.
In one of the most poignant scenes of Luke’s Gospel, John the Baptist is imprisoned by Herod Antipas because of his public rebuke of the tetrarch for his adulterous and incestuous marriage with Herodias (Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Luke 3:19). Alone, dejected and near the end of his life, John the Baptist, hailed as the “greatest of all prophets,” had to ask the question, “Are you really the Messiah?” John probably expected a fiery social reformer to come and bring about the Kingdom, certainly not someone who would associate with the poor, the lame, the blind, outcasts and sinners. Yet Christ comes in the most unexpected ways and often in the most unlikely people.
Jesus invites John to look around and see the works that had already been accomplished in the midst of people. The blind recovered their sight and the lame were walking again. Diseases and illness were healed and all those who were deaf could hear. The Good News was now preached to the poor. That was the greatest wonder of all! This is a great consolation for us. We should never be surprised if we often find ourselves asking the same question — “Is Christian living really worth it?” “Is Jesus really the answer to all the evils and sadness of the world and of our own lives?
The crowds came to John and asked him, “What then shall we do?” The Baptist advises no one to leave the world they are in, however ambiguous it may be. Rather he told those with two coats to share one with those who had none. Likewise, those with an abundance of food were to share with the hungry. Tax collectors were told to collect no more than was appointed to them. Soldiers were to rob no one by violence or by false accusation. They were to be content with their wages. What were people to do to prepare for the imminent coming of the Messiah? To be generous, just, honest, grateful and compassionate (cf. Luke 3:10-14).
John the Baptist’s life and mission reminds us how badly we need a Savior to save us, in order that we might be all that we are called to be and do all that we have to do to live in the Light. How are we courageous and prophetic in our Christian witness to the Light, who has already come into our world? So often we fail to recognize the one among us who is our True Light.
May John the Baptist give us strength and courage to bear the light to others, and the generosity and ability to rejoice as we wait. “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing,” Paul writes in his letter to the Thessalonians. We can also reverse the order of these two sentences: “Pray without ceasing, so that we will be able to rejoice always.”
In prayer we experience God’s gathering up all of our concerns and hopes into his own infinite love and wisdom, his setting us back on our feet, and his giving us fullness of life and light.
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P R E S S R E L E A S E Philadelphia, PA (December 1, 2014)
World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 Debuts Official Hymn for September 2015 Event Entitled “Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom” – the hymn will serve as the musical cornerstone for celebration of this triennial global event
The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, being held September 22-27, 2015, and featuring Pope Francis’ first visit to the United States, has debuted the official hymn for this international gathering. Entitled “Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom,” the hymn draws inspiration from the theme for the 2015 World Meeting of Families, “Love is our mission: the family fully alive,” as well as the Roman Missal and Sacred Scripture. It was first performed by the Cathedral Choir during the Offertory Procession of the November 30th Sunday evening Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul celebrated by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Selected by a committee led by Auxiliary Bishop John J. McIntyre; Father G. Dennis Gill, Director of the Office for Worship of the Archdiocese; and Dr. John Romeri, Director of Music for the Archdiocese; “Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom” was formally approved as the official hymn by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the co-sponsor of the 2015 World Meeting of Families with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The hymn tune, PHILADELPHIA, was written by composer Normand Gouin, former music director at Old St. Joseph in Philadelphia, who currently serves as a Musician and Liturgist at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. The text was penned by Fr. Andrew Ciferni, O.Praem, a nationally-known liturgist, teacher and scholar who is a native of South Philadelphia.
“Following the joyous news that Pope Francis will join us in Philadelphia next year, this hymn will further inspire all of us as we prepare for the 2015 World Meeting of Families,” said Archbishop Chaput. “This event has the power to transform the lives of families – both Catholic and non-Catholic alike – in positive and charismatic ways. I’m confident that this hymn will affirm that spirit. With its powerful words and melody, ‘Sound the Bell of Holy Freedom’ is an excellent choice for our official hymn and I hope it encourages all who hear it to deepen their daily relationship with God and with their own families in significant ways.”
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World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia, 2015: NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION
November 10, 2014
P R E S S R E L E A S E
World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 Opens Registration and Announces Keynote Speakers & Content
Baltimore, MD (November 10, 2014) – In remarks offered today at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Fall Assembly, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. announced that registration for the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, which is being held September 22-25, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA, is now officially open. Individual registrants and families can register via Worldmeeting2015.org/Plan-your- visit/Register for the four day Congress at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and also book hotel rooms for Congress days through the website. Multiple registration and pricing options are available, allowing delegates to select a package that best suits their needs. There is also an option available for registrants to seek out local host families through Homestay.com via http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/plan-your-visit/places-stay/.
The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 will offer an Adult Congress and a Youth Congress for ages 6- 17. There will also be a licensed daycare for children under the age of six. The Adult Congress, for ages 18 and older, will consist of keynote presentations and breakout sessions that address the many ways in which families can strengthen their bonds, especially in the face of the significant challenges facing the family globally in the 21st century. The Youth Congress will provide interactive programs designed for young people to play, listen, serve, build, and embrace the mission of love in a family.
“The World Meeting of Families will deal with a wide range of family issues where our faith is both needed and tested,” said Archbishop Chaput at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Fall General Assembly. “These are matters that affect families not only here in the United States but on a global scale. So we want to focus next year not just on the neuralgic sexual issues that seem to dominate the American media, but on things like the family and poverty, the family and addiction, the family and children with disabilities, the loss of a spouse, the effect of divorce and co-parenting, health and wellness as building blocks to preserving the family, creating real intimacy between husband and wife, the challenges of raising children, the role of grandparents, the parish as a support community for families, and similar themes. And we want to involve the whole community in this celebration, which is why we’ve included Jewish, Mormon, Muslim and Protestant presenters on issues that we all share – regardless of confessional divides.”
In addition to announcing the opening of registration, Archbishop Chaput also spoke about the impressive roster of influential leaders and scholars that the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 will bring together to discuss the critical issues facing the family worldwide. Nearly 100 renowned speakers are expected to present and facilitate conversation among delegates. From Baptist to Jewish to Lutheran, 24 percent of the Congress presenters will represent other faith traditions and 30 percent of presenters are from outside of North America. Leading the program are keynote addresses from Father Robert Barron, founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries, Rector of Mundelein Seminary, and host of CATHOLICISM; His Eminence, Seán Patrick Cardinal O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Boston; Helen Alvaré, Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law; Dr. Juan Francisco de la Guardia Brin and Gabriela N. de la Guardia, renowned Panamanian doctors; His Eminence, Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, Archbishop of Manila; and His Eminence, Robert Cardinal Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, Archbishop Emeritus of Conakry, Guinea.
Although a few breakout session speakers are still being confirmed, the majority of speakers and presentations for the Congress has been finalized and can be reviewed at http://www.worldmeeting2015.org/about-the-event/speakers/ .
“The 2015 World Meeting of Families will welcome a most remarkable and dynamic group of speakers as we aimed to bring people together in faith and share a common message of love while also giving comfort and encouragement to those who may be struggling,” said Dr. Mary Beth Yount, World Meeting of Families Director of Content and Programming. “When developing the programming and educational sessions, one of our goals was to create a Congress inclusive of people of all ages, all walks of life, all cultures and even other faiths so that every person might leave the conference feeling inspired by new ideas to incorporate into his/her family life. Through the grace of God and the messages shared during the Congress, we hope to reaffirm the importance of the family and strengthen its bonds on a global scale.”
As the world’s largest family gathering, the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 is expected to bring together 10,000 – 15,000 delegates from more than 150 nations in faith and celebration. The Congress will provide delegates the opportunity to share their thoughts, dialogue and prayers during daily Mass, devotions and breakout sessions. All sessions will focus on the myriad issues facing today’s global families, including financial crises/poverty, blended families, disabilities, addiction, divorce, and interfaith marriage, with speakers from the Pontifical Council for the Family, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Foundation for Family and Futures, National Catholic Partnership on Disability, Catholic Relief Services, among others. Rooted in the 2015 Congress’ theme, “Love is our mission: the family fully alive,” the catechetical content and programming will emphasize the impact of the love and life of families in society.
For more information regarding the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next September, please visit www.WorldMeeting2015.org. An online retail store, featuring t-shirts, hats, pins and other small mementos, is also open and can be accessed at http://wmof.myshopify.com/. You can also engage the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia on Facebook (World Meeting of Families 2015) (Encuentro Mundial de las Familias – Filadelfia 2015), Twitter (@WMF2015) (@WMF2015ES) and Instagram (WMF2015).
About World Meetings of Families Beginning with 1994, The Year of the Family, the Pontifical Council for the Family has been responsible for organizing the World Meetings of Families in Rome (1994); Rio de Janeiro (1997); Rome (2000); Manila (2003); Valencia (2006); Mexico City (2009); Milan (2012); and now, Philadelphia (2015). Since its inception by Saint John Paul II, the World Meeting of Families has sought to strengthen the sacred bonds of family across the globe.
Click here to view the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 “Schedule at a Glance”.
Host a Family
Welcome Visitors with Hospitality
Many of our visiting families are traveling long distances to reach the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015. As an affordable alternative to hotel accommodations and to support the volume of people coming to the Philadelphia area, we are offering families located in the Philadelphia region the opportunity to open their doors to our visitors.
Host Families can host visitors in a spare bedroom, a vacated apartment, or any amenable facility. Visiting individuals and families can then search the Host Family database to find hosts to be matched too. When registering as a Host Family, you will include information on your hosting situation (bedrooms, family hobbies, pets, allergies, access to public transportation, etc.). Additionally, each visiting family will pay a nightly fee to the Host Family. The Host Family can use that money to offset costs, buy breakfast each day, donate to the visiting family, or in any other way desired. Your role, as a Host Family, is pivotal in enabling many families to make this trip safe and affordable.
If you would like to open your home to a World Meeting of Families Visitor, you can register at https://worldmeeting2015.homestaymanager.com/host/sign_up or email us at host@WorldMeeting2015.org.
Once Host registration has opened, you will be notified so that you can enter your information into a private database which will be used only for the World Meeting of Families event.