Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Do I need to go to Mass twice on Christmas weekend?

As you know by now, Christmas Eve and the Fourth Sunday of Advent coincide this year, making for a very busy couple of days for all Catholics. Ideally, we would celebrate both the Advent and the Christmas celebrations by participating in Mass on Sunday for Advent and in another Mass for Christmas. But this might not be an obvious practice for your parishioners. Below is a short catechetical "blurb" written by Diana Macalintal that you can reprint for free in your bulletin to help encourage your parishioners to celebrate the Advent/Christmas transition fully.

You can also download this bulletin announcement as a Word file here.

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Do I need to go to Mass twice on Christmas weekend?

You may be wondering why this is even a question. This year, Christmas Eve (December 24) also falls on the same day as the Fourth Sunday of Advent. They are two separate celebrations in the church calendar. But is it really necessary to go to Mass on Sunday morning, December 24, in addition to a Christmas Mass?

Certainly, it will be difficult for some to come to Church twice between December 24 and 25. Just getting the whole family ready for Church once each weekend is often a challenge. With the added busyness of Christmas, coming to Mass twice in one weekend might even be an impossible task. But striving to make the commitment will teach more about the meaning of Christmas than we might first imagine. Keeping a commitment, especially when it’s difficult, is about making a sacrifice.

When we do all we can to gather with the Church on the morning of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and when we come back that evening or the next day to celebrate Christ’s birth, we will be teaching our children—and everyone in the community—that we make sacrifices for our faith because we love God and God’s church. We will be encouraging each other to keep Christ always before us even in our busyness.

The story of Christmas is deeply about making sacrifices out of love for another person. Mary so loved God that she said yes to becoming an unwed mother. Joseph so loved Mary that he said yes to being a parent to a child that was not his own. God so loved the world, a world that no longer recognized him in the prophets and all his wondrous works, that he gave his only Son that the world might see in another human being that God was with them. And finally, Jesus so loved us that he said yes to dying on the cross that we might know we have nothing to fear, not even death itself, for nothing will separate us from the love of God through Christ.

Teach your children, the catechumens, estranged family members, and yourself, the value of our faith this Christmas by celebrating it as fully as possible.

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