Rejoice! This is the watchword of this Third Sunday of Advent, typical referred to as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word meaning “rejoice!” There is a reason for joy and rejoicing: we are at the midway point of Advent, Christmas is close, our Savior is near. This is why the vestments today switch from violet to rose. While it doesn't seem Christmas is close—that's because Christmas falls later in the week—the focus of the prayers and readings at Mass will turn to the first coming of the Son of God: His birth in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.
Thinking about Christmas, it is important to repeat the schedule for Christmas:
Christmas Eve, December 24
3pm – St. Mary of the Snows
5pm – Resurrection
Christmas Day, December 25
8am – Resurrection
10am – St. Mary of the Snows
A couple of things of which to take note. First, the Christmas Eve Mass at St. Mary of the Snows is at 3pm. This is an exception made for 2020 only. This is a grace because it allows for both parishes to have a Christmas Eve Mass before dinner. Fr. Nick was recruited by another parish to help before I could ask him to help, and then I had been able to convince another retired priest—he was the pastor at my first priestly assignment—but after he was set to help, he had been asked to temporarily take over another parish. We will be using overflow space in Fellowship Hall at Resurrection and in the cafeteria at St. Mary of the Snows.
The other item to note is that, after consultation with both parish staff and pastoral councils, I have decided not to have Mass at night. If you desire to go to a Christmas Mass at night, I recommend and invite you to attend midnight Mass at St. Peter. Wherever you may attend Christmas Mass, use your Resurrection or St. Mary envelopes—they will make their way back to our parishes.
If you plan on avoiding crowds and stay at home for Christmas Mass, we will be streaming our Christmas Eve Masses on the parishes' Facebooks pages, and then the videos will be available afterwards. You do not have to have a Facebook account in order to access these pages.
St. Mary of the Snows Facebook page: facebook.com/StMaryMansfield
Resurrection Facebook page: facebook.com/Resurrection-Parish-Lexington-Ohio- 256028327893643/
We are saints under construction, preparing with joy for the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have a great week!