NEW 2013 CHRISTMAS MASS TIMES
Christmas Eve: Tues. Dec. 24 – 5 pm. and 8 p.m.
Christmas Day: Wed. Dec. 25 – 9 am. and 11 a.m.
This Christmas will be my fifth Christmas since I was made pastor here at St. Leo the Great and the past four Christmases I have observed the same following pattern. The first Mass on Christmas Eve is jam packed and always begins 15 minutes early because the church is already full and there’s no point in waiting until 5 pm. because everyone’s already here and ready. The 9 pm. and the Midnight Masses, however, have been about half full. When you’re the only priest and you’ve got five Masses to preside and preach at in a period of 18 hours it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have this many Masses spread out over an evening and a day, unless of course the Masses are full and five Masses are necessary.
The Christmas Day Masses are both quite full and so it seems that the two later Christmas Eve Masses are the only ones that are far less popular. Midnight Mass has traditionally been loved by those who are older and who can stick it out until that time to go to Mass, but there are increasingly fewer people attending Midnight Mass in our parish and in most other parishes as well. Given that our parish is quite young with many families with younger children, the first Mass of Christmas Eve and the two Masses of Christmas Day are the ones families gravitate toward.
Understandably some people will be disappointed in the change of Mass times for Christmas Eve and the dropping of the Midnight Mass, however, I think people will relate to my reasons for doing so and I thank you in advance for your understanding.
Many Opportunities for Confession
While Advent is not particularly a “penitential season” as is Lent, Advent also affords us an opportunity for us to get ourselves right before the Lord.
On TUESDAY DECEMBER 3rd at 7:00 pm. the children who have been preparing for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion will anticipate this holy reception of the Body of Christ by going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. In this way they will get rid of their sins and be appropriately made ready to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time.
On THURSDAY DECEMBER 5TH at 7:00 pm. our parish will hold it’s Advent Reconciliation with several priests here to hear confessions and we will begin promptly at 7 pm.
On WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 11TH all parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto will participate in a Day of Reconciliation asking all parish priests in parishes to make themselves available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. On that day I will be in the church and in the confessional from 11 am. – 1:pm., 6 pm. – 7 p.m., and 7:30 pm. – 8:30 pm. There will still be the Holy Hour at 6 pm. followed by Mass at 7: pm. As well, there is always confessions heard every Saturday from 4 pm. – 4:30 pm.
Please note that there are two types of Examination of Conscience cards provided by the Archdiocese of Toronto; one for youth (teenagers) and one for adults. Please feel free to take one home with you to help you better prepare for a good confession this Advent. (Fr. Charles)
EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS NEEDED
Have you ever gone to Mass and wondered why the same people seem to be reading every Sunday? I think we all have. The reason is that we don’t have enough Lectors. Our parish uses two Lectors per Mass which gives more lectors an opportunity to practice in their ministry and enables us to ensure that if a Lector is absent there is already a Lector who can cover for them. However, at some Masses there are fewer Lectors on the list so they serve more often, sometimes even every week.
To be a Lector you need to have a good clear voice, be able to read well in public so that people can understand what God’s Word is saying, but most importantly – they need a love and reverence for the Sacred Scriptures they will proclaim.
We are in need of more people to come forward to serve as Lector and the more Lectors we have the less frequently all of the Lectors will have to serve. As it is right now, at the 11 am. sometimes it is one of the same Lectors every week.
Another issue is with a shortage of people serving in ministries we have the same people serving in two different ministries at the same Mass. While those who serve are actively helping the parish and ensuring all of the necessary ministries are being covered, when you see the same person do one of the readings and then come forward to distribute Communion as a Eucharistic Minister it sends a false message that suggests parish ministry is a closed shop and you have to be one of the regular ministers to be able to get involved, which is just not true.
Ideally, parishioners should belong to and serve in one ministry, outside of the Service ministries such as the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women’s League or the St. Vincent de Paul. In this way, more people will be involved in the liturgical life of the parish and as new people come into each ministry others who have served for some time will remove themselves for a break or perhaps to look at involvement in another ministry.
Personally, I would like to see the move to one-ministry service begin in our parish to both attract new people to get involved and exercise their giftedness and add variety among those who serve in the various ministries.
We are in need of Eucharistic Ministers, Ushers and especially Lectors. Anyone who would be interested in serving in parish ministry in any area is most welcome and I am more than happy to train you myself. If you are interested either speak to me following Mass or call the parish office and speak to Maureen, the parish secretary. Each of us has gifts which can edify the mysteries we celebrate each Sunday. What are yours? (Fr. C.)