A Season of Hope
In this season of Advent, we will be reflecting on the theme of Hope. We live in a world that seems to have despair as an ultimate goal. Cable news networks and social media are filled with stories and images that perpetuate a culture of fear. Into this world Jesus chooses to come to us, and I would say, the message of Jesus is ultimately a message of hope.
Hope is understood as “The theological virtue by which we desire and expect from God both eternal life and the grace necessary to attain it.” Hope is the virtue which reminds us that no matter what trials or hardships we experience in this life, they never have the last say in our lives. As we anticipate the celebration of Christmas this year, we will dive into this theme of Hope in a time of despair. Please invite your friends to join us.
See you at Mass. -Fr. Casey
The Very Beginning of the Midnight Mass Tradition
Christmas, as a liturgical feast falling on December 25, originated at Rome in or around the year 330 AD. It is very likely that the feast was first celebrated in the newly completed basilica of St. Peter, built between 319 and 333 AD. From Rome, the celebration of Christmas then slowly spread and little by little was incorporated into the liturgical calendar of the principal Churches. Some of these Churches had celebrated Christ’s birth on January 6 and they have continued to give more importance to this date even after accepting December 25.
The idea that Jesus was born at night comes from Luke’s Gospel, because the angels appeared at night, “Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.” (Lk 2:8)
The first documentation of Midnight Mass dates from the early 380’s. The author is a woman, Egeria, from Gallaecia – what is now northern Spain and Portugal. She made a long pilgrimage to the Holy Land from 381 to 384 and wrote home about how the Christians of Jerusalem commemorated the Christmas mystery on January 6 with a midnight vigil at Bethlehem, followed by a torchlight procession to Jerusalem arriving at dawn to the Church of the Resurrection.