Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
Last week, on December 7 and December 8, respectively, the Oratory and the Daughters of St. Elias clothed their novices in the habit of the respective communities. In the case of the Oratory, Bro. Joseph received the Oratorian cassock. He was previously received into the Novitiate on September 8, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin. So it was fitting for him to receive the cassock on December 7, after First Vespers of the Immaculate Conception.
Bro. Joseph’s novitiate is a total of three years. It is divided into two parts, first and second probation. He will begin second probation this summer and be able to commence studies for the priesthood after that. Following the three years, he will be considered for aggregation (incorporation) into the Congregation of the Oratory as a triennial member. A triennial member is akin to a temporarily professed member of a religious community. After three years, a member is then considered to become a sexennial member, which is akin to a perpetually professed member. The main difference is the triennial only has a passive voice in the congregation without the right to vote, whereas a sexennial has an active voice with the right to vote on community matters.
For the Daughters of St. Elias, the two postulants not only were received into the novitiate and given the habit, but they also received new names. Sr. Julie is now known as Sr. Philomena Marie of the Sacred Heart. Sr. Christine is now known as Sr. Ioanna Marie of the Cross. You may call them Sr. Philomena and Sr. Ioanna for short. They are no longer, however, known as Sr. Julie and Sr. Christine.
They will be in the novitiate for a total of two years. After that, they will be considered to make temporary vows. Temporary vows will last a total of five years. After five years, they will be considered for final perpetual vows. The Carmelites take the three evangelical vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Please be sure to keep Bro. Joseph, Sr. Philomena, and Sr. Ionna in your prayers as they continue their formation. Also, be sure to pray for Sr. Anna and all those who discern to the Oratory or the Daughters of St. Elias.
Today we celebrate the Fourth and final Sunday of Advent. Christmas is already this coming Friday. I, first of all, thank all those who have helped to clean our churches and those who decorated Sacred Heart yesterday. We will decorate Old St. Mary’s this coming Tuesday starting at 5:00 p.m. There will be no evening confessions that day. Confession will otherwise be heard at the normal times up to Christmas. Christmas Day confessions will depend upon the celebrant’s availability before Mass at the otherwise normally scheduled times. Please plan accordingly.
I want to take this time, as this is the final bulletin before Christmas, to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas. I pray these final days of Advent are fruitful in preparing for the coming of Christ. Remember, Christ has come once already in history. He comes to us each day by the Sacraments, our prayer, and our good works. He will come again at the end of time to judge the living and the dead. Advent is preparation for all three, but especially for that personal coming to us into our hearts. May we conform our hearts to be like His. Christmas is the time to contemplate that. That just as He became one of us, we are now called to become like Him. Have a blessed week ahead, and Merry Christmas!