ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.” John was “filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb” by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people. John is “Elijah [who] must come.” The fire of the Spirit dwells in him and makes him the forerunner of the coming Lord. In John, the precursor, the Holy Spirit completes the work of “[making] ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.” In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah. He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the “voice” of the Consoler who is coming. As the Spirit of truth will also do, John “came to bear witness to the light.” In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels. “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.... Behold, the Lamb of God.”
Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to man of “the divine likeness,” prefiguring what he would achieve with and in Christ. John’s baptism was for repentance; baptism in water and the Spirit will be a new birth.
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
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The schedule for liturgies at St. Francis for Christmas is as follows:
- Saturday, December 23. Fourth Sunday of Advent: Vigil Mass for Sunday at 5 p.m.
- Sunday, December 24. Fourth Sunday of Advent: Mass at 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. (Note: There will not be a Mass at 7:15 a.m. on this day).
- Sunday, December 24. Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord: Carols by the Youth Choir at 4:30 p.m., Mass for Children and Their Families at 5 p.m.
Festival of Carols by the St. Francis Choir at 10 p.m., Vigil Mass for Christmas at 11 p.m.
- Monday, December 25. Christmas Day: Mass at 9 and 11 a.m.
- Sunday, December 31. Feast of the Holy Family: Mass at 7:15, 8:30, and 11:30 a.m.