Seasonal Information - Advent and Christmas 2021
Christmas Mass Schedule 2021
Pre-registration is not necessary
Christmas Eve: Friday, December 24
4:00pm at St. Maria Goretti Church
4:00pm at Our Lady of the Assumption Church
Christmas Day: Saturday, December 25
7:30am at Our Lady of the Assumption Church
9:30am at St. Maria Goretti Church
11:00am at Our Lady of the Assumption Church
(Please note that there will be no 4:00pm Vigil Mass on Saturday, December 25, at OLA)
Our parish will not be livestreaming a Christmas Mass. Christmas Masses may be viewed online at CatholicTV, St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC YouTube, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC, Vatican Media Youtube.
The one and only collection taken at our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses benefit the Clergy Trust which cares for the health and well-being of our 536 active and senior priests in good standing. By supporting this collection, you are helping to ensure that our active priests receive the care they need to continue their important work and our senior priests can live in community with access to quality care. This collection is a primary source of funding for the Trust and your generosity is greatly appreciated. To donate directly online, go to: www.clergytrust.org/christmas-collection-2021
If you would like to make an offertory gift to Ave Maria Parish at the Christmas Masses, please make sure you clearly note that intention on your envelope or check.
Beginning the Church's liturgical year, Advent (from, "ad-venire" in Latin or "to come to") is the season that begins four Sundays before Christmas. The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds both to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas, and to Christ’s second coming at the end of time.
Advent devotions, such as the Advent wreath and calendar, remind us to focus on the meaning of the season and builds anticipation to the Nativity of Jesus.
Traditionally, Advent wreaths are constructed of a circle of evergreen branches into which four candles -- usually three purple and one rose-colored -- are inserted, representing the four weeks of Advent. The purple candles symbolize the prayer, penance, preparatory sacrifices, and good works that should be undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass. Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and Christmas is near. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of his second coming to judge the living and the dead.
Here is a booklet of prayers that you and your family can follow as you light each candle of your Advent wreath: Prayers for Lighting the Advent Wreath
Christmas Flower Donations
If you would like to make a donation to the Christmas Flower Fund in memory or honor of your loved ones, envelopes are available at the church doors.
Spreading Advent Hope and Christmas Cheer
At a time when many people are isolated, homebound, and apart from family and friends, we will be spreading some ADVENT HOPE and CHRISTMAS CHEER again this year!
What wonders a simple phone call, a Christmas card, or a token gift can do to lift someone’s spirits and let them know someone cares.
If you know a parishioner in that situation, please send us his/her name. If you can help by sending a card or dropping off a gift, contact Kate McGrath, Pastoral Associate, via email or at 781-598-4313, ext. 224.
Advent Song Recordings by Our Children's Choirs
There is no better way to experience the joys of the season than through the eyes -- and voices -- of children. Each week, our parish Children's Choirs will offer a recording to accompany us on our Advent journey. You may also find them on our YouTube site.
On the third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Bambinelli Sunday at both Our Lady of the Assumption and Saint Maria Goretti churches, a custom began by Pope St. John Paul II. He had encouraged families in Rome to gather in St. Peter’s Square and bring with them the baby Jesus from their Nativity set. The Holy Father then blessed the statues of infant Jesus, and they were taken home, gift-wrapped, and became the first present to be opened on Christmas. This tradition reminds the whole family that the gift of the birth of Christ is the core of Christmas.
If you cannot attend one of our Bambinelli Sunday celebrations in our churches, we offer this prayer, used by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, that you may pray over the baby Jesus statue in your home nativity set with your family:
God our Father, You loved us so much you sent us your only Son, Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, to save us and lead us back to you. We pray that, with your blessing, these images of Jesus might be a sign of your presence and love in our homes. Good Father, give your blessing to all who gather with us this Christmas, our family and friends. Open our hearts, that we might receive Jesus in joy, do always what he asks of us, and see him in those who need our love. We ask this in the name of Jesus, your beloved Son, who came to give peace to the world. You, who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
Advent Prayer Service
Monday, December 13, 6:30-7:30pm
St. Maria Goretti Church
3D Nativity Craft Kit with Prayers
Here's a little craft activity: 3D Nativity Coloring and Craft Kit
Children's Book about the Nativity
Our parish is blessed to have our very own registered therapy dog in attendance at many of our children's read-aloud sessions, walking group strolls, and other dog-friendly events. Orla is a 10-year-old Golden Retriever whose human happens to be Kate McGrath, our Pastoral Associate. Because Orla wants to share her many adventures with others, Kate has written down some of her stories in short, read-aloud books that are great introductions to the richness of our Catholic faith and what they mean to our daily lives. Make this one an Advent tradition for your family: Adventures with Orla: The Christmas Nativity.