What are the “O Antiphons?”

The Church has been singing the "O" Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer in the Divine Office from December 17-23, a time called the “Golden Nights.” They are part of a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative "Come!" embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah. The seven "O Antiphons" (also called the "Greater Antiphons" or "Major Antiphons") are prayers that come from Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours during the Octave before Christmas Eve, a time which is called the “Golden … [Read more...]

Poinsettias!

Poinsettias in the Sanctuary during Christmas make for a beautiful display.  We appreciate a suggested donation of $25 in memory of departed loved ones whose names will be recorded in the bulletin and on the parish website. Thanks for helping us decorate the altar! In Memoriam: Marie Louise Brown, Bernard & Patricia Caillouet, Yvonne Brown Collier, Mr & Mrs "Bill" Collins, Leonard Evans, Richard Gaiennie, Leslie Guise, George T. Hamrick, Lester & Ethel Heidingsfelder, Earline Johnson, Percy Johnson, Irene King, Evelyn & Louis Lenfant, Florencia Loffredo, Paul W. Sanderson Sr, Thereas Sanderson, Maurice & Natalie Sciortino, Linda Smith, Vetter Amadeo Taylor, Gary Wilfong, Mary & Merlin Wilson, the Burmeister & Medina Families, and the Wetzel/Sullivan Family. … [Read more...]

No Gloria during Advent?

During Advent, we refrain from singing the “Gloria in Excelsis Deo / Glory to God in the Highest.” Why? Let’s start with some basic rules of liturgy set down by the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.  Within the cycle of a year the Church “unfolds” the whole mystery of Christ, from the incarnation and birth until the ascension, the day of Pentecost, and the expectation of blessed hope and of the coming of the Lord (no.102). The church is to be particularly directed toward feasts of the Lord that point to salvation (no.108). In other words, a principle in ritual is to celebrates “feasts” and “fasts” in different ways so as to allow the mysteries of Christ to be made clear by the celebration. The Resurrection of Christ takes pre-eminence and is … [Read more...]

The Advent Wreath

The Advent wreath is a set of four candles which are lit each Sunday of the Advent Season. Three of the candles are violet-colored, and one is rose-colored. The violet candles symbolize faithful expectation, and the rose candle symbolizes joy and hope. These colors mirror the colors of the priest's vestments used during the Sundays of Advent. In earlier times, the season of Advent had stronger penitential and ascetic aspects, and a relaxation of disciplines was offered on the third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for "rejoice", the first words of the Introit. This turn is reflected in the shift from violet to rose. One violet candle is lit on the first evening of Advent (a Sunday). On successive Sundays, the second violet candle is added, then the rose candle on … [Read more...]

First Friday Traditional Latin Mass
December 6, 2019 6:00pm in St Stephen Church

Margaret Mary Alacoque was born on 22 July, 1647 and died on 17 October, 1690. From her early childhood Margaret showed intense love for the Blessed Sacrament, and preferred silence and prayer to childish amusements. Throughout her life Margaret found consolation in the Blessed Sacrament, and Christ made Himself visually apparent to her. This did not surprise her, and she thought others had the same Divine assistance. Although tempted by the luxuries and distractions of the world, Margaret entered the Visitation Convent in 1572, where her visions became known. Because of her perceived “special status,” she was subjected to many trials to prove her vocation. She showed obedience, humility, and invariable charity towards those who persecuted her. First Friday Devotion Jesus recounted … [Read more...]

The Proclamation Thanksgiving

This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America's National day of Thanksgiving, and sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with … [Read more...]

Remember to Pray for the Faithful Departed!

Traditionally, the Church dedicates each month of the year to a certain devotion. In November, we remember the Holy Souls in Purgatory – faithful Christians who have died and gone before us but who still must atone for their sins. The time they spend in Purgatory cleanses them so that they may enter Heaven free from all effects of sin. Praying for the dead, especially for those we have known, is a requirement of Christian charity. Our own prayers and sacrifices can be offered up to relieve their suffering.  The following prayer, among others, can be incorporated into our daily prayers during this month: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. A plenary … [Read more...]

Blessing of the Cemeteries

On All Saints Day, Friday, November 1, 2019, at 11:30am, Msgr. Nalty will bless the St Vincent Cemeteries on Soniat and Loyola Avenue (behind Newman School).  These cemeteries are the resting places for many longtime parishioners of St. Stephen Church, as well as the Vincentian Priests and Daughters of Charity who served our parish for over 150 years.  At 12:00 noon, Msgr. Nalty will bless St Joseph Cemetery located at 2220 Washington Ave. If you care to attend, an indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, is granted to the faithful who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. The indulgence is plenary each day from the 1st to the 8th of November; it is partial on other days of the year. To acquire a plenary indulgence, one must … [Read more...]

All Hallows’ Eve

Halloween or All Hallows' Eve is not a liturgical feast on the Catholic calendar, but the celebration has deep ties to the Liturgical Year. These three consecutive days ”” Halloween, All Saints Day and All Souls Day ”” bring to mind the Communion of Believers. On earth we are called the “Church Militant,” because we are striving to get to heaven.  We pray for the “Church Suffering,” the souls in Purgatory, especially on All Souls Day (and even the entire month of November). We also honor and ask the intercession of the “Church Triumphant,” those souls, whether canonized or uncanonized, who are in Heaven. In England, saints or holy people are called “hallowed,” hence All Saints Day was  “All Hallow's Day.” The evening before the feast became popularly known as “All Hallows' Eve” or even … [Read more...]

Message of His Holiness Pope Francis

For World Mission Day 2019 Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World Dear Brothers and Sisters, For the month of October 2019, I have asked that the whole Church revive her missionary awareness and commitment as we commemorate the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV (30 November 1919). Its farsighted and prophetic vision of the apostolate has made me realize once again the importance of renewing the Church’s missionary commitment and giving fresh evangelical impulse to her work of preaching and bringing to the world the salvation of Jesus Christ, who died and rose again. The title of the present Message is the same as that of October’s Missionary Month: Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World. … [Read more...]