News from San Antonio Church – January 10, 2021

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Weekly Bulletin January 10, 2021

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday we commemorate the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River and the end of the Christmas Season.  In the Roman Catholic Church, the Baptism of the Lord is observed as a distinct feast in the Roman Rite, the manner of celebrating the sacraments and other ecclesiastical ceremonies authorized by the Diocese of Rome.  At one time, the Baptism of Christ was celebrated on Epiphany which commemorates the coming of the Magi, the baptism of Christ and the wedding at Cana.  The Baptism of the Lord was originally one of three Gospel events marked by the Feast of the Epiphany until Pope Pius XII instituted a separate liturgical commemoration of the Baptism in 1955.  In the history of the church, The Tridentine Calendar had no feast of the Baptism of the Lord for almost four centuries. 

It is celebrated in the Catholic Church and also the Anglican and Lutheran Churches on the 1st Sunday following the Epiphany of Our Lord.  In Eastern Churches this feast is called Theophany (Manifestation of God) because at the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan God appeared in three persons.  The Baptism of Christ in the Jordan is the second Epiphany or manifestation of the Lord; the past, the present, and the future are made manifest in this Epiphany.  At the time of His Baptism, Jesus descended into the River Jordan to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget the Son of God.  This important event is of the second creation which the entire trinity intervenes.

Many of the incidents that took place at Christ’s baptism are symbols of what happened at our own Baptism.  At Christ’s Baptism, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, he was proclaimed the “Beloved Son “of The Father and the heavens were opened to him.  At our own Baptism, the Trinity entered our soul, we became the adopted sons and daughters of God and heaven was opened to all of us.

On this Sunday in Rome, the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, our Pope will baptize babies in the Sistine Chapel, a custom initiated by Pope John Paul II.  A prayer to honor the Baptism:  Almighty ever-living God, who when Christ had been Baptized in the River Jordan and as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be well pleasing to you.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

News from San Antonio Church – January 3, 2021

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Weekly Bulletin January 3, 2021

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday, we honor the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the whole world as represented by the Magi from the East. The traditional date for Epiphany is January 6th , but is celebrated on the closest Sunday and honors the day the Wise Men reached Bethlehem – the day of the revelation of Jesus’ Birth.  It is sometimes called the Baptism of Jesus, Three Kings Day and in some traditions celebrated as Little Christmas.  Epiphany may have been originated in the Greek-speaking eastern half of the Roman Empire as a feast to honor the Baptism of Jesus.  An early reference to Epiphany as a Christian Feast was in 361 A.D. by Ammimanus Marcellinus, a Roman soldier and historian who recorded many of the events of the early church.

The time frame of Epiphany includes the commemoration of His birth; the visit of the Magi, all the events in Jesus’ childhood which includes the Baptism of John the Baptist and the miracle (changing water into wine) at the wedding at Cana in Galilee.  In many cities throughout Italy, a traditional Epiphany procession will move through the streets, leading to a Nativity scene. On the Feast of the Epiphany, throughout Europe, the priest will wear white vestments as he blesses Epiphany water, Frankincense, Gold and Chalk.  The chalk will be used to write the initials of the three Magi, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar over the doors of churches and homes.  The initials in Latin are interpreted as Christus Mansionem Benedicat or May Christ Bless this House.

Today, we will bless the chalk to take to our homes for a New Year’s Blessing.  In ancient times, the priest would announce the date of Easter on the Feast of the Epiphany, a tradition that dated from a time when calendars were not readily available. It was necessary for the church to publicize the date of Easter since many celebrations of the Liturgical Year depended on it. The announcement of the date would be sung or proclaimed at the Ambo by a Deacon, Cantor, or Reader after the reading of the Gospel or after the post communion prayer. 

In Italy, children will await a visit on the eve of Epiphany by a woman known as La Befana, “The Italian Christmas Witch”.  The legend tells of a friendly Italian witch who rides around on a broomstick looking for the Wise Men who are on the road to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus.  She declined their offer to accompany them on their journey because she was too busy doing her housework.  So now all Italian children will wait for a visit from La Befana, the good hearted and hardworking old woman who will bring treats to the children. The name la Befana comes from the Greek word Epifania, the Italian name for the religious feast, Epiphany.

News from San Antonio Church – December 27, 2020

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin December 27, 2020

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday, the Feast of Holy Family, Holy Family Parish celebrates  Jesus, Mary and Joseph who are considered as a model for all Christian families.  Every year, Holy Family holds this day as a special celebration honoring the holiest of families and all that characterized their common life at Nazareth.  Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and her chaste spouse, Joseph lived the Christian reflection around the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Chastity and Loving Obedience.  The episodes from this period of Christ’s life are narrated by Matthew and Luke with this time covering His circumcision and the Presentation, the flight to Egypt, the return to Nazareth and The Finding in the Temple.  Members of the Holy Family are the patrons of the Congregation of the Holy Cross with the Holy Cross Sisters dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, The Holy Cross Brothers dedicated  to St. Joseph and the Priests of the Holy Cross devoted to the Holy Family.

On Thursday, December 31st, we celebrate New Years Eve and St. Sylvester’s Night.  Many will  celebrate this evening eating lentils and wearing something with the color red to bring good luck for the New Year.  The Feast of St. Sylvester (San Silvestro) is celebrated to honor the priest who was born in Rome and became the spiritual director to the Emperor Constantine.  He was known for his hospitality for the Christians who were passing through Rome by inviting them to eat at his table and giving them Charity in the name of Christ.  He is considered the patron saint of people in authority who are  experiencing delicate situations and is venerated in Pisa where he was considered a great Pope.

On Friday, we welcome 2021 while celebrating New Years Day and the first day of the Gregorian year.  There will be certain foods eaten and an ancient Roman New Years tradition is to gift family and friends with branches of greenery for good luck.  In pre-Christian Rome, the day was dedicated to Janus, the god of gateways and new beginnings, for whom the 1st month of the year, January is named.  On this day in Anglican and Lutheran Churches, the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ is honored.  This commemoration is based on the belief that if Jesus was born on December 25th, and according to Hebrew tradition, his circumcision would have taken place on January 1st, the 8th day of his life.  The Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God on this day.

On January, 3rd, we will celebrate  Epiphany with the Blessing of the Chalk to take home and bless our homes for the New Year.

News from San Antonio Church – December 20, 2020

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin December 20, 2020

by Terrie Evans

We send our condolences to the family of Grace (Ciuccio)  Nusekabel  who passed away on Monday, December 7th at the age of 91.  Grace was from the Vito Ciuccio family who during the early years lived at 1958 Queen city Avenue in the Upper Lick Run area of South Fairmount.  Grace was married to Bernie for 64 years when he passed away in 2017 and leaves 5 Children and their families.  Over the years, San Antonio Church looked forward to the yearly visit from the extended Ciuccio Family for a Mass every May.  Please keep the Nusekabel and Ciuccio’ Families in your prayers.

On this Sunday we light the last purple candle with Love being the theme for the final week of Advent.   On December 21st, Winter begins  and in Italy, it is the week of the  Festival of Saturnalia an ancient Roman Celebration that started on December 17th and ends on Christmas Eve.  This winter solstice ritual takes place when the sun is at its lowest and weakest and is considered the turning point of the year when the light will begin to grow stronger and brighter.  Many  families  light candles to chase away the darkness as they decorate their homes with greenery, yule logs, evergreens and mistletoe.  The Romans called this week in December  Dies Natalis Invicti Solis “The Birthday of the Unconquered Sun”.   

On Thursday, we celebrate Christmas Eve (La Vigilia) when fish will be served at most Italian tables  as a way to  purify the body for the  big feast planned for Christmas Day.   Baccala (Salted Cod) and vegetables will be served for their evening meal before attending Midnight Mass and arriving home to place the Bambino in His crib.  In Italian  homes, presents have been placed in a large crock called the Urn of Fate.  This gift exchange will take place after Midnight Mass. 

On Friday morning, we will attend mass at San Antonio Church to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity at our 9:00 AM Mass.  As we light our white Christ Candle, we honor the tradition of Jesus’s  birth in Bethlehem.  The traditional colors for Christmas decorations are red, green and gold.  Red symbolizes the blood of Jesus that was shed in his Crucifixion and green  from the evergreen tree, symbolizing  eternal life as the evergreen does not lose its leaves in winter.  The gold color used on the Altar symbolizes royalty to recall  one of the gifts of the Magi.  Buono Natale. 

Saturday, December 26th,  we celebrate the feast of St. Stephen and a day for spending time with family members and close friends.  St. Stephen was known as one of the 1st Social Workers of the Church who devoted his life to feeding the poor.  He was venerated as the patron saint of horses who were considered the most useful servants of man.  In some places, horses are still blessed in front of churches on St. Stephen’s Day.  

News from San Antonio Church – December 13, 2020

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin December 13, 2020

by Terrie Evans

On this 3rd week of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) we light our rose colored candle as we look forward to the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming.  Gaudete Sunday  is a counterpart to Laetare Sunday  and is the midpoint in an otherwise penitential time in this liturgical season.  Referred to as Rejoice Sunday, coming  from the fact that Advent is half over and Christmas is soon to follow.  The reading for Gaudete Sunday deals with rejoicing in the Lord  as well as the connection with John the Baptist and his connection with Advent.  This Sunday takes its  name from the Latin word Gaudete or Rejoice, the first word of the introit of this day’s Mass to symbolize the promised Redemption.  Gaudete Sunday is also called Rose Sunday with flowers being permitted on the Altar.  Pope Francis said in one of his past homily’s, that Gaudete Sunday is known as the “Sunday of Joy” and instead of fretting about all we still haven’t done  to prepare for Christmas, we should  “think of all the good things life has given us.”

This is also Bambinelli Sunday, a tradition that was started by Pope John Paul II when thousands of people will travel to St. Peters Square with their Baby Jesus figurines from their home nativity scenes for a special blessing.  Pope Francis will bless the tiny bambinello at the time of his Angelus Address.  During Advent in Italy, many families will make small sacrifices and do good deeds for the Child Jesus.  Every time they complete one of those  deeds, the family will add a piece of straw to His manger.  On Christmas Day, the Baby Jesus will be placed in the empty creche that is made comfortable by their many acts of charity.  

This Sunday, December 13th is also the Feast Day of Santa Lucia (St. Lucy)  known as the Queen of Light.  She was the 4th Century Italian Saint that carried food to the Christians hiding out in the tunnels below Sicily.  Santa Lucia is said to have worn candles in a circle  on the top of her head to light the way.  On her feast day in Italy, many will refrain from eating bread with families making  a dessert called  Cuccia, made from whole wheat berries, sweetened ricotta with candied orange and topped with chocolate shavings.  It is a tradition throughout Italy, on Santa Lucia Day, for young girls to enter their parents bedrooms before dawn  dressed in white gowns with red sashes as lighted candles are affixed on their  heads as they serve them breakfast.  She is considered the patron saint of Virgins and the Blind.

News from San Antonio Church – December 6, 2020

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin December 6, 2020

by Terrie Evans

The theme for this 2nd Sunday of Advent is Peace as we are getting closer to the birth of Jesus and the celebration of Christmas.  The peace we feel internally  is the basis of all external peace within families, the community, society and the world and is a condition of the heart and mind of one who is renewed and justified in Christ.  It  is considered  a quality that characterizes those  who have received new life from God and have entered into an eternal relationship with him.  Peace accompanies righteousness and comes to the soul through the cross of Christ that reconciles us to God and one another. 

Next Sunday, we remember the tradition of Bambinelli Sunday when we bring in our baby Jesus’ from our home Creches for a blessing.  During this week in 1940,  80 years ago, our church  building that we worship in at present was formally dedicated.  This was our 3rd church  building since the start of San Antonio in 1922 that know would become the  permanent home for our parishioners and their families to worship in.  When the new building was in in the planning stages, all the  families donated to the capital campaign to cover the  many  costs of a functional modern  church.  Many  local businesses  were very kind to our church community who worked with our tight budget to get the job done.  On that Sunday in 1940, our new church  held the formal dedication that renewed the faith of all those who were excited to be in attendance for the 1st Mass.  They were finally home and were looking forward to the New Year of 1941, for  future weddings, baptisms and parish functions.    

As San Antonio celebrated  its 1st Anniversary on December 7, 1941, the day went from a joyous milestone  to a day of sadness with the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Our church community was changed forever on that morning as many of the neighborhood men enlisted  in the many branches of our Armed Forces.  These  men from immigrant parents were proud to serve our country even though they would be sent away to  participate in unknown battles and  maybe never return. 

We remember all of them and those from The Greatest Generation on Monday, December 7th, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  This day is set aside  to honor the 2,403 United States citizens  killed on that morning.  We will never forget  the sinking of USS Arizona with 1,177 crew lost, the USS Utah with 58 men lost, the USS Oklahoma  with 429 lost, the 159 planes that were badly damaged and the  188 aircraft destroyed  in the surprise attack that brought all our families into a war.  We salute all our WWII Veterans on this 79th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  

News from San Antonio Church – November 29, 2020

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin November 29, 2020

by Terrie Evans

On November 29th,  we celebrate the first Sunday of the  4 weeks of  Advent  known as a time of penitence and fasting and at one time referred to as the Nativity Fast or the Fast of December.  It is said that the  celebration of Advent began in the 5th century when Bishop Perpetuus directed this Liturgical Season  to start on the feast of St. Martin of Tours on November 11th and end at Christmas.  At the time in the history of the Church, everyone  fasted 3 times per week which was  called  “Lent of St. Martin”  a practice that lasted  until the 6th Century.  Around 1917, the Roman Catholic Church abolished the rule of fasting but kept the season of Advent as a season of penitence.  During that time, activities such as dancing and all  social festivities were also forbidden until the 3rd Sunday of Lent, Rose Sunday. 

Advent always commences on the 4th Sunday before Christmas and  on the Sunday nearest to the Feast of St. Andrew  (Monday, November 30th).  Every year we set up our Advent wreath as a way for us to keep Christ at the center of our Christmas celebration.  The Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans around the 16th Century and by 1839, the wreath  that we know use  was accepted in churches.  Our Advent wreath is adorned with three violet and one pink candle with a 5th  white candle (Christ Candle) to be lit on Christmas Day.  The  greenery and  holly  of the wreath signify  victory, a sign of life, hope, peace as well as the struggle against darkness.  The round shape of the wreath also represents the symbol of Christ the King with the holly recalling the crown of thorns resting on the head of Christ. 

Each Sunday during Advent we follow the Catholic tradition of lighting one of the four candles with each one representing one thousand years, to total 4,000 years from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of the Savior.  Each one of the 4 candles symbolize the stages of salvation before the coming of the Messiah with the 1st being the symbol of the forgiveness that was granted to Adam and Eve.  On this 1st Sunday of Advent, we light the 1st Purple Candle, known as the Prophecy Candle for the prophets, and (Isaiah) who foretold the birth of Christ.  The readings for this Sunday, are for all of us to look forward to the Second coming of Christ.   

News from San Antonio Church – November 22, 2020

We would like to thank everyone who has continued to contribute to the ongoing expenses of San Antonio Church by mailing in their weekly envelopes or by contributing electronically utilizing WeShare . The buttons at the bottom of this post allow you to make online donations directly to the listed account for San Antonio Church.

Weekly Bulletin November 15, 2020

by Terrie Evans

Our San Antonio Church community sends their prayers and condolences to Vince and Jean (Pfeiffenberger) Cerchio on the passing of her father, Robert  Pfeiffenberger at the age of 90.  He  was husband to the late Lilian, proud Veteran of the USMC, Dad to 6, Grand and Great Granddad to 21.  His funeral Mass was held at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church.  On Saturday, we honor the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary associated with Mary’s parents Joachim and Anne receiving a heavenly message that the childless couple would welcome a child. 

After Mary’s Birth and while still a young child, her parents brought her to the Temple in Jerusalem in thanksgiving and to consecrate her to God.  In the Roman Catholic Church “We celebrate that dedication of herself which Mary made to God from her very childhood under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who filles her with grace.”  In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, this is one of the days when women named Mary (In Greek Mapia) celebrate their name day.  The Feast of the Presentation is also referred to as “Pro Orantibus Day” a day of prayer for cloistered religious as they set a time for total dedication to God in prayer, silence, and concealment. 

Sunday, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.  Also known as the “Feast of Christ the King” was instituted by Pope Pius XI for the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church in 1925.  The Pope in his encyclical “Quas Primas”, stated he instituted this feast in response to growing secularism and nationalism at the time in the history of the Church.  The “Feast of Christ the King” has an eschatological dimension which points to the end of time.  At that time the Kingdom of Jesus will then be established in all its fullness to all the ends of the earth.  The “Feast of Christ the King” on Sunday, November 22nd leads into Advent when the Church anticipates the second coming of Christ.  The liturgical vestments for this feast are  white or gold with keeping with other joyous feasts honoring Christ.  In Anglican and Protestant Churches Christ the King Sunday is the last Sunday in their Liturgical year. 

On Thursday, November 26th  we celebrate Thanksgiving Day by giving thanks as we spend time with our families and friends.  Next Sunday, November 29th we will celebrate the 1st Sunday of Advent for the next three weeks until the anticipation of The Nativity of the Lord, on Friday, December 25th, Christmas Day.