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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.