A treasured moment from Christmas weekend

Many sights and sounds over the weekend were wonderful - not the least of which were the bursting-at-the seams crowds at our liturgies. It's a joy, a real joy for me when all the folks come home!

But my favorite moment?

We've a custom at all the Christmas liturgies in my parish of singing Silent Night before the prayer after Communion. It's simple, it's beautiful and even folks who haven't opened their mouths through the whole Mass sometimes join in singing this carol.

As I told the people after singing Silent Night, "How good it is for us to be in prayer together. How important is the presence of each one of us for all the others and how important is the presence of us all for each individual."

At the risk of offering a subjective point of view, our Christmas liturgies were prayerful, beautiful and reverent in spite of the crowded conditions. The music was soul-lifting and the preaching solid. (A visiting priest proclaimed and preached on the long form of Matthew's gospel, the genealogy of Jesus, in masterful fashion. One of the strongest Christmas homilies I've ever heard!) Aside from the fact that many had to stand for the whole time, I can't think of anyone leaving one of those Masses without having had a good experience of praise and prayer, word and sacrament. Unfortunately, that will not be enough to bring some of those folks back again until Easter...

Still, Silent Night will echo in my memory and in my heart for at least the 12 days of Christmas and maybe longer...


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  1. ...Silent Night will echo in my memory and my heart too...

    you said:

    "How important is the presence of each one of us for all the others and how important is the presence of us all for each individual."

    I can't really explain it (to others or myself), but this statement has so much meaning for me, somehow-
    (I pray that God knows how, and I pray for God to help me understand... )

    but, I do know, that the feeling I had was-- good.

    I can't explain the feeling, in words, but it just made me feel something different- some kind of hope, maybe.

  2. It sounds lovely. Every blessing of this remarkable season to you dear Austin.

    God bless you and all who grace these pages.

  3. I watched The Kennedy Center Honors last night. One of the commercials was a "Catholics Come Home" ad. I imagine that was an expensive endeavor, but in my mind very timely. Christmas is one of the occasions when many Catholics do come home to church. Perhaps, by reinforcing a welcoming message heard at Christmas Mass, the ad gave an additional boost of encouragement to those who have been away.



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