Dear Friends in Christ,
Next week is the last Sunday of this Liturgical Year, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, and we will keep the feast with especially glorious music at the 9 and 11 am Masses. Then on Sunday evening at 7 pm, the choral ensemble Concordiae will perform a concert of sacred music under the direction of our choirmaster Arlen Clarke.
The Church’s patrimony of sacred music is one of the richest artistic treasures of Western Civilization, and among the brightest jewels of that great treasury are the works of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. On the program next Sunday is Bach’s setting of the Virgin Mary’s great hymn of praise, the Magnificat, followed by Part One of Handel’s famous oratorio, Messiah. So celebrate the end of the Liturgical Year with Mass next Sunday morning and a glorious concert on Sunday evening, and bring a friend to join us in worshipping the Lord in the beauty of holiness. There is no charge to attend the concert, but a free will offering is requested to support the work of the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists in helping young musicians take their place in the Church to lead divine worship for future generations.
If next week is the feast of Christ the King, that means that two weeks from now is the beginning of Advent and the start of a new Year of Grace. This will be our tenth year of celebrating choral Vespers at 5 pm on each of the four Sundays of Advent, and we invite every member of the parish to experience this sublime way of praying at least once as a preparation for Christmas. Each celebration of Vespers takes about 30 minutes, with the congregation and the schola cantorum alternating in singing the Psalms and Canticles appointed for Evening Prayer. There is no homily and no collection, just half an hour of sacred silence, plainchant and polyphony. So, if you have never shared in the Church’s evening sacrifice of praise, let this Advent be the time when you discover the most important form of Christian prayer after the Holy Eucharist: Sunday Vespers.
Finally, in the next two weeks we will welcome Bishop Guglielmone to celebrate Confirmation in English on 18 November and the retired Bishop of St. Augustine, Victor Galeone, to celebrate Confirmation in Spanish on 25 November. During the Spanish Mass, the confirmands of St. Mary’s will be joined by those from our neighbors in the mission of San Sebastian, and between the two Masses, nearly 100 young Catholics will receive the seal and gifts of the Holy Spirit to complete the work of grace that was begun at their Baptism. Please pray for those who are professing their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and taking their place as his witnesses in the world.