Our new liturgical year began last Sunday and we begin our second week in this new sea
son of Advent today. Advent is our season each year to prepare ourselves for Jesus’ birthday on Christmas Day as well as Jesus coming at the end of time (either the end of creation or the end of our lives). This year our readings come from Cycle B, which is based on the gospel of Mark. The church colors for Advent are purple, a rare and expensive color in the ancient world (the color of kings), and the lighter rose (pink) color on the third Sunday of Advent, a joyful color reminding us the Christmas is very close. Purple is also the color used during Lent, becoming identified as a color of suffering when bloody Jesus was mocked by the Roman soldiers who placed a purple
cloak over his shoulders after he received 40 lashes shortly before he was crucified.
This Tuesday, December 8th, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, after which the
Osakis parish is named. Technically this feast day is a Holy Day of Obligation for all Catholics, but being the strange year it has been, the pope and bishops have temporarily removed the obligation to attend Mass. The term “Immaculate Conception” refers to Mary’s conception in her mother’s womb, St. Anne, being conceived free from the stain of original sin as a gift from God who chose her to be the future mother of his Son.
This feast is not about Jesus’ conception in Mary’s womb as many Catholics believe, even though the readings for this feast might mislead us to think so.
The doctrine of Mary’s Immaculate Conception was not dogmatically defined until
1854 by Pope Pius IX, though it was a widely held belief in the church since antiquity. The Masses for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception this Tuesday will be at 9am in Osakis and at 6:30pm Tuesday evening in Belle River. Wednesday and Thursday Masses will be at their normal times unless a funeral is scheduled for that day.
The possibility of not having enough room to allow everyone who wishes to attend
Christmas/Christmas Eve Masses to be able to attend due to space restrictions has been a topic of our parish and finance councils, as well as the diocese. Bishop Kettler is willing to give permission to celebrate Christmas Eve Masses before 4pm (normally the earliest time possible) this year only, in order to accommodate more people into church with multiple early Masses. I received permission to celebrate a 3pm Christmas Eve Mass in Belle River and a 5pm Mass in Osakis. The Christmas day Mass schedule will remain the same as Sunday morning Masses in both parishes.
A Paynesville parishioner was volunteered by his pastor to help Fr. Peter (Millerville cluster) and/or myself to advise and assist us to install a TV in our church basements, a video camera wherever it is most appropriate to video the altar, and sound equipment if we wished. Fr. Peter and I are both using this parishioner to install these items in our basement or other remote location. The estimated cost was $1500 (for the equipment we buy). Fr. Peter is also going to install TV screens in or near the sanctuary so those attending Mass can follow the readings and other parts of Mass. Please let me know if you think we should consider this after Christmas. I picked up one TV for each parish at Best Buy last week, and one camera for each parish (total cost at this point is under ($1000). I plan to buy a TV wall mount, but we can put the TV on a table for now. I am hoping parishioners may have a couple speakers they can donate, either temporarily or permanently, one set for each parish. I will need help getting the cabling in place. The Paynesville parishioner will program everything and advise volunteers with the setup. St.
Nicholas pastoral council suggested several knowledgeable individuals who would likely help. I am hoping we can find a few volunteers to help with Osakis. Please contact me if you are interested.