Category Archives: Feasts

Come, Holy Spirit

On this Solemnity of Pentecost we conclude the fifty days of Eastertide and commemorate the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit who sent the Apostles on mission to proclaim the Gospel. On this Solemnity let us unite our hearts in prayer.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.
V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur.
R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.
Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere; et de eius semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum.


Mosaic from Hagia Sophia, Istanbul.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.” ~John 14:16-17

Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
et emitte caelitus
lucis tuae radium.

Veni, pater pauperum,
veni, dator munerum,
veni, lumen cordium.

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animae,
dulce refrigerium.

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies,
in fletu solatium.

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

Sine tuo numine,
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Da tuis fidelibus,
in te confidentibus,
sacrum septenarium.

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium.

Come, Holy Spirit,
send forth the heavenly
radiance of your light.

Come, father of the poor,
come, giver of gifts,
come, light of the heart.

Greatest comforter,
sweet guest of the soul,
sweet consolation.

In labor, rest,
in heat, temperance,
in tears, solace.

O most blessed light,
fill the inmost heart
of your faithful.

Without your grace,
there is nothing in us,
nothing that is not harmful.

Cleanse that which is unclean,
water that which is dry,
heal that which is wounded.

Bend that which is inflexible,
fire that which is chilled,
correct what goes astray.

Give to your faithful,
those who trust in you,
the sevenfold gifts.

Grant the reward of virtue,
grant the deliverance of salvation,
grant eternal joy.

Come Share the Beauty of Worship

Come celebrate the apostolic faith of the early Christian church.

The Virgin of the Immaculate Conception and St John, c. 1585, Museo de Santa Cruz, Toledo, Spain

Come and worship with us at 11 am Mass on Sunday ~ at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Norfolk, Virginia, Princess Ann Road at Upper Stockley Gardens.

Prelude Sunday at 11:00: Listen Sweet Dove by Grayson Ives (1593-1633)

Listen sweet Dove unto my song,
And spread thy golden wings in me;
Hatching my tender heart so long,
Till it get wing, and flie away with thee.

Such glorious gifts thou didst bestow,
That th’ earth did like a heav’n appeare;
The starres were coming down to know
If they might mend their wages, and serve here.

The sunne, which once did shine alone,
Hung down his head, and wisht for night,
When he beheld twelve sunnes for one
Going about the world, and giving light.

Lord, though we change, thou art the same;
The same sweet God of love and light:
Restore this day, for thy great name,
Unto his ancient and miraculous right.

Proper Communion Sunday at 11:00 a.m.: Factus est repente

Suddenly, a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, in the place where they were sitting, alleluia; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and announced the great things God had done, alleluia, alleluia.

Communion 2, Sunday at 11:00 a.m.: If Ye Love Me    Thomas Tallis (1505-1585)

If ye love me, keep my commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter,
that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth.

Postlude: Toccata en G, by Théodore Dubois (1837-1924)

The Annunciation

The Annunciation, fresco by Fra Angelico in San Marco in Venice.

The Annunciation, fresco by Fra Angelico in San Marco in Venice.

On the Solemnity of the Annunciation, take a few minutes to pray the Angelus.

V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae;
R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.
V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary;
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus. Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen.
V. Ecce ancilla Domini.
R. Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord:
R. Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Ave Maria, gratia plena,……. Hail Mary, full of grace, …..
V. Et Verbum caro factum est.
R. Et habitavit in nobis.
V. And the Word was made flesh:
R. And dwelt among us.
Ave Maria, gratia plena,……. Hail Mary, full of grace, …..
V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus, per passionem eius et crucem, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.
R. Amen.
Let us pray:
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Or, during Easter:

Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia:
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia:
For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia,
Has risen as He said, alleluia.
Pray for us to God, alleluia.
V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, Alleluia,
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.
Deus qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus, ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.
R. Amen.
Let us pray:
O God, who by the Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant we beg Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

Mass During the Day

Ad Missam In Die


I have risen, and I am with you still, alleluia.
You have laid your hand upon me, alleluia.
Too wonderful for me, this knowledge, alleluia, alleluia.

Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, alleluia!
Posuisti super me manum tuam, alleluia!
Mirabilis facta est scientia tua, alleluia, alleluia!

Today we hear the Gloria and the Alleluia that was chanted for the first time since Lent during the Easter Vigil echo during the Mass of the Day. The gospel will be preceded by the chanting of the Victimae Pascalae Laudes.

Christians, to the Paschal victim
Offer your thankful praises!

A Lamb the sheep redeemeth:
Christ, who only is sinless,
Reconcileth sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended
in that combat stupendous:
the Prince of life, who died,
reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
what thou sawest, wayfaring:
“The tomb of Christ, who is living,
the glory of Jesus’ resurrection;

“Bright angels attesting,
the shroud and napkin resting.
“Yea, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he goes before you.”

Christ indeed
from death is risen,
our new life obtaining;
have mercy, victor King,
ever reigning!
Amen. Alleluia!

Victimae paschali laudes
immolent Christiani.

Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri
reconciliavit peccatores.

Mors et vita duello
conflixere mirando:
dux vitae mortuus,
regnat vivus.

Dic nobis Maria,
quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis,
et gloriam vidi resurgentis:

Angelicos testes,
sudarium, et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea:
praecedet suos in Galilaeam.

Scimus Christum
a mortuis vere:
tu nobis, victor Rex,
Amen. Alleluia!

Then after the homily we renew our baptismal vows and are sprinkled with the water blessed during the Paschal Night. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad!

The Holy Night Ablaze with the Light of the Resurrection

When I returned home after the Easter Vigil in the Holy Night, the images of hundreds of little candles lit from the newly blessed Paschal Candle continued to dance and flicker in my imagination as the words of the Exultet echoed in my mind:

May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets.
Christ your Son
who coming back from death’s domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity.

The image of light was so striking in my mind during that Holy Night when the parish church was ablaze with the splendor of the Light of Christ shining as it joined the Lucernaria blazing around the world. Torches blazed, at midnight bells rang in Jerusalem at the very site of our Lord’s resurrection, in the church of the Holy Sepulcher the new fire was brought forth and borne through the streets of Bethlehem.

God has shed the peaceful light of his mercy on humanity through his Son the Morning Star.  This is a lovely allusion to the Biblical text in II Peter 2:19.  “And we have the more firm prophetic word: whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” Jesus come back from the dead and brought forward to life in the Spirit is given the title in the Apocalypse of Saint John “stella splendida et matutina”, the bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16). Christ is that Morning Star through whom God has shed his merciful light upon all humanity. The Paschal Candle blessed during the Holy Night that stands at the head of our assembly during the 50 days of Easter testifies that Jesus is the Light of the world.

This light, this new fire of the Holy Night of Easter Vigil is orienting us to the fire of the Holy Spirit that on the day of Pentecost descended, as if in tongues of flame, on the apostles, and liberated them from fear in order to be bold in their proclamation of the gospel of the resurrection. We will join the apostles at Pentecost, the conclusion of 50 days of Paschaltide; we too have been enlivened by the very fire of the love of God himself.

The Easter Vigil In The Holy Night

Vigilia Paschalis In Nocte Sancta

The Night Shall Be As Bright As Day, Dazzling Is The Night For Me And Full Of Gladness

The Night Shall Be As Bright As Day, Dazzling Is The Night For Me And Full Of Gladness

By most ancient tradition, this is the night of keeping vigil for the Lord, in which following the Gospel admonition the faithful, carrying lighted lamps in their hands, should be like those looking for the Lord when he returns, so that at his coming he may find them awake and have them at his table  (Roman Missal). The missal accentuates that this night’s vigil is the greatest and most noble of all solemnities. This is an ancient vigil laden with the expectation of the Messiah’s coming. Saint Jerome writes, ”It was a tradition among the Jews that the Messiah would come during the night at the hour when the Passover had been celebrated in Egypt…that I think is why we have the tradition from the apostles that the congregation is not to be dismissed before Midnight during the Easter Vigil, since they await the coming of Christ at that hour.”  Anyone who participates in the Mass of the Night may receive Communion again at Mass during the day.

The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night is arranged in four parts. After the Lucernarium and Easter Proclamation, Holy Church meditates on the wonders the Lord God has done for his people from the beginning trusting in his word and promise (The Liturgy of the Word) until as day approaches with new members born in Baptism (the third part) the Church is called to the altar, the memorial of his death and Resurrection until he comes again.

“When the Easter vigil quote ‘speaks’ about initiation, it does so in terms that are a veritable evangelization of the cosmos. Fire, wind, wax, bees, light and darkness, water, oil, nakedness, bread, wine, aromas, tough and graceful words and gestures…” (The Shape of Baptism: The Rite of Christian Initiation, edited by Aidan Kavanagh).

The Solemn Beginning of the Vigil

The Lucernarium

A fire is prepared outside the church (which is the subject of the header photograph of this blog) and the fire is blessed in these words:

Let us pray.
O God, who through your Son
bestowed upon the faithful the fire of your glory,
sanctify+  this new fire, we pray,
and grant that,
by these paschal celebrations,
we may be so inflamed with heavenly desires,
that with minds made pure
we may attain festivities of unending splendor.
Through Christ our Lord.

Why? This noble rite of immense simplicity proclaims the dignity of the created world that the Lord Jesus has redeemed through his death and Resurrection.  The creature fire has been renewed to proclaim the glory of the his holy resurrection.

The sign of the cross is then cut into the candle and the Greek letters Alpha and Omega and the four numerals of the current year are cut into the candle.

Why? Nocent points out: ”He thus expresses in a few word and actions the entire doctrine of Saint Paul on Christ as Lord of the universe.” All creation belongs to him.

candle236The priest then inserts five grains of incense into the candle, saying:

By his holy
and glorious wounds,
may Christ the Lord
guard us and protect us. Amen.

Why? This simple gesture sets for the mystery of the glorious death of the Savior in these words:

The priest then lights the Paschal Candle for the new fire and proclaims:

This is in the words of Kavanagh “a veritable evangelization of the cosmos!”

The Paschal Candle  symbolizes the Risen Christ who has overcome the darkness of death. The Candle symbolizes that Christ was that pillar of fire that lead our ancestors through the desert to the promise land.  The deacon chants:  LUMEN CHRISTI! to which we respond: DEO GRATIAS!  The church begins to flood with the blaze of hundreds of candles. A thrilling moment in which we enter into the joy that through God’s mercy sin and death are destroyed. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Jesus is the true light that has come into the world to enlighten everyone, and the darkness cannot overcome it. Such a simple and clear and direct ritual unfolds for us the truth of the Gospel. God is light and in him there is no darkness (Jn. 1:5). And this ritual anticipates that in a few minutes our catechumens will be rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the kingdom of light. And this simple ritual moves us forward to that Eternal Day when in the heavenly Jerusalem there will be no need of moon or sun because God’s glory is its source of light and the Lamb its lamp (Rev. 22:5. See also Is. 60:19).

The deacon brings the Paschal candle into the Sanctuary, proclaiming, "Lumen Christi!" during the Easter Vigil, Saint Benedict Catholic Church, Richmond Virginia, April 19, 2014.

The deacon brings the Paschal candle into the Sanctuary, proclaiming, “Lumen Christi!” during the Easter Vigil, Saint Benedict Catholic Church, Richmond Virginia, April 19, 2014.

The Liturgy Of The Word

The core of the mother of all Vigils is the extended reading of the Scriptures. Three readings from the Law, four from the Prophets and an Epistle and the Gospel of the Resurrection and their respective Psalms provide a rich fare from which the Risen Christ feeds us on this our annual Passover Feast. This extended service of readings in the light of the Paschal Candle speaks of the truth that the Risen Christ himself is teaching us in this final instruction of those to be baptized.

The Readings are here in once place.

The first three reading from the Law speak of creation, sacrifice and freedom. In Genesis we read of the first creation in light of the Exultet just proclaimed in that the Eternal Word through whom all thing have come to be, has been incarnate in the world to bring about a new creation. Thus “ Be glad, let the earth rejoice as glory floods her, ablaze with light from her eternal King. Man whom God created in his image, male and female he created him, has been recreated. “ O happy fault that earned so great a Redeemer!  Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the Eternal Father.

In the second reading we hear the account of Abraham and Isaac and we read them of types of a great mystery revealed in our sight. God did not spare his Son but handed him over for our sake. And the rescue of Isaac turns our thoughts to the Resurrection of Christ. The prophecy of old has been brought to fulfillment on this night all throughout the world as baptism is celebrated and the supreme Father of the faithful increase children of the promise by pouring out the grace of baptism

In the third proclamation we hear the account of the Exodus in a prose narrative followed by a poetic rendering in the Canticle of Miriam. Once again the readings unfold the Exultet:  This is the night when once you led our forefathers, Israel’s children, from slavery in Egypt and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.

The Prophetic readings:

Isaiah 54:5-14  “The one who has become your husband is your Maker.” This prophetic text comes to fulfillment in the words of the Exultet:  “O truly blessed night, when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human.”  Through baptism into Christ we are drawn into a union with the living God. The church has been born from the blood and water flowing from his pierced side and is truly his spouse. The lush imagery of the city with all its sapphires and rubies and walls of precious stones speaks of the radiance of the church who is the Bride of Christ. “In justice shall you be established” and in truth we have been justified through Christ and are at peace with God. The destruction of death shall not come near us since our enemy death has been annihilated through the death of Christ. As the Psalmist chants:  “You did not let my enemies,” that is death, “rejoice over me.” Thanks be to God who has given us the victory through Christ Jesus who has turned our mourning into dancing.

Isaiah 55:1-11  “All who are thirsty come to the waters.” The prophetic text that invites the catechumen to baptism is a text that promises all of us that the Lord will give us the very Bread of Angels. “Come, receive grain and eat, drink wine and milk!”  And the text continues: “so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth, my word shall not return to the void, but shall do my will.” The Word of which the prophet speaks is the Eternal Word that has become incarnate in Jesus who has come to do the will of the Father.  So then as the psalmist chants: “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.”  The words bear a mystery hidden from ages past but now revealed in Jesus in whom we are baptized.  The baptismal font from which flows the grace of Christ which fills us with joy: “My strength and courage is the Lord and he has been my Savior!”

Baruch 3:9-15, 32:-4:4  This text drawn from the wisdom tradition of ancient Israel is brought to its fulfillment in Jesus Christ who is the Wisdom of God incarnate.  The lovely personification of the stars: “before whom the stars at their posts shine and rejoice which he calls them, they answer, ‘Here we are!'” shining with joy for their Maker. Like the stars we too are called to shine for our Maker and answer: “Here we are!” We are eager to embrace the wisdom of God that he has revealed to us in Christ through whom we have the words of everlasting life.  The law of the Lord of which the psalmist speaks is the New Law, that is the Holy Spirit who has been poured into the hearts of those who believe.  We can trust that if we conduct our lives according to our baptismal dignity, our hearts will rejoice. The Law of the Lord is indeed “more precious that gold and sweeter than syrup.”

Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28  This prophet’s text speaks of our transformation in Christ. Whereas sin scatters and divides, grace unites and transforms.  “I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statues.”  What a powerful affirmation of grace. The Lord not only forgives us of sin but he can change our heart and his grace strengthen us to live by his statutes. May we never underestimate the power of grace that flows from our baptism into Christ. We must only desire to grow in union with him, as the psalmist chants:  “Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.” We will soon go to the altar of God and be filled with Easter Eucharist that fills us with gladness and joy on this night when in the words of the Exultet:  “The sanctifying power of this night dispels wickedness, washes faults away, restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners, drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.” What a wonderful night when all over the world from the grandeur of Saint Peter in Rome to a humble chapel – the whole church rejoices as she draws nearer to the font in which hearts are made clean and new life begins.

After the readings from the scriptures of ancient Israel in the light of the Paschal Candle that opens up for us the mystery of this night, the altar candles are lit, bells are rung and the church rejoices as she chants the Gloria. Once again the words of the Exultet ring out:  “Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice, arrayed with the lightning of his glory, let this holy building shake with joy.”  We fill the church with the mighty voices of all God’s people as we chant GLORIA!

Romans 6:3-11  In the Epistle Saint Paul sets forth a very developed theology of baptism. Can you imagine the joy all over the world during this Paschal night as these words ring in the hearts of the newly baptized: “Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death …so that just as Christ was raised form the dead …we too might live in the newness of life.” Life in Christ is a life of freedom. In the words of the Exultet: “O love, O charity beyond all telling, to ransom a slave you gave away your Son.” We have freedom in Christ for as Saint Paul says, for freedom we have been set free!

The all rise and the priest solemnly intones the Alleluia three times, raising his voice by a step each time as the cantor proclaims: “The stone which the builders rejected has been the cornerstone. It is wonderful in our eyes.” And on the Holy Night, the Gospel of the Resurrection is proclaimed which we anticipated in the Exultet: “This is the night when Christ broke the prison bars of death and rose victorious from the underworld!”

Baptismal Liturgy

bapt17The cantors begin the chanting the litany of the Saints that leads to the blessing of the water. Delight in the beautiful prayer of the Blessing of the Baptismal Water which evokes the image of the Spirit who hovered over the waters at the time of the creation; now that same Spirit hovers over the waters of the font to bring about a new creation in Christ. Calling to mind the waters of the great flood, the waters of the Red Sea, the waters of the Jordan and the waters flowing from the wounded side of Jesus, the church prepares herself to fulfill the command of her Lord to baptize all nations.  The movement of the ritual from the rejection of sin to the profession of faith that leads to baptism, the clothing with the white garment, the sealing with chrism, the candle lit from the Paschal candle form a lovely ritual sequence that unfolds the meaning of the epistle just proclaimed: “All you not aware that we who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” What great gift it is to be sealed with the Holy Spirit. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem in the fourth century put it this way: “He has anointed your forehead with oil, in the form of the seal you have received from God; this was that the seal might be impressed upon you and you might be consecrated to God.” The newly baptized and newly confirmed whose foreheads are glistening with the Holy Chrism will soon eat the Body and drink the Blood of the dead and risen Jesus who pledges eternal life. The Easter Eucharist is indeed the high point of the Vigil.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

The Easter Vigil is indeed a veritable evangelization the cosmos and a liturgy of such beauty laden with so many symbols and rituals. However, such beauty does not eclipse the fact that the Mass of the Vigil is the most solemn of the year.  The Eucharist is the Passover of the Church. The Eucharist is the manifestation of the Risen Christ. There would be no Eucharist if there were no Resurrection. This evening is very special in that the newly baptized among us will receive Holy Communion for the first time. The sacrament is our encounter with the Risen Jesus and the most excellent of mysteries is the center of the whole Christian life.

“Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed; let us then feast with joy in the Lord.”

The liturgy concludes with the dismissal with the added alleluias. with which we welcome the 50 days of Paschaltide.

Ash Wednesday

Fresco of Saint Dominic adoring the Crucifixion

Fresco of Saint Dominic adoring the Crucifixion. Fresco by Fra Angelico in San Marco, in Florence.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
Proclaim a fast,
call an assembly.

These words of the prophet Joel summon us to come to Mass this Wednesday for the imposition of ashes. This simple ritual invites us to accept our Lord’s invitation to embrace the Lenten discipline of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as we journey to the Paschal Triduum.

Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk invites you to be a part of this assembly. Mass will be celebrated at 6:30 am, noon, and 7 pm.

The Seven Penitential Psalms And The Songs Of The Suffering Servant.

Candlemas, February 2

CandlemasThe Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is one of the ancient Feasts of the early Christian church. The candlelight procession at the beginning of the liturgy reminds us that we are called to bear the light of the truth of the Gospel to all whom we encounter in our daily life.

Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem in a sermon in the 7th century said:

“Our bright shining candles are a sign of divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.”

Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Norfolk, Virginia will celebrate Mass Tuesday, February 2 at 5:30 pm for the Presentation. All are welcome.

To learn about this feast of the ancient Christian church, read:

Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine,
secundum verbum tuum in pace:

Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum

Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

Quod parasti ante faciem omnium populorum:

Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.

A light for revelation to the Gentiles
and the glory of your people Israel.

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace,
in accordance with your word.

A light for revelation to the Gentiles
and the glory of your people Israel.

For my eyes have seen your salvation,

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace,
in accordance with your word.

Which your prepared in the sight of all peoples.

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace,
in accordance with your word.
Luke 2:29-32

Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion, et suscipe Regem Christum:
amplectere Mariam, quae est coelestis porta:
[amplectere Messiam gratulare huiusce matri:]
ipsa enim portat Regem gloriae novi luminis.
Subsistit Virgo, adducens manibus Filium ante luciferum genitum:
quem accipiens Simeon in ulnas suas praedicavit populis
Dominum eum esse vitae et mortis et Salvatorem mundi.

Adorn thy bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ the King:
embrace Mary, who is the gate of heaven,
[embrace the Messiah and congratulate this mother}
who herself truly brings the glorious King of new light.
She remains a virgin, though bearing in her hands a Son begotten before the daystar,
whom Simeon, taking him in his arms, proclaimed to the people
to be the Lord of life and death, and Saviour of the world.

Merry Christmas

May our incarnate Lord bestow his many blessings upon you and your family on this Christmastime.

During this Christmas may we keep in our prayers in a special way our persecuted brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

I also share with you this beautiful Arabic Christmas hymn.

This Christmas I pray in hope that one day the Middle East, the birthplace of Our Savior, may be at peace and that Christians be an important part of the future of the Middle East. May the Lord once again reign in human hearts that seek the good of their brethren: Muslim, Jew, and Christian.

Come Worship With Us, Christmas Eve

Come to Mass at 10 p.m. tonight, Christmas Eve, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Norfolk, Virginia to worship the newborn King. Christmas Carols will be sung starting at 9:30 p.m. We will have beautiful music for the season:

Prelude: La Nativité, Jean Langlais

O Magnum Mysterium, Francis Poulenc

Christmas Day, Gustav Holst

In Dulci Jubilo, Robert Lucas Pearsall

All Bells in Paradise, John Rutter

O Magnum Mysterium, Thomás Luis de Victoria

Postlude: Toccata en G, Théodore Dubois