Advent / Christmas Schedule

Mass Times Subject to Change:

Christmas Eve, December 24

MMOP: 4 pm and midnight Mass (caroling begins at 11:15 pm)

SMA: 6 pm - English

SMA: 8:00 pm Mass - Spanish

Christmas Day, December 25

MMOP: 11 am - English (No 7:30 Mass)

SMA: 9:00 am - English

SMA: 12:00 pm - Spanish

 

Feast of Solemnity Eve, December 31

MMOP: 4:00 pm Mass

SMA: 7:00 pm - English

SMA: 4:30 pm - Spanish

Feast of Solemnity Day,January 1

MMOP:  - 7:30 and 11 am - English

SMA: 9:00 am - English

SMA: 12:00 pm - Spanish

The liturgical season of Advent marks the time of spiritual preparation by the faithful before Christmas. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30). It spans four Sundays and four weeks of preparation, although the last week of Advent is usually truncated because of when Christmas falls. (For instance, this year, the fourth Sunday of Advent is obviously on Sunday, and then that evening is Christmas Eve.)

The celebration of Advent has evolved in the spiritual life of the Church. The historical origins of Advent are hard to determine with great precision. In its earliest form, beginning in France, Advent was a period of preparation for the Feast of the Epiphany, a day when converts were baptized; so the Advent preparation was very similar to Lent with an emphasis on prayer and fasting which lasted three weeks and later was expanded to 40 days. In 380, the local Council of Saragossa, Spain, established a three-week fast before Epiphany. Inspired by the Lenten regulations, the local Council of Macon, France, in 581 designated that from Nov. 11 (the Feast of St. Martin of Tours) until Christmas fasting would be required on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Eventually, similar practices spread to England. In Rome, the Advent preparation did not appear until the sixth century, and was viewed as a preparation for Christmas with less of a penitential bent.

The Church gradually more formalized the celebration of Advent. The Gelasian Sacramentary, traditionally attributed to Pope St. Gelasius I (d. 496), was the first to provide Advent liturgies for five Sundays. Later, Pope St. Gregory I (d. 604) enhanced these liturgies composing prayers, antiphons, readings, and responses. Pope St. Gregory VII (d. 1095) later reduced the number of Sundays in Advent to four. Finally, about the ninth century, the Church designated the first Sunday of Advent as the beginning of the Church year.