Christmas Schedule 2021

Friday, 12/24, Today is a day of abstinence in preparation for the feast of Christmas
9:00 a.m. No scheduled intention for the Divine Liturgy

Saturday, 12/25, The Nativity of Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ
9:45 a.m. Great Compline (the “God with us” service)
10:30 a.m. For the people of the parish
—Anointing at the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy

A Prayer for the Nativity Fast

Lord Jesus, You have come so many times to us and found no resting place; forgive us for our overcrowded lives, our vain haste, and our preoccupation with self. Come again, O Lord, and though our hearts are a jumble of voices and our minds overlaid with many fears, find a place however humble, where You can begin to work Your wonder as You create peace and joy within us. If in some hidden corner, in some out-of-the-way spot, we can clear away the clutter and shut out the noise and darkness, come be born again in us, and we shall kneel in perfect peace with the wisest and humblest of men.

Help us to enter into this Christmas Fast with humility yet with You. And, finally, Lord, give us Christmas from within that we may share it from without, on all sides, all around us, wherever there is need. God help us, every one, to share the blessings of Jesus in Whose name we keep Christmas holy. Amen.

Philip’s Fast (Pylypivka)

All Christian churches prepare for the feast of the birth of Christ by some sort of period of penance. The Western church calls this the period of Advent, connected with the Latin word for “come,” since we are waiting for Christ to come into our lives. We may be celebrating an event in the past, the birth of Jesus, the first coming of God into our world, but we are also celebrating the present, God coming into our own lives and into the world of today, and the future expectation of Christ’s second coming, when he will come in glory to judge tote world in righteousness.

The Roman Church once began the Christmas preparation on St. Martin’s Day, Nov. 11, which gave forty days until the winter solstice on Dec. 21, and the church of Milan in Italy still has a forty-day preparation beginning on Nov. 15.

Traditionally, the Byzantine Church also begins its Christmas preparation on Nov. 15. Since this follows the feast of St. Philip the Apostle, it is called the Philip’s Fast. There is a legend about St. Philip, that when he was about to be martyred, he delayed his entrance into heaven by forty days in order to do penance for the sake of his persecutors. This is certainly only a legend, since Philip was not connected with the pre-Christmas fast until the ninth century, but it does point out one aspect of fasting – it is an act of charity for others. Some contemporary groups have expressed this by introducing the custom of setting aside the money they save by fasting to buy food for the poor. St. Philip is the apostle who leads us to Christ. When Jesus called him to be a disciple, his first action was to go and tell Nathaniel. When Nathaniel questioned him about Jesus, Philip replied, “Come and see” (Jn 1:46). Later in the Gospel, some Greeks (Gentiles, representing all nations) wanted “to see Jesus” (Jn 12:21), and it is Philip and Andrew that lead them to Christ. At the Last Supper, it is Philip that asks the question, “Master, show us the Father,” and Jesus replies, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:8¬9). In the face of Jesus our Lord, we are able to see the love of the Father for us. The holy Apostle Philip, therefore, leads us to Christmas, to see for the first time the face of God, who came into the world to break down the barriers between humanity and God (Eph. 2:14).

The Sunday Before Christmas: The Genealogy of Jesus

The Gospel this Sunday presents us with an abundance of names, all those who were the ancestors of Christ. By this we see that on this feast, the Son and Word of God becomes a part of the human family and a part of human history. In this Gospel Jesus is also given a name, the final verse tells us that the child will be known as Jesus – Savior. In verse 22, though, he is given the name “Immanuel,” “God with us.” This gives us the theological meaning of the feast, the incarnation signifies our deification.

We all have names, but for the ancients, names had meanings, they did not simply give us an identification tag, but told us something of who we were. In that sense, we do not name ourselves, but we are given a name, we are all “called by name” by God, and so we enter into the ancestry of Jesus. The names are the forefathers of Jesus, but also the foremothers are mentioned: Tamar, who bore a son by trickery of Judah; Ruth, the grandmother of David, who left her people to follow Naomi; the unnamed wife of David, Bathsheba, who David married by arranging for the death of Uriah. We see, then, that even trough questionable and evil actions, as well as by faithfulness, Jesus becomes “the son given to us.” The greatest of the woman in his genealogy is, of course, Mary, his mother, who by her obedience cancelled the curse of Eve, and united God with humanity in her womb.

The Nativity Fast Calendar 2019

The Advent/Nativity Fast journey has begun! See how this journey unfolds on a daily basis by walking this calendar to Christmas. Follow the Nativity calendar with your spouse  and children as daily an Advent discipline! 

Join the many of us who do this every year and prosper your soul in the effort. You won’t be the same. Begin today!!!

The attached Nativity Fast Calendar a beautiful thing to follow.

The 2019 New Testament Challenge

Beginning, today, November 15th (the beginning of the Advent/Nativity Fast), we will once again be embarking on our annual challenge event to read through the entire New Testament (aloud) by Christmas! This is a great endeavor and exercise and you should join it! Read with your spouse as an Advent discipline! Even children can do this, and they have. You can do it, too.

Join the many of us who do this every year and prosper your soul in the effort. You won’t be the same. Begin today!!!

The New Testament Challenge is kind of a tradition. We invite you to join us in this 40 day offering and make more time for the reading of Holy Scripture this Advent.

Here is schedule (a .pdf) for The 2019 New Testament Challenge

As our bishops said in the message for the Philips Fast 2019, we find ourselves at the present moment: Pylypivka: the 40-day period of waiting and watching for the fulfillment of God’s promises, and the coming together of humanity and divinity in the Christ child, who, with his nativity, will bring new life and new hope into our world and our lives. No better way to see God’s promises than to pray, read, study sacred Scripture!

Pylypivka (Advent) message 2019

Pylypivka (Advent) Pastoral of the Ukrainian Catholic Hierarchy of the USA to our clergy, hieromonks and brothers, religious sisters, seminarians and beloved faithful,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

We, the faithful experience the life of the Church by means of the unending cycle of the liturgical year. The liturgical year is not simply how we mark the passage of time in the church calendar year. The liturgical year tells the story of God’s life in the world, a story in which we are participants, not just spectators or listeners. It is a re-living of the life of Christ, His Most Holy Mother and the Saints. And liturgy is the means by which we tell, live, and experience the story. Through liturgy it becomes real to us and becomes part of our own lives.

It has been said that liturgy is humanity’s yearning for God, and that grace is God’s yearning for humanity. Liturgically, this story of holy yearning – God’s yearning for us and our yearning for God – begins at the point in the liturgical year that we find ourselves at the present moment: Pylypivka: the 40-day period of waiting and watching for the fulfillment of God’s promises, and the coming together of humanity and divinity in the Christ child, who, with his nativity, will bring new life and new hope into our world and our lives.