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Season of Advent

Beginning the Church's liturgical year, Advent (from, "ad-venire" in Latin or "to come to") is the season encompassing the four Sundays (and weekdays) leading up to the celebration of Christmas.

The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and to the anniversary of Our Lord’s birth on Christmas. From the earliest days of the Church, people have been fascinated by Jesus’ promise to come back. But the scripture readings during Advent tell us not to waste our time with predictions. Advent is not about speculation. Our Advent readings call us to be alert and ready, not weighted down and distracted by the cares of this world (Lk 21:34-36). Like Lent, the liturgical color for Advent is purple since both are seasons that prepare us for great feast days. Advent also includes an element of penance in the sense of preparing, quieting, and disciplining our hearts for the full joy of Christmas.

As we prepare for Christmas, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal notes some differences to the Mass that should be observed during the season. For instance, the priest wears violet or purple during Advent, except for the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) when rose may be worn (GIRM, no. 346). Aside from what the priest wears, other aesthetic changes in the Church can include a more modestly decorated altar.

The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, we focus on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord at Christmas. In particular, the "O" Antiphons are sung during this period and have been by the Church since at least the eighth century. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming of Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but of present ones as well.

Advent devotions including the Advent wreath, remind us of the meaning of the season. Our Advent calendar above can help you fully enter into the season with daily activity and prayer suggestions to prepare you spiritually for the birth of Jesus Christ. 

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World Day of Prayer

Worship Schedule

What You Need to Know about our Church Reopening

Nini unahitaji kujua juu ya ufunguzi wa Kanisa

Lo que necesita saber sobre nuestra reapertura de la iglesia

Click here to watch Fr. Jim's video explaining the new guidelines for attending Mass.

Mass    Saturday    6:00 pm, Spanish

 
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          6:00 pm   Spanish
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        12:30 pm   Spanish

The Strangers We Meet

Painting in the vestibule of St. Leo's

The work of the late Fr. Jim Hasse, SJ, “The Strangers We Meet” depicts Christ breaking bread at Emmaus. Instead of more traditional representations, it depicts Christt as a man of African descent, sitting with people of various ages and from various ethnic heritages. All the models were St. Leo parishioners.

“Fr. Jim captured spiritual life in his works, revealing the sacredness in everyday people and everyday actions,“ says Fr. Josephh Folzenlogen, SJ, who lived and worked with the priest painter at Claver Jesuit Ministries in South Cumminsville (OH). “Jim’s paintings were mirrors in which people could see their own beauty.”

Models for the 2004 painting were Timaya Smith (the child in the foreground), Amy Egan, Darnell Edwards, Ivy Peppers, and Rick Nohle.

“Since Jim used people from the parishes and neighborhoods where he worked as his models, the paintings were not just images,” says Fr. Joe. “They were connections with people he loved. Those people were also his children.”

St. Leo parishioner Stephanie Sepate describes the painting as “a beautiful remembrance of purpose” in every life.

“In the upper left of our painting is the figure of the angel by the tomb of the Risen Lord, and the women running to share the news,” she says. “What a beautiful remembrance of purpose in each of our lives — we are not really strangers to each other but we are all one universal family in our life’s journey.”

Fr. Jim Hasse, whose paintings appeared in several publications and are held in private collections, including the art museum at St. Louis University, died in 2011. Most of his paintings are of biblical subjects and feature African-American people he worked with. To see several galleries of his works with associated reflections, click here.

A New Life

Michelangelo sculpted the Pietà in 1498–1499,    taking less than two years to complete. His depiction of the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion on the rock of Golgatha is one of the most famous pieces of sculpture known by so many across the world.

Showing the "religious vision of abandonment and a serene face of the Son", Michelangelo did not want his version of the Pietà to represent death, but rather a representation of the communion between man and God through Christ’s gift of life.

For the 1964 New York World’s Fair, the Vatican loaned the Pietà for installation in the Vatican pavilion. A conveyor belt moved people, who stood in line for hours, past the sculpture. It is housed in St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed.

Several decades ago, St. Leo was gifted with a beautiful representation of the Pietà in memory of the Schuchart Family. Over the years, the wear and tear, fragments of the more fragile areas of the statue cracked or missing, and chipping paint called a friend of the parish to totally refurbish our Pietà. To repaint it with its former colors would have shown the flaws; it was decided to paint it all one color, especially in keeping with the make-up of our parish—all one people. After months and months of prayerful restoration, our Pietà finally came home, quite appropriately, the day before Ash Wednesday.

As we celebrate Holy Week and Easter, we are grateful for Michelangelo’s reminder of the ultimate gift in our midst. The St. Leo Pietà has been given a new life; let us all celebrate a season of renewal in our own lives as Lent ends and as we rejoice in the hope and joy of Easter’s Alleluias!

- Stephanie Sepate


First Sunday of Advent

From the Pastor:  
November 27, 2022

Bivuye kwa Padiri:  
Novemba 27, 2022
(African translation)

Padre . . .
27 de Noviembre de 2022

My Brothers and Sisters in the Risen Lord,

Hope… The dictionary definition is “to cherish a desire with anticipation:to want something to happen or be true,” and in this first week of Advent, as we await the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, our hearts are filled with the joys of what is to come. It is the time of beginnings, as we look forward to a new liturgical year and turn the page onto the season we love to celebrate—Christmas Day and the birth of the Christ Child. However, we must prepare our hearts and our lives to receive such a wondrous gift, so let us begin to think about what we must do to be truly ready.

In his apostolic letter for the celebration year of the new millennium, St. Pope John II, declared a central theme, restated from Hebrews 13:8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. These same words appeared as the Vatican’s official logo for the jubilee year, and they are especially poignant when we consider our own relationship with Christ in terms of this Advent season. Matthew’s gospel today, interestingly, reflects not on Christ’s birth but upon his second coming. Jesus asks us to be prepared, stay awake, and realize there will be no advance warning when He comes again. Time is irrelevant; faith is the only constant.

Yet, human beings seem to love to organize themselves around time periods and calendar events: years, months, seasons, holidays, and many other representations of beginnings and endings. Yet Jesus Christ is continuous throughout time, and our readiness to see Him again should be steadfast, true, and something time can never exhaust. We should always be ready and looking forward to our ultimate home with the Lord.

As we begin this first week in Advent and start our preparations for the Christmas season, let us focus on how we can faithfully accomplish what Jesus is asking us to do in this Gospel. As you scurry around in preparation for the secular doings of Christmas, such as buying gifts and attending get togethers, could you also make haste in preparing yourself for the promise of Christ and the extraordinary presence of God in your life?  Just begin...  The most important thing is this: Jesus will come again to earth in a most glorious, triumphant and final sense, and we must prepare to meet Him.

The exhortation to be watchful resounds many times in the liturgy, especially in Advent, a season of preparation not only for Christmas, but also for Christ’s definitive and glorious coming at the end of time. It therefore has a distinctly eschatological meaning and invites the believer to spend every day and every moment in the presence of the One ‘who is and who was and who is come’ (Revelation 1:4), to whom the future of the world and of man belongs. This is Christian hope!”  —Saint Pope John Paul II

Yours in Christ,

Father Rudy