- A question has been raised respecting the meaning of the ‘S-number’ hymns in the leaflet. For those who do not know, the ‘S’ refers to ‘service’ and is indicative of the ‘service music’ (as opposed to hymns) in the front section of the hymnal. Musical settings for the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei, are found in this first section of the hymnal.”
- The funeral for Denny Knoll will be this coming Saturday, December 13, at 4:00 pm here at the church.
- It is with sadness that I report the death of Ruthye Palmer, whom some of you knew. Ruthye passed from this life last Sunday, Nov. 30, after a protracted illness.
- Services of Hope is soliciting contributions from their partners toward their Christmas program. Holy Cross helped SoH provide Thanksgiving meals to over 850 families last month, and we hope to do so again for Christmas. If you can contribute financially to this, please make a check out to Church of the Holy Cross, with “SoH X-mas” in the memo line. God willing, we will also be assistinting with the distribution of the Christmas meals on Saturday, December 20.
- Note that, this being the first Sunday of the month, all undesignated offerings go to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund for the relief of those in need and other such pious purposes. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.”
- Monday, December 8, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, normally considered to be a Holy Day of Obligation. We will have a Solemn Mass here at the church at 7:00 pm.”
- The annual MetroPCS marathon will be held next Sunday, December 14th from 7:00 am to 2:30 pm. Streets will be blocked off including highways and side streets in the area surrounding Holy Cross so alternate routes may be needed to attend mass. A map of the race route and streets affected can be found on the narthex table.
- The next vestry meeting is next Sunday, Dec. 14, after mass.”
- Ordo Kalendars are available in the office for $3.00
December 5: Clement of Alexandria
Born about the year 150 AD, probably in Athens. He was originally named Titus Flavius Clemens. He became a convert to Christianity, and set out travelling through the Levant in search of a teacher. After studying with several masters, Clement eventually settled at Alexandria, in Egypt, to study from a master named Pantaenus, in whose teaching Clement says that he “found rest”. Alexandria was a great center of learning in the ancient world. Clement became the head of the Christian Catechetical School there, which trained Christian clergy, apologists, and teachers, and which was very influential in the early exposition of the faith. A number of Clement’s writings survive, and remain valuable to student’s of Christian theology. Clement died about the year 211 AD.
December 6: Nicholas of Myra
This is the Nicholas who evolved into “Santa Claus” in the western Church. In truth, little is known for certain about St. Nicholas except that he was bishop of Myra in Lycia of Anatolia (the southern coast of modern Turkey) in the 4th century, and that he died on December 6 in 345 or 352 AD. He is said to have gone on pilgrimage to the Holy Land as a youth, and to have become bishop of Myra upon his return. Likewise he is said to have been imprisoned during the persecution of Emperor Diocletian, and to have been released when Constantine (who was himself a Christian) became emperor. He is said to have been one of the Fathers present at the Council of Nicaea in 325. One popular legend says that there was a poor man in Myra with three daughters. He could not afford his daughters’ dowries, and so rather than being married, they would either have to turn to prostitution or be sold into slavery. The legend says that St. Nicholas threw three bags of gold through the window of the man’s house during the night, and each bag landed in a shoe (or stocking) of each of his daughters. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of pawn-brokers, and the three gold balls often appearing on pawn shops are an allusion to this story. Nicholas is also the patron of mariners, merchants, bakers, travelers, children, and a great number of European cities and states. His relics were stolen from Myra by Italian merchants in the 11th century, and brought to Bari in Italy, where they are still venerated. An oily substance, known as “Manna di S. Nicola” flows from his bones, and is collected and used medicinally by the faithful. St. Nicholas is one of the most popular saints of Christianity, both East and West.
December 7: Ambrose of Milan
Born around 340 to a Christian family, Ambrose was raised in Trier (modern Germany). He had two siblings, Satyrus and Marcellina who are also saints. Ambrose began his career as a politician, as his father had been. Eventually Ambrose became Governor of the north-Italian province of Aemilia-Liguria. In 374, the Bishop of Milan died and a riot between Arians (who denied the divinity of Christ) and Catholics broke out in the city over the Episcopal succession. Ambrose came to the scene to restore calm, and as he was addressing the crowd, they began to call out “Ambrose, bishop!” Although he was a believer, Ambrose had never been baptized, remaining a catechumen because of what was regarded as the radical manner of life that being a disciple of Christ entailed (the practice of deferring baptism for this reason, sometimes until one was on one’s deathbed, was not uncommon at that time). Within a week, Ambrose was baptized, confirmed, ordained, and installed as Bishop of Milan. As bishop, he remained celibate and embraced an ascetic lifestyle, giving away all that he had to the poor. He also undertook intense theological study, becoming one of the greatest teachers of the Christian faith there has ever been, and one of the original “doctors of the Church”. Before his conversion to Christianity, St. Augustine of Hippo attended Ambrose’s sermons and found them compelling, eventually receiving baptism at the hands of Ambrose at the Easter Vigil at Milan in 387. Ambrose died in 397. His body may still be venerated in the church of San Ambroglio in Milan.
December 8: Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The orthodox faith teaches that Jesus Christ is both perfectly and completely man, and perfectly and completely God, all in one divine person. Likewise the Church teaches that the manhood (the humanity) of Jesus was “from the substance of his mother” (in the words of the Athanasian Creed). Scripture teaches that there were two primary actors in the becoming-flesh of the eternal Word: the Holy Spirit, and the Blessed Virgin Mary (see Luke 1). The Church has ever affirmed that Mary was prepared for this most special and unique of vocations from the very moment of her conception. Mary is not unique in being “called from the womb” (cf. Isaiah 49.1). Jeremiah the prophet speaks this way about himself (Jer. 1.5), and the Gospel of St. Luke speaks similarly of St. John the Baptist (Lk. 1.15). Indeed we were all called by God from the womb (and so the Church has always recognized the inviolable dignity of every human life, from the moment of conception – cf. Psalm 139.15). The providential preparation of St. Mary for her most important vocation meant that God preserved her from sin and from the effects of sin, and that by grace her heart was made and was kept susceptible to the will of God. The Church officially puts it this way: “her soul, in the first instant of its creation… was, by a special grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, her Son and the Redeemer of the human race, preserved free from all stain of original sin.”