This is a strange Sunday. The Saturday evening Masses and Sunday morning Masses are for the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Then, the Sunday evening Masses are the Vigil Masses for Christmas, plus the traditional Midnight Mass. Here at St. Francis, the Midnight Mass is actually at midnight!

Christmas Day Masses are 8, 9:30, 11 and 12:30. There are NO evenings Masses Christmas Day.

The Gospel for today’s Mass is the account of the angel Gabriel telling Mary that, although not yet married to Joseph, she “will conceive in her womb and bear a son.”The angel concludes with saying, “Do not be afraid for you have found favor with God.”

Many artists over the centuries have captured this event in their paintings and whenever I see one, I pause to study the expression on Mary’s face and the gestures of both Mary and the angel. Each artist has his or her idea of what they want to convey through their work of art. The moment that they are capturing is such an important moment in Mary’s faithfulness to God.

Congratulations to the choir, soloists and musicians for an inspiring and spirited Carols with the Choir last Sunday. It has become a highlight of Christmas here at St. Francis.

I want to express my gratitude for the Christmas donations that have come in so far. This time of year has so many expenses; one of them being the cost of heating our three buildings. You are aware of your own heating bills; ours is generally over $10,000 a month. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

A Very Blessed and Merry Christmas from the Friars and Sta to you and your loved ones!

-Fr. Andrew Reitz, O.F.M.