Fourth Sunday of Advent

Laudetur Iesus Christus! Sunday is the fourth Sunday of Advent, and as custom we provide a reflection the Collect from Sunday’s Latin Mass:

St. Ann Annual Blessing of Religious Objects – Sunday December 18

After today’s 12:30pm St. Ann parish Latin Mass on Sunday December 18, Father will bless religious objects in the Traditional Rite. These items can be, statues, holy water, salt, oil, medals, Rosaries. A table will be placed in the cry room – please place items on table prior to the 12:30pm Mass. Immediately after Mass, Father will begin blessing – new objects cannot be placed on the table after that point. Table should be up by 12 noon – 12:15pm.

Advent Mission with FSSP Recap

We thank everyone who made the sacrifice in the dark and rainy weather to attend St. Thomas Aquinas’ parish mission with the two Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) priests, and hope attendees derived benefit from their talks. Please consider thanking Fr. Codd for arranging for this retreat which was a welcome spiritual retreat for all parishioners, but especially for the Latin Mass faithful.

Latin Masses This Week

  • Wednesday December 21, 6pm – St. Ann parish, feast of St. Thomas the Apostle
  • Thursday December 22, 7pm – St. Thomas Aquinas, Greater Feria of Advent (no feast day)
  • Friday December 23, 7am (St. Ann) and 12:30pm (St. Mark), Greater Feria of Advent (no feast day)
  • Saturday December 24 – The fourth Saturday Respect Life Latin Mass is canceled due to Christmas

Christmas Latin Mass Schedule – Feast of the Nativity Sunday December 25

Christmas has 3 distinct Masses for the day, and priests are also allowed to offer 3 Masses to commemorate the birth of Our Savior. The first Mass is midnight, which marks Christ coming into the dark world at Bethlehem on December 25, 1 B.C.; Mass at dawn symbolizes the spiritual birth of Christ in our souls and Mass during the day represents eternal love of Christ for coming to us in the Incarnation.   To learn more about the traditional customs surrounding Christmas please visit: and

Midnight Latin Masses:

Christmas Day Latin Masses

  • 11:30am – St. Thomas Aquinas
  • 1pm – Our Lady of Grace, Greensboro
  • 1pm – Our Lady of the Lake, Chapin, SC (2 hours south of Charlotte)
  • All other parishes: Please check the parish bulletin or call ahead to confirm.

**IMPORTANT SCHEDULING NOTE: There will not be a 12:30pm Latin Mass at St. Ann parish on Christmas Day – only Midnight Mass**

Christmas Week Schedule Changes (as announced)

  • Thursday December 29, St. Thomas Aquinas, 10am Latin Mass (the 7pm Latin Mass is canceled for this day only)
  • All other Latin Masses are on normal schedule unless otherwise announced.

To see the January 1 and Epiphany schedule as announced, please our Mass times webpage:

Dec. 23/24 – Fasting and Abstinence Note

Traditionally, Christmas Eve (the feast of Ss. Adam & Eve) was a day of fasting and abstinence, however that has been eliminated by the current code of canon law. However, for those who want to maintain this practice as a pious devotion, we share that in 1959, Pope St. John XXIII allowed the Christmas Eve fast/abstinence to be transferred to December 23. Hence if you’d like to follow this old practice, you are welcome to practice it on December 23 instead of the 24th. To learn more visit:

Traditional Christmas Proclamation

St. Ann and St. Thomas Aquinas parishes traditionally chant the ancient Christmas proclamation at Midnight Mass each Christmas (it occurs a minute or two before Mass begins). This is a beautiful chant that was unfortunately lost after 1960s, only to return in a weaker modernized format in 1994. Graciously, the scholas at St. Ann and St. Thomas Aquinas sign the traditional Christmas proclamation. Here are links to compare the traditional and the modern:

Dom Prosper Gueranger’s Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

We have now entered into the week which immediately precedes the birth of the Messias. That long desired coming might be even tomorrow; and at furthest, that is, when Advent is as long as it can be, the beautiful feast is only seven days from us. So that the Church now counts the hours; she watches day and night, and since December 17 her Offices have assumed an unusual solemnity. At Lauds, she varies the antiphons each day; and at Vespers, in order to express the impatience of her desires for her Jesus, she makes use of the most vehement exclamations to the Messias, in which she each day gives Him a magnificent title, borrowed from the language of the prophets.

Today, she makes a last effort to stir up the devotion of her children. She leads them to the desert; she shows them John the Baptist, upon whose mission she instructed them on the third Sunday. The voice of the austere Precursor resounds through the wilderness, and penetrates even into the cities. It preaches penance, and the obligation men are under of preparing by self-purification for the coming of Christ. Let us retire from the world during these next few days; or if that may not be by reason of our external duties, let us retire into the quiet of our own hearts and confess our iniquities, as did those true Israelites, who came, full of compunction and of faith in the Messias, to the Baptist, there to make perfect their preparation for worthily receiving the Redeemer on the day of His appearing to the world.

Community News

  • Second Fr. Ripperger Talk Added For Friday March 10: Due to the overwhelming interest in hearing exorcist and traditional theologian, Fr. Chad Ripperger, St. Thomas Aquinas parish is now hosting a second, identical talk, by Fr Ripperger on Friday March 10. Please see the parish’s note:

    Due to the Saturday, March 11, 2023 event filling up so quickly, Fr. Codd asked Fr. Ripperger if he would be willing to come on Friday, March 10, 2023, to do an additional identical conference, in order to allow for more parishioners and folks from the diocese to attend.  Fr. Ripperger graciously agreed, and so we will now have him speak both on Friday and Saturday.  Note, these will be the same talk on both days.  Saturday is already full.  If you are signed up already to attend Saturday, please do not register for Friday as well, or we will delete your registration.  Please register as soon as possible in order to help us with planning.  As well, if you are able to help support us bringing Fr. Ripperger in for an additional talk, please use the registration form to do so, or use this link.  Thank you!
  • Holy Face Devotions
  • St. Mark – Mondays 2-2:45pm
  • St. Thomas Aquinas – Tuesdays 6am in the main church
  • St. Ann – Tuesdays 7:30am in the chapel after the Novus Ordo Mass (uses the booklet/chaplet which takes 15-20 minutes)
  • St. Michael the Archangel, Gastonia – Tuesdays, 9am, Main Church (**NEW TIME & LOCATION**)
  • Holy Spirit, Denver – Tuesdays 10-11am after the Novus Ordo Mass

Latin Mass & Traditional News

  • Ember Days for the Beginning of Winter – Article by Michael Charlier: This past week was the winter Embertide, the three days of penance at the start of each liturgical and natural season to thank God for the gifts of creation and to pray for holiness in the upcoming season. Here is a brief overview of the winter Ember days:
  • The Demanding Glory of Advent’s Ember Saturday: Next to the vigils of Easter, Pentecost, and All Hallows Eve, if there is a sublime and somber Latin Mass, it is any one of the Ember Saturday Masses – especially Ember Saturday in Advent (yesterday). The Mass features six readings, mainly from the Old Testament and offers a glorious way to conclude the Ember week and prepare for the Nativity. Dr. Peter Kwasniewski (who visited us last September), pens an excellent article on this special liturgy:  Additionally, we note that Dr. Kwasniewski is also promoting a second article by German writer Michael Charlier,
  • The Golden Mass of Ember Wednesday: Not to be outdone, but Ember Wednesday in Advent is also a special liturgy as Greg DiPippo (who served along with Dr. Kwasniewski on our panel discussion in September) writes in the New Liturgical Movement. We share this article and those above to help draw our readers to the importance of the Ember days and encourage people to take advantage of them as we progress in the liturgical year.
  • Yes, Our Lord Meant Exactly What He Said About Divorce: As the Church prepares to meditate on the Holy Family in the weeks ahead, we are pleased to share another article from Nathaniel Slattery, one of the leaders of the High Country Latin Mass Community in Boone. Mr. Slattery takes a look at that often ignored traditional teaching of the Church which condemns divorce. In the age of widespread annulment abuses, the article backs up this foundational teaching through the writings of the saints:
  • Reform of the Reform: Liturgical Russian Roulette: Occasionally, some sacred liturgy enthusiasts, or more likely, conservative Catholics, become excited about priests who wish to make the Novus Ordo Mass more reverent, by adding Latin, chant, and communion kneelers (among other things). This is called “Reform of the Reform”, to reform the Vatican II Novus Ordo Mass to make it more “traditional”. While chant and communion kneelers, etc. at a Novus Ordo Mass are laudable acts, there is a fundamental flaw in this effort – it is entirely priest dependent, and more often than not, the priest gets transferred at some point, and the new pastor reverts the liturgy back to where it was before. As the author notes, it’s like playing liturgical Russian roulette:

[E]ventually this cassock wearing priest will be replaced by someone more modern. His replacement will go get rid of ad orientem and phase out the Latin. The choir members will get disgruntled and quit. There will be a rift between the new pastor and the parishioners who want to retain the traditional stuff. The pastor will be intransigent; the parishioners, unhappy with him, will leave. With these people gone, the new priest will undo all the traditional stuff the previous priest put in place. The parish will again reach equilibrium as a generic western Novus Ordo parish. The conservative parishioners-in-exile, meanwhile, will relocate to whatever the most traditional option remains among the diocesan parishes. Seeing the influx of new traditional parishioners, that pastor will feel emboldened to introduce more traditional elements into his masses. The whole process will begin again.

But it’s never a net gain. In fact, the total number of reform of the reform parishioners in the diocesan system will go down because each time this upheaval happens, a fraction inevitably say “I’m done with this; I’m just going to an Institute/Fraternity/Society parish” and they remove themselves from the diocesan system entirely. So nobody ever wins. It’s generally just shuffling parishioners, a diocesan shell-game. The snake just eats its own tail.

CLMC note: This is why the stability of the Latin Mass is preferred over the reverent “reformed” Novus Ordo Mass – the Latin Mass is not priest dependent for its reverence. However, the CLMC would go one step further and say, a Latin Mass in a Novus Ordo parish also suffers from being “priest dependent” as we have seen in the diocese over the past 10 years where several Traditional Latin Masses were canceled or curtailed when there was a change in pastors.  Naturally, this is also in part why the CLMC continues to advocate for a dedicated Latin Mass chapel – the current priest-dependent framework always remains unstable.

CLMC note: Has the Charlotte Diocese – and even parishes within it that offer the Latin Mass – been affected by this problem?

The (British) Bells of St. Mary’s: An American Finds Home on an English Street

On the topic of coming back home, we share an excellent piece from another local writer from our community, Rachel Shrader, who attends Latin Mass at St. Ann parish, and writes a sequel to her first article about her summer trip to the British isles where she visits different Latin Mass parishes. In this installment, Ms. Shrader visits the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) parish, St. Mary’s Shrine in Warrington, UK, and reflects on the importance of having not just a home parish, but a parish that is actually one’s home, like Nazareth. This certainly fits well with many Latin Mass families who desire to find that permanent home where both the sacraments and communal life are offered daily. Yet regardless, the issues raised in the article should apply to any parish especially if they have lost parishioners during COVID (as noted in the above article). We also note the timeliness of the article as it comes between the feast of the House of Loretto (December 10) and the feast of the Nativity, at Bethlehem (December 25), both home to the Holy Family.  

We share a few excerpts to close this update (emphasis ours):

St. Mary’s Church was served by the Benedictines of Ampleforth Abbey in Yorkshire for 135 years before they were forced to relinquish care of it in 2012 due to the lack of available priests. The Archdiocese of Liverpool took over its administration for a few years.

Then, in 2015, Archbishop Malcom McMahon made an announcement that must have been music to the ears of those who loved St. Mary’s. He announced that St. Mary’s Church would be entrusted to the care of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, also known by their abbreviation FSSP, a group founded by Pope St. John Paul II in 1988.  The church was designated a “shrine” church, which basically means that it is a center of worship with a community, but not technically a parish.

St. Mary’s in Warrington is, of course, more than just a building, though a celestial building it is. This place strives to be a center of life for the Catholics that it serves, to epitomize the ideal of parish life.

Once upon a time, entire towns and communities centered around the parish church. St. Mary’s is aiming to bring that ideal back: in its own words, it aims to build a “Nazareth in Lancashire,” a place where families can live, grow, and worship together.

Our parish is a microcosm of Holy Mother Church, and it is there that our spiritual fathers—our pastors—instruct and guide us; where we and our brothers and sisters in Christ support and sustain one another. Our parish gives us our daily spiritual sustenance: the Holy Eucharist, offered through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every day. There we are instructed in the Faith, receive the other sacraments, marry, and welcome new members into the Church. But an ideal parish life goes even further.

What if your parish was the place you went to school, met your friends, and recreated? What if it was home base and not merely a weekly or biweekly item on your agenda? What if you wanted to be there—to actually be there, and not just go there? What if—now I’m really going out on a limb—you loved it so much you wanted to do something for it, contribute to it, just like we do with our physical households?

What if it…felt like home?

Next Sunday is Christmas. What liturgical home will you be visiting on Our Lord’s Nativity?

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