Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Second Week of Advent 2009

We had a busy second week of Advent (and a busy weekend where we were out almost nonstop!)... and we got to get out in the yard a lot, although we really had to bundle up - brrrr!

We made bumblebee cookies for the feast of St. Ambrose, patron of beekeepers and also known as the "honey-tongued" saint.

Caroline helped put the pretzels on for wings and antennae and then I striped them with some frosting.

For breakfast on December 8, we had blueberry muffins for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Then we went to Mass at our parish school since it was a holy day of obligation. They hold Mass in the school's gym since it is not on the same campus as the church, and the girls were quiet and respectful the whole time - except when Caroline was on her tiptoes trying to see during the consecration, and she stumbled backward into a chair against which the candle suffers were resting - oops! Later, she asked, "Mommy, why did all those kids turn around and stare at me??"

When we returned from Mass, we did an easy candle craft. I had wanted to decorate a Christ candle for the center of our Advent wreath on Monday, since St. Ambrose is associated with beeswax as he is the patron of bees and beekeepers... and maybe also candlemakers? We had more time on Tuesday though. We used glue dots to stick little cardstock stars all over the candle. The candle represents Christ as the Light of the World.

Then, for today's feast, we did this little additional step which I found the idea for here. We wrapped white tulle around the candle and secured it with a blue ribbon. This symbolizes Mary, and the candle being wrapped inside shows how we anticipate Jesus's birth from the Virgin Mary. The fabric is white to represent Mary's purity and freedom from sin, which we remember especially on this feast of the Immaculate Conception. The fabric will be removed on Christmas and we will light the Christ candle!

And Caroline is wearing some dress-up clothes in that photo... no, she didn't go to Mass dressed like that! ;) And she also looked like this at some point that day:

That giraffe jacket she is wearing is size 18 months, ha ha!

This was also the day that we learned the sad news that our former pastor had died earlier that morning. He had retired this summer due to "health issues" but nobody guessed it was this serious. He was only 60 years old and had been scheduled for surgery but had a heart attack before the surgery was done. He was the sole priest at our parish (aside from having visiting priests come to assist and say some of the Masses sometimes) for almost 20 years! It is unusual for a priest to remain at the same parish that long... so he will be very much missed. Eternal rest grant unto Father Jim, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

On Wednesday, it was the memorial of St. Juan Diego, who was the Aztec to whom Mary appeared as Our Lady of Guadalupe. So, we had Mexican food for dinner (skillet taco pie - Caroline's favorite!).

Caroline also made this Juan Diego paper doll (with much help from me) and we read the book shown behind him. In this photo, he is holding his tilma up to carry the roses which Our Lady had him take to the Bishop as a sign... the roses which miraculously bloomed in winter and of a varity which does not normally grow in Mexico.

When his tilma is dropped, the roses fall out, and the more miraculous sign appears - the image of Our Lady which she left on his tilma! This is the image which, several months ago, Hillary Clinton was viewing while visiting Mexico, and she said, "It's beautiful - who painted it?" to which the rector of the basilica responded, "God!" LOL.

On Saturday (the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe) in addition to attending Father Jim's funeral Mass, interment, and reception in the morning, we also had a wedding to attend that afternoon. So rather than making enchiladas for dinner as I'd planned, we went out to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants instead! Caroline wore her St. Lucy crown. We didn't let her wear it to the funeral or the wedding, though! ;)

I noticed early this week how fitting it was for Father Jim to be buried on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe... our parish is named for Mary, and he died on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Also, he has been making mission trips to Mexico each summer for many years. He spoke Spanish well enough to be able to be both the English and Spanish-speaking priest for our parish. We have a pretty high Hispanic population in our parish, and Father Jim was able to communicate with both the English-speakers and the Hispanics. Not many priests serve both communities within their church - there is typically a separate priest who speaks Spanish! The funeral Mass was packed - we had to sit/stand in the vestibule. It was attended by more priests than I have ever seen in one place at the same time! We have a memorial garden right outside the church where remains can be buried after cremation, and so they placed Father's ashes front and center by the statue of Mary. Catholic funerals are always a big deal, but a priest's funeral is really done up. Somebody had even had holy cards printed up with Father's name and info on the backs... it used to be that that was done for all Catholic funerals, but I hadn't seen it done in my lifetime until this.

Here is a photo from the reception... sorry for the poor quality, but I took it with Chris's phone. That's a plate of olives and cheese at the bottom of the photo (much to Cecilia's delight). A Catholic funeral Mass is said for the deceased - for the repose of his soul - and then the reception afterwards is for the people still living to celebrate the life of the deceased. Catholics know how to party and use any excuse to do so. :) There was even wine and beer, and more dessert varieties than I could count on six hands. Our hospitality committee always does an amazing job at our church! And there were so many lovely photos of Father Jim set up at both the reception and in the vestibule upstairs. The girls enjoyed looking over the collage of photos during the Mass, as we were seated/standing right next to it. Such a rich history within those photos, older to more recent. It was a morning filled with both sadness and joy.

A look at a few more doings from the second week of Advent...

Look Around the Stable: this week, the girls added a donkey, a puppy, lambs, cow and calf, a rooster, a dove, and flies.

Our Advent wreath on our poster had two lit candles

The angel Gabriel appearing to Joseph in his dreams in our nativity scene

And the third week is already upon us... we are more than halfway through Advent already!


ViolinMama said...

What a GREAT week! Thanks for all the pictures. My prayers for Fr. Jim - I'm so very sorry for your loss and as all - trying to feel happy for his gain.

Blessed 3rd week of Advent to you!

Carrie said...

Beautiful job chronicling your celebrations! Thanks for sharing everything.