A Christmas classic: the nativity scene of Mr. Bean

‘Tis the season for playing with your creche! Back by popular demand: a Christmas favorite of The Bench, and one that never fails to make me smile. Enjoy. [Read more…]

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Homily for December 30, 2012: Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

[Click here for readings] I’m struck every year by the timing of this feast, celebrating the Holy Family. It comes on the first Sunday following Christmas, when a lot of us have started to overdose on family.  In fact, after the parties and cooking and visiting and obligations and expectations and disappointments, some of us [Read More…]

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A Christmas carol about mass murder?

Yes. It traditionally commemorates today’s feast and has a tragic resonance right now: The “Coventry Carol” is a Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play calledThe Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew. The carol refers to the Massacre of the [Read More…]

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The Christmas message from Newtown’s pastor

Msgr. Robert Weiss published the following in his parish bulletin this week: Dear Parishioners, Had I written my Christmas message a couple of weeks ago as I had planned, it would have had a far different tone than this message. We have not only witnessed one of the greatest tragedies in the world, but we [Read More…]

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Midnight Mass in Queens

The gifted photographer Niranjan Fernando captured these beautiful images from last night at my parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, in Forest Hills. [Read more…]

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“Once in royal David’s city…”

Still and forever my favorite Christmas hymn. This serves as the processional for Midnight Mass at my parish.  The lights dim, a hush falls, and a small armada of 40 or so red-cassocked altar servers begin gliding into the church, working down the side aisle, rounding a corner, then up the center. The line grows, [Read More…]

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“Do not be afraid”: a Christmas homily

From Midnight Mass, 2007, here’s my first Christmas homily.  While the references are dated, I hope the message still resonates.  For so many this year, the central theme —Do not be afraid—is more urgent now than ever.  — Dcn. G. + Like a lot of people of a certain age, I remember well the first [Read More…]

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“Come, then, let us observe the Feast”: the first known Christmas sermon

It comes to us from the great St. John Chrysostom, from 386.  (Source).  Stuck for something to say on Christmas?   Try this on for size: BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.  The Angels sing.  The Archangels blend [Read More…]

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The best advice I ever got about serving Mass at Christmas…

…It was actually something I overheard. As I’ve noted before, we have a remarkable cadre of altar servers in my parish—100 of ’em, boys and girls, from ages 8 to 18, every one of them a gem.  They are selfless, generous, enthusiastic and (for the most part, except for a few yawners, scratchers and gigglers) [Read More…]

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All you “Les Miz” fans: the 12 Days of Christ-Miz

The cast of the London stage production gets in the spirit. [Read more…]

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