Dear Sisters and Brothers of Saint Therese Parish,
I hope you are enjoying the warmth of the church with the Christmas lights on as much as I am. It is such a beautiful building and a sanctuary for those times we need a little peace and quiet to pray. There is rarely a time I look out the window in the rectory or pass through the church when there isn’t someone making a visit, sometimes an out-of-towner but more often a parishioner. And the lit tree outside the church (decorated by the Montauk Fire Department) signals that we are a welcoming com-munity, still rejoicing in the birth of the Christ Child until the Christmas/Epiphany season ends (forty days after Christmas) on February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.
That day is also known as CANDLEMAS. Tradition has it that on this feast we bless the candles that we will use in the church throughout the next year. The “faithful” (that’s you) are invited to bring can-dles from their homes that will be used for private prayer, special occasions, or for when the priest comes to the home to anoint and bring Holy Communion to someone who is seriously ill or about to pass. Those too will be blessed.
Most of us know February 2nd as Groundhog Day. The secular culture “borrowed” this ancient Chris-tian holy day of Candlemas which marks the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. Why not? It is a sign that the LIGHT comes to scatter the darkness and is especially wel-come news for those of us who live in the wintry northern hemisphere. This is also the day when the Christmas trees and wreaths are taken down and the Crib is stored away until next year.
Since February 2nd is on a Tuesday this year and not everyone will be able to come to Mass on that day -and since our 10:30 Sunday Mass is live streamed so that people at home can participate -why don’t we anticipate the feast and have the blessing of the candles as part of the Masses next weekend, January 30/31? So bring your candles either to Mass if you are physically attending or to your screen if you are watching livestream.And if there are some of you able and willing after the 10:30 Mass we could use help in dismantling the outdoor crib and bringing the figures down to the church basement. All the rest will stay up until after the Mass on the actual Feast day on Tuesday.
Just one more thing -it is a tradition to eat pancakes or crepes on Candlemas because they are shaped like the sun. So Sunday or Tuesday -what’s a little pancake batter, butter and syrup?! Enjoy!One other thing -we will bless throats (collectively, not individually) as part of the closing blessing of the Masses on January 30/31 -usually done on February 3rd.OK, one more thing -so that the Montauk firefighters can sleep peacefully -please never leave a lit candle unattended.
Blessings and peace,
Father Bob, C.P.