By Father David:
We invite everyone to bring your Christ Child figure to one of the Masses at St. Helena Parish in the Bronx during the weekend of December 15-16 for a special blessing. Our Mass times are Saturday at 5:30 PM, and Sunday at 7:30, 9:00, 10:30, NOON (Spanish), 1:30 PM, and 5:00 PM The Saturday 5:30 PM Mass will also be the First Mass here at St. Helena for our newly ordained Piarist priest Rev. Vinod Angadathu George, Sch.P. Our Father General, Very Rev. Pedro Aguado, Sch.P. is flying over from the Piarist Fathers Generalate in Rome for the celebration. A reception and the Parish Christmas Party will take place after the Saturday 5:30 PM Mass in the Parish Hall.
During his pontificate, Saint John Paul II instituted the celebration of “Bambinelli Sunday” on the Third Sunday of Advent, which is also called Gaudete Sunday and is one of only two days during the year where the priest wears rose-colored vestments. It is also the day on which the children of Rome may bring their Christ Child figures from their family crèches to St. Peter’s Square for a special blessing. For over thirty years, following the Sunday Angelus address, the Holy Father has blessed the Christ Child figures which the children then take back to homes, hiding them until they could place these figurines in the family Christmas cribs on Christmas morning. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have continued this beautiful tradition, blessing the Christ Child Crèche figures that children bring to St. Peter’s Square on Gaudete Sunday.
Parishes around the world are invited to join in this celebration by encouraging young children to make the important connection between the Nativity displays in their homes and those at their churches. Saint Francis of Assisi first created the Christmas crèche in the town of Grecio to assist the local people in becoming more aware of the Christmas story. Fr. Vinod resided at St. Helena while he was a seminarian attending St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers. He was ordained as a priest at his home parish of St. Rita of Cascia in Kerala, India, and this will be his first celebration here at St. Helena. People are invited to receive his First Priestly Blessing following the 5:30 PM Saturday Vigil Mass.
Contact: Rev. David Powers, Sch.P. 718-892-3232