It’s New Year’s Eve.
But, of course, it’s still Christmas.
The Church is still celebrating the Octave of Christmas, and the Season of Christmas doesn’t end until the observance of the Baptism of the Lord, which this year falls on Jan. 10.
In the Burger household, we’ve been keeping the Christmas spirit going by, in part, listening to a lovely CD that landed in our mailbox. It was recorded this year by a young group of nuns in the Midwest who, being Benedictines, lead a very old way of life.
They are the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, and their CD, “Christmas at Ephesus,” is their way of introucing more people to their way of life, charism and apostolate.
The 23 clearly-sung Christmas carols on the disc include traditional favorites such as Puer Natus and four new ones composed by the nuns.
The accompanying letter refers to them as “sung prayers.” That makes sense, since the life of these Benedictines is basically a continual singing of prayer. Their day begins early with Matins and ends with Compline. Five other periods of the traditional Liturgy of the Hours brings them together in the chapel throughout the day, not to mention Mass.
But there’s more to their life than singing. They see their charism as being like Mary, praying for and supporting the Apostles, the first priests. This community, founded in 1995, supports priests in three ways: prayer and sacrifice; sewing priestly vestments, and providing retreat accomodations for priests.
The community, founded under the auspices of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, was invited to establish itself in Kansas City, Mo., by its bishop, the Most Rev. Robert Finn. It has 21 members with an average age of 25, but feels it is growing so rapidly that it is planning to build a larger convent, with retreat facilities tha can accomodate 16 priests.
In this Year for Priests, it’s good to know that there are communities of religious out there supporting our priests by prayer, sacrifice and other ways. The Benedictines of Mary have a nice website you might check out, benedictinesormary.org, and you can hear samples there from their Christmas CD and another one they recorded.
Happy New Year! And, since it’s not over yet, Happy Christmas!