For Advent, I'm giving up snowboarding on freshly-fallen snow to watch.
Opening. Bob Dolan with his brother Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan in the Archbishop's home. The advent wreath with three candles burning is in the background. Bob notes there's no Christmas tree. Our Archbishop explains that's because Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas. That's why we don't see Christmas decorations in our churches. [At St. Al's, what appears to be garland on the walls all around the interior of the church, and much greenery in the sanctuary, is allegedly a giant Advent wreath.] Our Archbishop notes that many of our Christmas customs originated in Victorian England, and before that in Germany.
Segue to Jeff Jackson visiting the Sinter Klausen Christmas Markt in Germantown. The name is Dutch but the inventory is German. There's the smoking figurine incense burner, said to originate in figures of the Magi. There's a popular Advent Calendar pattern. Among the ornaments is the gherkin, from the German custom of hanging a pickle shaped ornament last, and the first kid up on Christmas morning found it and got an extra present.
Back to our Archbishop's home, where Bob asks about his Christmas traditions. He has the seminarians over just before Christmas to help decorate his tree. [Like the pre-burned Advent wreath candles, taping the shows in advance required the tree shown in the photo for the preview of next week's episode.] He celebrates Mass and has lunch with the retired priests shortly before Christmas. He visits a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. On Christmas Eve, between the evening Mass and Midnight Mass, he prays before the creche at the Cathedral. After Midnight Mass he visits a fire station.
Break, Bill O'Toole of the program underwriter, Catholic Knights Insurance. Commercials: Marquette University; Lion King at the Milwaukee Theatre; Bath Fitters.
We're back, with Fr. Don Hying, Rector, on Christmas traditions. Father Hying wears a gray cardigan over his clericals. It looks like the three of them have hot cocoa in their Living Our Faith logo mugs. Fr. Hying says the creche comes from St. Francis of Assisi, who had the scene re-enacted by his followers as a way of commemorating the Incarnation. The Advent wreath is from a pagan custom of a winter wreath as hope for spring. In the Christian adaptation, the circle of the wreath symbolizes the God is without beginning or end, the candles of coming light of Christ. The Christmas tree comes from the Druids, who used the evergreen tree as symbol of hope. This the Christians co-opted [Fr. Hying's apt term] to symbolize that God's love is ever new. The custom of gift-giving comes from the Gospel account of the Magi. Gift-giving should put us in mind of Christ as a gift from God the Father, and of everything as a gift from God,
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We're back, with Bob asking his brother about a Dolan Christmas story. Their Dad served in the in the Pacific during the Second World War aboard the U.S.S. Cleveland. Like many WW2 vets, he said little about the experience, but he did tell them this story. The crew heard that there would be Midnight Mass on ship. [From the ship's history, it looks like this would be Christmas 1943.] When Mass began, the celebrant was a Japanese priest. There was at first quite a bit of protest, and some sailors left. As the Mass went on, the hard feelings dissipated. When Mass was over, many of the sailors shook hands with the priest, and some had their picture taken with him. [It reminded me of the Christmas truce.]
Next some emailed questions from viewers. One asked about having baptisms at Sunday Mass; the writer preferred Baptisms be more of a family ceremony. Our Archbishop replied that there is the also public dimension of Baptism, a new member of the Church and the parish, so it's okay at some Masses. Another asked for his favorite restaurant in Rome and his favorite part of St. Peter's Basilica. I didn't catch the restaurant name. It's about three blocks from St. Peter's. Good pasta fazool. [We had one of the kids along on my only trip to Rome and were regularly at the McDonald's near the Spanish Steps.] His favorite spot in the Basilica is the tomb of St. Peter under altar, noting how it brought to mind "upon this rock". [I liked the gift shop on the roof where I bought a replacement crucifix for the rosary I inherited from my late Grandma Berres.]
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We're back with closing reflections by our Archbishop. Remember the Christmas tradition of charity. Their father belonged to his parish St.Vincent DePaul Society. Before Christmas, he took young Timothy along when delivering boxes of food, clothes, and Chrismas gifts. This flows from Christ as God the Father's gift to us. The "late Great John Paul II" talked of the law of the gift; we are most truly human when we give of ourselves, give ourselves away. "See you in church."
Bob previews next week's show, includes what's being done for unwed mothers.
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Commercials: Lion King at Milwaukee Theatre; Bath Fitter; The Exclusive Company; Channel 12 Season to Celebrate.