Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Ambrose,

Happy Epiphany!  Happy “Little Christmas”!

Live streamed Mass was celebrated at 4:30 p.m. today (Saturday) and the link can be found here: Mass for the Solemnity of the Epiphany

 

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I’ve put together some images and information about this Solemnity for your consideration. 

 

Adoration of the Magi
(Second century) in the Catacomb of Priscilla

This is the earliest known artistic representation of the three wise men.

 AdorationOfMagi.jpg

 The Wise Men (1900)
by JC Leyendecker (1874-1951)

TheWiseMen.jpg 

Adoration of the Magi
(late 19thC) Conception Abbey, Missouri

  AdorationOfMagi19thC.jpg 

 

Epiphany
by Albert Herbert (1925-2008)
Methodist Modern Art Collection

Ephiphany.jpg 

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From the Jesuit Institute:

The traditions around naming and then developing characters for the Wise Men of the gospel began in the 6th century and grew considerably in the middle ages. There is little consistency about which king is which or who brings what gifts (although Balthasar is usually associated with the myrrh).

Caspar

Caspar is sometimes identified as the King of Tarsus and is represented as an old man with white hair and beard. He wears a green cloak and crown and is the first to kneel in adoration of the Christ child. Caspar is often associated with the gift of gold (though this is sometimes Melchior).

Melchior

Melchior is the middle-aged King of Arabia and brings the gift of frankincense from his homeland. He is portrayed with brown hair and beard, wearing a gold cloak

Balthasar

Balthasar is the young black King of Ethiopia and wears a purple/blue cloak. Balthasar is traditionally associated with the gift of myrrh.

Gold

Gold is the gift of kings, a symbol of kingship.

Frankincense

Frankincense is a type of incense made from the resin of Boswellia trees. Incense is used as a mark of honor used in worship (as when we incense the priest and people at Mass, or the altar or book of the gospels or gifts of bread and wine). It is a symbol of deity. The gift of frankincense is traditionally symbolized by the colors bronze/brown and green.

Myrrh

Myrrh is a type of incense made from the gum of the Commiphora tree. The essence can be extracted as a liquid as was used to dress wounds and anoint the dead. The Christian tradition links the birth of Christ with his death (he is born for the salvation of the world which is achieved in the sacrifice of his death) and so the myrrh has come to symbolize death and the oil that was brought by the three Marys on Easter morning to anoint his body. Myrrh is a symbol both of healing (or salvation) and of death. The gift of myrrh is traditionally symbolized by the colors purple and blue.

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Adapted from www.onepeterfive.com

If you’re a Catholic, you’ve probably seen it: a mysterious series of letters and numbers, looking for all the world like an equation, inscribed in chalk over a doorway at your parish, or at the home of a friend. Maybe you thought you could figure it out. Maybe you were too embarrassed to ask, “What the heck is that?”

If you don’t know what the chalk is all about, don’t be ashamed. You’re certainly not alone.

Epiphany (also known as Twelfth Night, Theophany, or Three Kings Day) marks the occasion of a time-honored Christian tradition of “chalking the doors.” The formula for the ritual — adapted for 2021 — is simple: take chalk of any color and write the following above the entrance of your home: 20 + C + M + B + 21.

The letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi — Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar — who came to visit Jesus in His first home. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “21” at the end mark the year. Taken together, this inscription is performed as a request for Christ to bless those homes so marked and that He stay with those who dwell therein throughout the entire year.

The chalking of the doors is a centuries-old practice throughout the world, though it appears to be somewhat less well-known in the United States. It is, however, an easy tradition to adopt, and a great practice whereby we dedicate our year to God from its very outset, asking His blessing on our homes and on all who live, work, or visit them there.

The chalking of the doors of a home encourages Christians to dedicate their life at home to God and to others. Seeing the symbols over our doors can help to remind us, while passing in and out on our daily routines, that our homes and all those who dwell there belong to Christ. It also serves as a reminder of welcoming the Magi gave to Jesus. We should strive to be as welcoming to all who come to our homes to visit us!

BlessingYourHome.jpg

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As a gift from the Parish, those in attendance at Mass or Communion Service this weekend were/will be given an Epiphany Home Blessing Kit.  We do ask that this gift be limited to ONE per HOUSEHOLD.  In this kit you will find several items, but of singular importance is the bottle of Holy Water.  This water has been blessed and should be used with respect (signing oneself with the Cross, blessing children, etc.) When the Holy Water runs low, you are welcome to bring the empty bottle back to Church and one of the Deacons or I will bless more water for you.  Once the restrictions from COVID-19 are lifted and we are once again allowed to have Holy Water in the Church (and baptismal font), you will be able to fill your own Holy Water bottle. 

The chalk has not been blessed, so after using it to mark your doorways, it may be used any way you wish. 

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One correction to the Bulletin for this weekend:

There WILL be Mass on Friday morning, January 8, 2021.

The Sunday bulletin can be accessed by clicking this link:  BULLETIN

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God continue to bless you and those you love during this new year of grace!