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December 15, 2020

Suggestions for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

Suggestions for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

We have now reached the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and we are one step away from Christmas — from receiving the Christ Child in our hearts. In the first reading this Sunday, we see how King David was thinking of making a temple to the Father, but through Nathan, God makes David understand of his favor upon him: “Do everything you have proposed, because you have the support of the Lord” (2 Samuel 7:3). In Psalm 88, we proclaim, “I will ceaselessly proclaim the mercy of the Lord.” Additionally, in the second reading from Romans, we are asked to give glory to God “through Jesus Christ, forever.” Finally, in Luke Chapter 1, we hear about the account of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel was sent by God to tell Mary that she was going to conceive and give birth to a baby, “who will be called Son of the Most High,” to which Our Mother, the Virgin Mary, said in reply, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

As I meditated on this Gospel passage, thinking of Mary’s ‘Yes,’ I remembered the moment when God called me to serve in the music ministry, exactly 30 years ago. I had just immigrated to the United States on December 20, 1990, from Córdoba, Argentina, where I was studying engineering after having spent my childhood in my second homeland, Bolivia, the land of my parents. I began to attend St. Patrick’s parish with my family and soon after my arrival, the young man who led the choir had an accident and became unable to sing for several months. Deacon Eduardo, who at that time was the pastoral assistant, found out that I played a little guitar and invited me to serve.

I had come to this country looking for opportunities, thinking about material things. But the ways of the Lord are mysterious, and it was he who made me this invitation, through the deacon. That invitation was later reaffirmed when I attended a national liturgy conference in Seattle and realized that what I was doing in church was much more than a hobby — it was a vocation of life to say ‘Yes’ to the Lord and do his will, serve his people, through the liturgical music ministry.

In these remaining days of Advent, I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities to prepare your heart for the arrival of the Child of God, Emmanuel — either by receiving the grace of Reconciliation with God, through Confession, or by participating in devotions like the novenas, the Posadas, as well as participating in livestream events. Let us say our personal ‘Yes’ to the Lord as the Blessed Virgin Mary did, putting ourselves at the service of others in our communities of faith.

Finally, if God has blessed you financially, be generous to your parish and those who are in need, especially in this crisis. Share your time, talent, and especially your treasure.

Song Suggestions

Prelude: This week is a good opportunity to sing a song to the Virgin Mary. One suggestion is “Hail Mary: Gentle Woman” by Carey Landry. I invite you to listen to the Spirit and Song version arranged by Sarah Hart. Also, “Ave María” by Gregory Norbet is a beautiful choice. You may also choose to play instrumental music that puts the faithful in prayer.

Entrance:Christ the Lord” by Robert Feduccia and Sarah Hart is a great choice for this week. A bilingual option is “O Come, O Come Emmanuel/Oh Ven, Oh Ven Emmanuel.” Alberto Coppo’s Gaudete is another great bilingual option that I also suggest for this Advent season.

Responsorial Psalm: I recommend Psalm 89: “For Ever I Will Sing” by Tim Schoenbachler. Also “For Ever I Will Sing the Goodness of the Lord” by Tom Booth from Spirit & Psalm 2021 is a great choice. You can find another option in Respond & Acclaim 2021. “Salmo 88: Cantaré Eternamente” by Mary Frances Reza is a great bilingual option found in Flor y Canto.

Offering:Holy Is His Name” by John Michael Talbot is a favorite in the parish that I serve. “Magnificat” by Steve Angrisano and Curtis Stephan is another beautiful option. “Magníficat” by Pedro Rubalcava is an excellent bilingual choice.

Communion:The King Shall Come, When Mourning Dawns” is a good hymn for our last Sunday of Advent. “The King Shall Come” by Trevor Thompson found in Spirit & Song is beautiful song for Advent in a more contemporary style. “Comemos de Este Pan/We Come to Eat This Bread” by Jaime Cortez, from the collection El Señor Nos Invita, Vol. 1 is a good bilingual option specially for Masses with children.

Recessional:O Come, Divine Messiah” and “Soon and Very Soon” have been part of our parish repertoire for the fourth week of Advent. “Come to Us” by Greg and Mary Walton is a beautiful and more recent Advent Song. Also “Nuestra Alegría/Our Joy” from Iván Díaz and Tom Booth is a good option for multicultural liturgies.

May you have a blessed week and a Merry Christmas. May the next year bring us hope and an end to this pandemic, so we can gradually move into better days, walking along with God.

Silvio Cuellar
Silvio Cuéllar

Silvio Cuéllar was born in Córdoba, Argentina and grew up in Bolivia. He is currently the coordinator of the Office of Hispanic Ministry of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, Associate Editor of the newspaper El Católico of Rhode Island and Director of Music and Social Media at San Patrick Parish in Providence where he conducts choirs in English and Spanish.

He lives in Rhode Island with his wife Becky. They have seven children who share their talents of music by holding concerts, retreats and family worship nights.