As bishop of the Diocese of Tyler, I invite the faithful of the diocese to enter into a Festival Week of the Immaculate Virgin Mary celebrating the 2nd Sunday of Advent, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the 3rd Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday. I encourage all to enter into this special week of prayer and fasting with the intentions of unity in the Holy Catholic Church, the Body of Christ and Peace in our nation and in our world.
I will be present at the Cathedral for Eucharistic Adoration and Holy Mass from Monday through Friday of this week. Adoration will begin at 6:00 AM each day and continue until Holy Mass at 7:00 AM. All are invited to come to the Cathedral for one of these opportunities of prayer. Certainly, if traveling to the Cathedral is not possible, I encourage everyone around the diocese to join us in spiritual communion.
In addition, I ask everyone to fast for at least one of these days or multiple days if you discern that it is feasible for you to do so. The fasting I recommend is the customary Lenten Fast on Ash Wednesday which consists of eating only one full meal for the day. If this is not possible, I urge all to enter into some form of fasting during this Festival Week.
During this festival week, I remind you that the Church grants a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions of complete detachment from all sin, sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff, to the faithful who visit the Blessed Sacrament for adoration lasting at least a half hour (Conc. 7, §1, 1°). Also, a partial indulgence, under the usual conditions, is granted to the faithful who fast or otherwise voluntarily abstain from something that is licit for and pleasing to them (Gen. Conc. III).
I pray that participating in this way will make this Advent’s Gaudete Sunday especially joyful.
Let us repent of our sins this Advent and rejoice in Emmanuel as we prepare ourselves for the Nativity of the Lord at Christmas.