Tuesday, December 24th
5:00 pm and 7:00 pm
Wednesday, December 25
Keep in mind that parking will be at a premium, so please don’t leave it till the last minute and then expect to get a parking space as you would on an ordinary weekend. Not to mention, if you arrive late(ish), you may also be surprised to find that there are no seats available!
If you are wise and arrive somewhat earlier before any of the Christmas Masses, the Divisi String Quartet, whom you might remember from the past few years, will lead us in a Carol Service for half an hour before each Mass begins. The Divisi String Quartet will accompany us before and during all three Christmas Masses.
The 5:00 PM Christmas Eve Mass has, for the past few years, tended to be the most crowded; many people with children want to get home to celebrate the feast with those who need to get to bed early and be ready for Santa the next morning. By comparison, the 7:00 PM Mass is less crowded and easier to find a seat, and I presume parking is not as much at a premium as well.
The 8:30 AM Christmas Mass tends to stick in my memory. I see so many who look as if they have been run over by Santa’s sled or were up at 2:00 AM to enjoy their children’s excitement; and at that stage, they decided what would be the point of trying to go back to bed – just plan a nap for later in the day! This is another Mass worth considering coming to in order to avoid the usual Christmas Eve rush!
All three Christmas Masses are the same; there will be no “children’s Mass” or “old people’s Mass” or whatever else there might be …
One big change - to prevent Santa arriving on a fire engine accompanied by ambulances and other emergency vehicles (as happened last year at the 7:00 PM Christmas Eve Mass when the incense set off the fire alarms), all Masses will be incense-free. This will please not only the emergency services, but also many of us who suffer with allergies. It was just too much excitement as far as I was concerned, though many of you thought it was hilarious. I thought so too in hindsight once my blood pressure leveled out!
Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a very special welcome to all our visitors who will be celebrating with us.
Saturday 5:00 pm (Vigil Mass)
Sunday 8:30 am & 11:15 am
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 12:15
Saturday 4:00 - 4:30 pm
Welcome to St Catherine of Siena Parish! If you are looking for a church to enliven and deepen your faith, be part of a friendly, easy-going community, or would like to get involved in one of our ministries or begin a new one, I believe you may well have found the parish for which you’ve been looking!
Introduce yourself to me in the narthex before or after Mass – I’m always the first to arrive and the last to leave. I have a very good memory for faces, and in time, I will even remember your name! To get to know your fellow parishioners, come to our Saturday evening refreshments immediately after the Mass or Sunday breakfast after the 8.30 Mass. This is usually held on the weekend of the first Sunday of the month during the school year. Notification of any and all activities is in the parish bulletin which you’ll find here online. This allows us to keep our tradition of keeping Mass completely announcement-free.
As part of our charitable outreach, we donate 10% of our annual income to charities nominated by the parishioners during Lent each year. We have a food drive for a local shelter every month, and as you get to know us, you’ll discover all the other ways we are church, live our faith and serve our neighbors.
The countdown to Christmas gets closer and closer, along with the probable excitement and stress that goes with the season. Hence, all classes, meetings and miscellaneous gatherings here at St. Catherine’s ended this past week. Bible study, CCE, and the like will resume in the new year.
Janie Morales has been our business administrator here for the past year; she came with the understanding that she could take her retirement much more seriously after the year was over. She has more than fulfilled her promise! Janie is now ready for real retirement - no commute, early mornings and all that goes with a regular work week. She is going to spend more time with family, travel the world and leave no money for anyone to inherit – go for it! Seriously, we wish Janie every blessing as she embraces her well-earned retirement and a very sincere “thank you” for being with us this past year. In the meantime, Janie has sought and trained a very capable replacement, Missy Wibbelsman, whom we will introduce to you in one of the new year bulletins.
God bless and take care,
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On May 14, 1975, Bishop John Morkovsky issued a formal Declaration establishing the parish of St. Catherine of Siena to help provide for the corporal and spiritual welfare of the growing west Houston community with Fr. Cliff Natho being assigned as the founding pastor.
Until the completion of construction (3 years later), Sunday Masses were celebrated in neighboring churches and schools, including Congregation Beth Am Synagogue, Spring Oaks Junior High, and Fairhaven United Methodist Church.
The initial construction was completed in 1978, and included the community center (which doubled as the sanctuary), the offices and classrooms. The present sanctuary was completed in 1993 and stands as a living testament to the generous spirit of the people who gather to worship God under the patronage of St. Catherine of Siena. At the 25th anniversary celebration in 2000, our beautiful prayer plaza garden was dedicated by Auxiliary Bishop Curtis J. Guillory.
Born small and committed to growth in the Holy Spirit, the parish family of St. Catherine of Siena continues to blossom in what was once a distant Spring Branch prairie but is now part of Houston’s ever-expanding metropolis. From the beginning, this community has fostered a loving, welcoming family spirit. And as with most families, the sharing of food occupies a very important place in all our gatherings; so don’t be startled if someone offers you a cup of coffee and a doughnut. It’s just who we are.
St Catherine of Siena (1347 – 1380)
Born in 1347, St. Catherine of Siena was the twenty-third child born to Jacopo and Lapa Benincasa. Recognized as a lovely and highly intelligent youth, she was filled with a joyous spirit from an early age.
However, no one expected this lovely young girl to become one of the great mystical doctors of the Church. Yet, it was early in life that she demonstrated an uncommon desire to surrender herself completely to Christ. It is due to this desire and her willingness to live it completely that she is remembered and celebrated today. At the age of eighteen, she entered the Dominican Third Order and spent three years in seclusion and prayer. A group of followers gathered around her—men and women (lay and religious) – and an active public apostolate grew out of her contemplative life.
But it was during the Great Schism (beginning in 1378) which split the allegiance of Christendom between first two, then three popes that Catherine became most notable. She spent the last two years of her life in Rome, in prayer and pleading on behalf of the unity of the Church and arguing for the legitimacy of Urban VI. In 1380, she died at the age of 33. She was canonized in 1461.
Along with Theresa of Avila, St. Catherine was named a doctor of the church in 1970 by Paul VI. Her most famous work, The Dialogue, contains an ecstatic vision of a conversation between a soul (who rises to heaven) and God. This mystical work is often called her spiritual testament.
She is the patron of Italy and Europe.
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Hours may vary during holidays.