Welcome to St. Mark's Website!
We are located in San Marcos, California. We are a Roman Catholic faith community just north of San Diego. Please explore our website. Here you'll find information about our parish, its History and its many activities offered to enrich the lives of people of all ages. Be sure to check out our schedules for Mass, confessions, spiritual programs and social gatherings for young and old. You'll also find a directory of our Parish staff. The staff will be happy to help you with your questions and /or arrange a time to meet with you.
We encourage you to sign up for our E-Mail Newsletter (sign up at lower left of the page) so you can be notified of opportunities in our parish, receive updates and notices on upcoming events and more!
"Come and see" John 1:39
Christmas Season Schedule
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses
The word Christmas derives from the combination of Christ and Mass; it is the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Second in the liturgical calendar only to Easter, Christmas is celebrated by many as if it were the most important of Christian feasts.
History of Christmas
People are often surprised to find that Christmas was not
celebrated by the earliest Christians. The custom was to celebrate a
saint's birth into eternal life—in other words, his death. Thus Good Friday (Christ's death) and Easter Sunday (His Resurrection) took center stage.
To this day, the Church celebrates only three birthdays: Christmas; the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and the Birth of John the Baptist. The common thread in the celebrations is that all three were born without Original Sin: Christ, because He was the Son of God; Mary, because she was sanctified by God in the Immaculate Conception; and John the Baptist, because his leap in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth, at the Visitation is seen as a type of Baptism (and thus, even though John was conceived with Original Sin, he was cleansed of that sin before birth).
It took a while, though, for the Church to develop the feast of
Christmas. While it may have been celebrated in Egypt as early as the
third century, it did not spread throughout the Christian world until
the middle of the fourth century. It was first celebrated along with Epiphany,
on January 6; but slowly Christmas was separated out into its own
feast, on December 25. Many of the early Church Fathers regarded this as
the actual date of Christ's birth, though it does coincide with the
Roman festival of Natalis Invicti (the winter solstice, which the Romans
celebrated on December 25), and the Catholic Encyclopedia does not reject the possibility that the date was chosen as "a deliberate and legitimate 'baptism' of a pagan feast."
By the middle of the sixth century, Christians had begun to observe Advent, the season of preparation for Christmas, with fasting; and the Twelve Days of Christmas, from Christmas Day to Epiphany, had become established.
Prayer for the Feast of Christmas
Ant. A light shall shine upon us this day: for our Lord is
born to us; and He shall be called Wonderful, God, the Prince of peace,
the Father of the world to come, of Whose kingdom there shall be no end.
A child is born to us. And to us a Son is given.
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord our God, that we who rejoice in
celebrating the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ may deserve by
holiness of life to attain unto fellowship with Him. Who liveth and
reigneth forever and ever. Amen.
“Come, Lord Jesus, come in glory!”
come in glory!” These ancient words
reflect the yearning of the earliest Christians in New Testament times. (cf. Rev. 22:20; 1 Cor. 16:22)
the world are about to enter the beautiful season of Advent. Symbolized by the progressive lighting of the
4 candles on the Advent wreath. We are entering a season of preparation and
anticipation. This time of the liturgical year has three focal points. Advent
time of preparing ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to ready
ourselves for His future return in glory. Christmas is the
celebration of the Incarnation and how wondrous the birth of the Word of God is
to each one of us! During
Epiphany, we celebrate Christ becoming manifest—that is, made known—to all
peoples, as portrayed by the three Wise Men symbolizing the many races for
which Christ was born. This is a season and
the time to reflect on how God’s “Christmas gift” of His Incarnate Son is a
gift for everyone! How important is it to open the gift and s
might discover as did the Apostle Paul when he said, “I have come to rate all
as loss in the light of the surpassing knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3:8)
Advent is a time of patient
anticipation. No one likes to wait, whether we are at a red light, at the
check-out counter or in the doctor’s office. And yet, the Holy Spirit knows
that patient waiting can be good for us if we make good spiritual use of these
four weeks. Then, when the celebration
of Christmas truly begins, on Christmas Eve, we will be ready.
Begin 2015 with the Lord at one of our Mass celebrations:
Begin 2015 with the Lord at one of our Mass celebrations:
New Year's Day was formerly the feast of the Circumcision of Our
Lord, then it changed to the Holy Name of Jesus, but now it is the
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Regardless of the feast, this is a day
of hospitality for most people. Here are some ideas for an open house
for family members and friends. Included is a blessing of beer, and a
renewal of one's baptismal promises, to commemorate the day of baptism.
Some of these ideas can be applied to January 3, the actual feast of the
Holy Name of Jesus.
The Church begins the New Year with the Holy Name of Jesus [Editor's Note:
January 1 is now the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Pope John Paul
II has restored the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus to January 3.]
Liturgically this great feast commemorates the first shedding of His
blood for our redemption. On the same day, along with celebrating the
giving of His Name Jesus, which means Savior, we also honor
Mary's divine Motherhood. Today's Epistle bids us to circumcise our
hearts, as it were, "to live soberly, justly, and godly in this world."
New Year's is a day of hospitality among many people, especially the
French. In England it was a day set aside for godparents; and godcakes
are still given to children on this day in many places. It should be
easy to keep New Year's day as a feast on which we honor godparents and
repay them for the responsibility they have assumed toward our children.
Baptism of the Lord
Christ's Baptism Foreshadows Our Own:
At first glance, the Baptism of the Lord might seem an odd feast. Since the Catholic Church teaches that the Sacrament of Baptism
is necessary for the remission of sins, particularly Original Sin, why
was Christ baptized? After all, He was born without Original Sin, and He
lived His entire life without sinning. Therefore, He had no need of the
sacrament, as we do.
In submitting Himself humbly to the baptism of St. John the
Baptist, however, Christ provided the example for the rest of us. If
even He should be baptized, though He had no need of it, how much more
should the rest of us be thankful for this sacrament, which frees us
from the darkness of sin and incorporates us into the Church, the life
of Christ on earth! His Baptism, therefore, was necessary--not for Him,
but for us.
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