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Advent: December 16th

Friday of the Third Week of Advent; Ember Friday

Other Commemorations: St. Adelaide, Empress and Widow (RM)


December 16, 2022 (Readings on USCCB website)



Friday of the Third Week of Advent: May your grace, almighty God, always go before us and follow after, so that we, who await with heartfelt desire the coming of your Only Begotten Son, may receive your help both now and in the life to come. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


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» Enjoy our Liturgical Seasons series of e-books!

We are the blind offspring of the children of pitiful Eve
Bringing with us the shadows born of an age-old error.
But when God deigned to assume the mortal form
Of a human nature, then came forth from the Virgin
A world of salvation.... —Carmen 4, Sedulius

The Roman Martyrology commemorates St. Adelaide (931-999), daughter of King Rudolf II of Jurane, Burgundy. Adelaide's first arranged marriage at age 16 to King Lothar II of Italy ended in 3 years at his death. Her second marriage to Emperor Otto the Great she became Holy Roman Empress and reigned with Otto for 20 years. She suffered much during her life. She became regent of the Holy Roman Empire as the guardian of her grandson in 991–995. While in that role, she spent much of her power helping the poor, evangelize particularly to Slavs, and to establish and restore churches and monasteries. After her grandson Otto III was old enough to resume power, she retired to a convent in Selz, Alsace to live out the rest of her days in prayer.

     Station Church Information >>>

Today is the traditional Ember Friday of the December Ember Days. The traditional station church is the Twelve Apostles in Rome, a minor basilica. The older liturgy of Ember Friday presented St. Elizabeth and the Visitation of Mary. The lectionary and prayers of the current missal for December 21 reflect the liturgy of the traditional December Ember Friday. The former fasting and abstinence rules of Ember Days are no longer binding; it now is a personal choice. Advent has endowed the December Ember days with their special character of expectation and preparation for Christmas, thus reducing the idea of fasting and penance to a secondary position.

     Jesse Tree, Day 20 ~ Micah
     Jesse Tree Overview

Today is Day One of the Christmas Novena

St. Adelaide
St. Adelaide was a truly remarkable woman. She was the daughter of the king of Burgundy, and was married to Lothair of Italy, the son of the ruler of Provence as a means of ending a feud. When her husband was murdered by a rival prince, she was shut up in captivity by Berengarius of Ivrea, until rescued by the emperor Otto the Great, who married her. Otto I became Holy Roman Emperor and Adelaide, his Empress. She ruled with her husband until his death, at which time she was badly treated by her son Otto II, and later her jealous daughter-in-law who was co-regent with Adelaide for her grandson Otto III. The daughter-in-law Theophano had her banished from the court twice, yet Adelaide remained steadfast and faithful, known for her liberality in giving and her piety; and eventually she was restored to court as the regent for her grandson Otto III. She was active in the reforms of the great abbey at Cluny, and reposed in 999. She took as her counsellors St. Adalbert of Magdeburg and SS. Majors and Odilo of Cluny. After Otto was old enough to reign on his own, Adelaide retired to the convent of Selta (Selz Abbey) near Cologne, a house she had built. Though she never became a nun, she spent the rest of her days there in prayer. The Abbey is no longer in existence. Some of her relics are enshrined in Hanover.

Despite her exalted status, she was a wife and mother, and lived both hard times and good, always faithful to her Lord, and always ready to give generously to those in need. She never took revenge on her political enemies once she gained the regency and it was said that her court was much like a monastery itself in its piety. She is a reminder to me that regardless of how much or how little I may have, my work remains the same.
—Excerpted from Panagia Icons and A Dictionary of Saints by Attwater

Patronage: abuse victims; against in-law problems; brides; empresses; exiles; parenthood; parents of large families; people in exile; princesses; prisoners; second marriages; step-parents; victims of abuse; widows;

Symbols and Representation: empress dispensing alms and food to the poor, often beside a ship; escaping from prison in a boat; holding a church; veil

Highlights and Things to Do:

Ember Saturday of Advent
Station with Santi Dodici Apostoli (the Twelve Holy Apostles, also Santi Apostoli):

The stational church for today's Mass is the church of the Twelve Apostles in Rome. Mary is the apostle of the liturgy, the Mediatrix of all grace. She is the root from which springs the full bloom, Christ. "And of His fullness we all have received, and grace for grace" (John 1:16). It was erected by Julius I (337-352) over the barracks of ancient Rome's firemen and entrusted since 1463 to the Conventual Franciscans. Originally dedicated to the Apostles St. James and St. Philip, it was rededicated to all the Apostles in the 16th century. It is currently in the care of Conventual Franciscans.

For more on Santi Dodici Apostoli, see:

For further information on the Station Churches, see The Stational Church.