Father Eric Banecker’s Weekly Message

Dear friends in Christ,


It is not every day that Pope Francis and the Economist Newspaper are encouraging people to do the same thing. But that is exactly what is happening as we approach the 700th anniversary of the death of Dante Alighieri, the author of that great work of Western literature, the Divine Comedy.


Ever since its writing, the Catholic Church has always given a unique status to this great poem. Of course, that is not to say that Dante had some kind of prophetic ability to say who was in heaven, hell, or purgatory at any given moment. The poem is, after all, a work of fiction, but one that has perennial truths to teach us. As Dante in the poem continually looks up to the stars, so the Divine Comedy has a unique ability to raise our minds above the travails of this world. If we take it on its own terms, this literary journey from the depths of despair to the heights of glory will remind us that while this earth is passing away, our actions here and now have eternal consequences.


The passages about hell – perhaps understandably – have fascinated the popular imagination the most. And of course, there is a call to responsibility in those sad passages about those who are separated from God for eternity. Yet it is the Paradiso to which we are called as readers and as human beings. Each of us has an eternal destiny, to share in the life of God forever with the great multitude of the blessed whom Dante meets along the way. It is not, in the end, a poem about punishment and evil, but about hope, joy, and the “love which moves the sun and the other stars” (Paradiso, Canto 33). I plan to read the Divine Comedy over the next few months and invite you to do the same.


May God be Blessed!


-Father Eric Banecker



P.S. You may find a website called 100daysofdante.com helpful – they are reading the poem between September and Easter, releasing three videos per week. Pope Francis’ letter on the subject “Candor Lucis Aeternae” (Splendor of Light Eternal) is also worth a read!

Parish Update

Dear friends in Christ,

On this 131st anniversary of the founding of our parish, I have exciting news to share with you all. Today, Archbishop Perez appointed me pastor of Saint Francis de Sales Parish. I am grateful to the Archbishop for his confidence in me, and I look forward to continuing my priestly ministry here at DeSales. It is a wonderful parish that I am humbled to lead. More information will be forthcoming about an installation Mass and celebration. Please keep in your prayers all the priests receiving new assignments this weekend, along with the two newly ordained priests of the Archdiocese.
May God be Blessed!
-Father Eric Banecker

Advent and Christmastide 2020

Vespers & Adoration in Advent

Fr. Eric will continue to offer the weekly Holy Hour on Wednesdays at 5 pm. Come and adore the Lord and join us for Evening Prayer! Our Facebook Page livestreams the whole hour. “Like” us to receive notifications!

Additional Confession Times in Advent

  • Wednesdays at 5:15 (after the Holy Hour homily)
  • Saturdays, 4:15 pm -4:45 pm
  • Sundays, 9 am – 10 am

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

  • December 7
    • 5 pm (Vigil Mass)
  • December 8
    • 7 am – Simple
    • 7 pm – Solemn (with organ and cantor)

The Solemn Feast of the Nativity (Christmas)

  • Thursday, Dec. 24:
    • 5 pm Vigil “Family” Mass. There will be an additional “overflow” Mass celebrated simultaneously in the Lower Church if we are filled to capacity under the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. 
    • 12 am “Shepherds’ Mass” at Midnight. His Excellency Bishop Timothy Senior, the Rector of St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook, will be the principal celebrant at the Midnight Mass.
  • Friday, Dec. 25
    • No 7 am Mass 
    • 10:15 am Mass of Christmas Morning

The Octave of Christmas

  • Daily Masses Dec. 26-31: Masses of the Day are offered at the usual daily Mass times of 7 am (9 am Saturdays). The rectory is closed for the duration of the Octave of Christmas.
  • The Feast of Mary, the Mother of God (A Holy Day of Obligation)
    • Dec. 31: 5 pm Vigil Mass
    • Jan. 1: 7 am & 9 am

Rejoice! The Lord is near!