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placeholder Advent

Advent begins
on December 3

Advent Events

Filipino tradition
of Simbang Gabi
kicks off Dec. 14

Spreading an idea: The tenderness revolution

'Blue Christmas'
offers reflective light
in a season that
can be dark

Catholic Cemeteries Remembrance Tree Celebrations

Gift of Giving

'Radical answer' to assisting victims of commercial sexual exploitation

Help aging Sisters, Brothers and priests
in religious orders

Local charities
deliver holiday
season wish lists

Financial Matters

Five questions
to ask before
making gifts


800 runners participate in CYO championship


Sister Mary
Denis Baldwin, OP

Sister Romona
Nowak, OP

Drive through
prayer — it's
'God on the go'

St. Perpetua
new center triple
size of old hall

'Taking our
faith back'

'We can do
something for those
who have died'


Message of Fatima
still relevant for
the world today

A museum for
which to be thankful

placeholder November 20, 2017   •   VOL. 55, NO. 20   •   Oakland, CA
'Blue Christmas' offers reflective light
in a season that can be dark

On Dec. 21, the longest night of the year, the Cathedral of Christ the Light will open its doors to the people for whom Christmas is more of "Silent Night" than "Joy to the World."

For many — those who grieve the loss of a loved, for example, or loss of a job — Christmas "is not all 'Jingle Bells,'" said John Renke, pastoral associate for Divine Worship and Operations for the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland.

Blue Christmas
When: Dec. 21, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Cathedral of
Christ the Light
2121 Harrison St., Oakland
Parking in the Kaiser lot
Renke, who came to the cathedral this year from the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii in Honolulu where he was the organist and director of music for 10 years, created a Blue Christmas service there.

About 10 years ago, he was introduced to the Blue Christmas movement, and created a one-hour prayer service, with Scripture, song and silence.

"It's very reflective," Renke said. The Scripture is familiar — Ecclesiastes' "To everything there is a season." There's a lot of silence, he said, as well as meditative music.

"We talk about all the losses that accumulate throughout our lives," he said, "the loss of a relationship, or a job or the loss of health." The service acknowledges, he said, "the things that weigh on people."

There's singing by the congregation. "Silent Night" and "Away in the Manger" are in; "Joy to the World" is not.

"There's no one formula," Renke said. "This is something that I've put together and hardly changed over the years because it's so effective."

Blue Christmas will be a one-hour service, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland. While it is a Christian service, Renke invites people of all faiths to the longest night of the year at the cathedral.

Blue Christmas, he said, "acknowledges loss, grief and pain."
It also acknowledges, he said, "light at the other end."

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