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HAPPY NEW YEAR! I am trying to beat the rush as some do for Christmas...NO, I say Happy New Year, because this Sunday is a NEW CHURCH YEAR begining with the First Sunday of Advent. Please find below information and resources that will help you use the season well.
There is a part called, "Hey, Father?" which includes many basic questions and answers about Advent.
Immediately below you will find a great website and a very simple, short daily prayer that will add greatly to your Advent season of preparation. More websites may be found after the QandA.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
> Readings for the First Sunday of Advent <
Beginning the first Sunday of Advent (November 29), participants will receive daily emails with either a short 1-2 minute video, inspirational quote, or coaching that will help them live out the great works of mercy during the Advent season.
The simple yet powerful messages from Matthew Kelly and six other incredible Catholic authors and speakers will help your entire parish rediscover God’s great mercy and inspire people to show that mercy to others.
WATCH SHORT VIDEO AND GIVE IT SERIOUS CONSIDERATION! Thanks!
Daily Advent Prayer:
O Jesus, little child, come into my heart on Christmas morn, to wash away my sins and remain there in eternally. O Mary, Mother of my Savior, and St. Joseph prepare for Jesus a cradle in my heart. Amen.
Prayer for the Advent Wreath
Lord, our God, we praise You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, for He is Emmanuel, the Hope of all people. He is the Wisdom that teaches and guides us. He is the Savior of us all. O Lord, let your blessing come upon us as we light the first (purple) candle of this wreath. May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ's promise of salvation. May He come quickly and not delay. We ask this in His holy name. Amen.
Catholic Questions & Catholic Answers
Advent is the season that begins the liturgical year. It consists of four Sundays starting with the Sunday closest to November 30th. The word "advent" is derived from the Latinadventus, which means "coming" or "arrival." In the societies of the Roman empire, the word adventus referred to the arrival of a person of dignity and great power -- a king, emperor, or even one of the gods. For Christians, Advent is the time when the Church patiently prepares for the coming of Jesus Christ as a baby born and laid in a humble feedbox.
WHY IS PURPLE THE LITURGICAL COLOR FOR ADVENT?
Purple is the traditional color for the season of Advent. Purple was the most costly dye in ancient times and was therefore used by kings to indicate their royal status. Purple also signifies the repentance of God's people as they patiently await the arrival of their Lord. Sometimes a lighter hue of purple is used for Advent to help distinguish Advent from the other special penitential season of preparation, Lent.
WHY IS ADVENT SUCH AN IMPORTANT SEASON IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH?
While the rest of secular society is already caught up in the frantic rush of shopping, decorations, parties, and other distractions, the Church takes pause during Advent to contemplate the wonder of God's underserved mercy and love in Jesus Christ. Christians approach the Advent season much as expectant parents approach the months before a child is born. There are feelings of exhilaration, uneasiness, longing, and awe as the day of arrival approaches. Just as parents do everything they can to get ready and put things into good order, God's people prepare themselves at home and at church for the coming of the Lord by exercising the disciplines of Advent: Confession and repentance, fervent prayer, immersion in Scripture, fasting, and the singing of the Great "O" Antiphons (see last question) and other seasonal hymns and anthems.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT AN ADVENT WREATH?
The Advent wreath is one of the most common and popular symbols used by Christians during the season of Advent. These wreaths, consisting of a circle of evergreen branches set around four candles, are used in both churches and Christian homes. The evergreen circle stands for the eternal life that Christ has won for all believers. The burning candles represent the coming of Christ as the light of the world (John 1:4-9). Three purple candles and one rose-colored or pink candle are used. The purple signifies that Advent is a season of repentance as well as expectation. A candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent, with another one lit on each succeeding Sunday. The joyfully colored rose (or pink) candle is reserved for the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete, which means "rejoice" in Latin, is the opening word of the Introit for that Sunday: Rejoice!… the Lord is near. (Philippians 4:4). Rejoicing also because it shows that we are over half way to the Season of Christmas when the rose (or pink) candle is lit.
Some Christians interpret the four candles in a very specific way. The first candle, or the Prophet Candle, symbolizes the hope and anticipation of Christ's coming in the flesh as prophesied so many places in the Old Testament. The second candle recalls how Christ appeared in the flesh in humble manner, being born of a virgin in the insignificant villageof Bethlehem. This is why this candle is often referred to as the Bethlehem Candle. The third candle is known as the Shepherds' Candle. It recalls the rejoicing of the shepherds when they departed after having seen the Christ-child in the stable. The fourth candle is the Angels' Candle. It reminds us of the heavenly host that announced of the good news of our Savior's birth.
In addition to the four Advent candles, most Advent wreaths have a larger, white candle in the center called the Christ candle. This white candle is lit on Christmas Eve and throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas.
WHAT DO WE AS A CHURCH FOCUS ON DURING ADVENT?
Even though Advent occurs in the month of December and is often considered as a prelude to Christmas, it is not simply about waiting for the birth of Christ. The Advent season focuses on Christ's threefold coming: past, present, and future. First, we remember the Lord's humble first coming in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Second, we give thanks for His present and continual coming to us through Word and Sacrament. Finally, we look forward with hope and longing to His second coming in glory on Judgment Day.
WHAT ARE THE GREAT "O" ANTIPHONS?
The Great O Antiphons are seven brief evening prayers that are traditionally chanted during Advent from the 17th to the 23rd of December. The Great O Antiphons are rich in meaning and nuance. Each antiphon begins with the acclamation "O," addresses Christ by one of His messianic titles from the Old Testament, and ends with a heartfelt plea for His coming. The sequence of the antiphons is very precise, progressing from before the creation of the universe, through the messianic prophecies of Israel, and culminating with the Incarnation and birth of Christ in Bethlehem. The initials of each Latin title -- Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel -- combine to form SARCORE. When this is arranged backwards, it spells the phrase ERO CRAS, which means "Tomorrow, I will be." This fascinating coincidence was very suggestive to Christians of the Middle Ages because Christmas Eve (December 24th) falls on the day after the singing of the final antiphon.
Advent Wreath: Prayers and Explanation
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Overview of the Season of Avent
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