Advent means “to come to”;
the season calls:
“O Come Let Us Adore Him!”
Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year for the Roman Catholic Church. On the first day of Advent, which begins this year on November 29th, the Church celebrates its New Year’s Day. The date for the beginning of Advent falls each year on the Sunday closest to November 30th – the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle.
Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that Advent is part of the Christmas celebration. In fact, Advent is a separate time of preparation all its own. For the Catholic Church, Christmas doesn’t begin until the first Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve and it continues until the “Octave of the Epiphany” on January 14th.
Advent is given to us as a time to prepare our souls for the coming of the Lord. This season is very similar to Lent which helps us to prepare for Easter. In modern times we are tempted to skip over the penitential aspects of Advent and focus on the joy of Christmas. This is a great tragedy. Focusing only on the joy denies the truth: the Christ Child is our Lord and Savior Who will suffer and die for our salvation.
Originally Advent was celebrated over forty days, just like the Lenten season. This has now been shortened to four weeks, but the symbolism remains. You may notice another similarity to Lent when you attend Mass; although we still sing the Alleluia before the Gospel reading, we no longer sing the song of the angels – the Gloria. We will sing this song anew with the angels on Christmas day – just as they did over 2000 years ago.
The Scripture readings during Mass remind us of all the prophecies that point to the Lord’s coming. We are called to keep watch and to leave behind our sinful ways. We also hear the recurring theme of a light shining through darkness. In Isaiah 60:19 we are reminded of this promise: “The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”
What is the meaning of the Advent Wreath?
Since circles have no beginning and no end, the circular shape of the Advent Wreath is used to symbolize God the Father and eternal life. The wreath holds four candles which are lit over the four weeks of Advent. The light of the flame is a visual reminder that Christ is “The Light of the World” (John 8:12). There are three violet (purple) candles and one rose candle, each representing 1,000 years. Added together, the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for the Savior.
Violet is a liturgical color that is used to signify a time of penance, sacrifice, and prayer. During the first two and the last weeks of Advent we light violet candles. The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. On this day we celebrate that our waiting for Christmas is almost over. Rose is a liturgical color that is used to signify joy, so we light the rose candle on the third Sunday of Advent.
Traditionally, each of the four candles on an Advent wreath has their own meaning. The first Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope with the Prophet’s Candle reminding us that Jesus is coming. The second Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the Bethlehem Candle reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The third Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the Shepherd’s Candle reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus. The fourth Sunday symbolizes Peace with the Angel’s Candle reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”
When Advent Wreaths are decorated the materials often have symbolic meaning. The use of evergreens reminds us of our eternal life with Christ, holly represents the crown of thorns from the Passion of Jesus, and pinecones symbolize Christ’s Resurrection.
The Eight Beatitudes form the core of the Christian life. As Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., writes in his Modern Catholic Dictionary, they are the “promises of happiness made by Christ to those who faithfully accept his teaching and follow his divine example.” That happiness is not in the future but now for those who conform their lives to Christ.
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
- Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
- Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
- Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
- Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.”
the kiss of christ
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“You can reach heaven
from any place on earth.”
Feast Days and Holy Days of Obligation for 2013
The Holy Days of Obligation are the days (outside of Sundays) on which Catholics gather together to celebrate the mysteries of our faith as a community. This “obligation” is familial because we are responsible as a family of faith in mutually supporting one another. Gathering together in our parishes and communities on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation helps us to “encourage one another and build one another up…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Holy Days for 2013*
- Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - Mary, Mother of God – a holy day of obligation
- Sunday, May 12, 2013 - Ascension of the Lord – a holy day of obligation
- Thursday, August 15, 2013 - Assumption of Mary – a holy day of obligation
- Friday, November 1, 2013 - All Saints – a holy day of obligation
- Monday, December 9, 2013 - Immaculate Conception – transferred to Monday, not a holy day of obligation
- Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - Christmas – always a holy day
- Wednesday, January 1, 2014 - Mary, Mother of God – a holy day of obligation
*Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.
Other important liturgical days:
- Ash Wednesday: February 13, 2013
- Palm Sunday: March 24, 2013
- Holy Thursday: March 28, 2013
- Good Friday: March 29, 2013
- Easter Sunday: March 31, 2013
- Pentecost Sunday: May 19 , 2013
- The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ: Sunday, June 2, 2013
- The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus: Friday, June 7, 2013
- First Sunday of Advent: December 1, 2013
“Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory! Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you…”
BOOK OF TOBIT 12:6
Powerful Daily Prayer
This is the famous painting about a famous prayer:
In this 19th century work by the French painter Jean-Francois Millet, a farming couple prays the Angelus.
This prayer is well suited to the artist’s subject matter: two humble people paying homage to our Lord and His Blessed Mother in the Hail Mary, as well as in Gospel verses recalling His Incarnation as the Word entered the World. Its name comes from its opening words in Latin, “Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ.”
This wonderful prayer evolved from a recitation of three Hail Mary’s following an evening bell around the 12th century to its present form (with morning and midday recitations) in the 16th century.
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, etc.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
LET US PRAY
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
May the Divine assistance remain always with us and may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
When prayed in a group setting a leader recites the verses and everyone recites both the responses and the Hail Mary’s in between each verse, as shown above.
Although the Angelus has been traditionally said three times daily, at 6 am, noon and 6 pm, you can pray it at anytime especially at NOON. It is still accompanied by the ringing of a bell (the Angelus bell) in some places such as Vatican City and parts of Germany and Ireland.
Suggestion: Set the alarm on your cell phone for 12:00 noon, to remind you to stop the busyness of the world for a moment to pray this powerful prayer.
A PRAYER BY ALPHONSUS LIGUORI
BEFORE THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
My LORD Jesus Christ, Who because of Your love for men remain night and day in the Blessed Sacrament, full of pity and of love, awaiting, calling and welcoming all who come to visit You, I believe that You are present here on the altar. I adore You, and I thank You for all the graces You have bestowed on me, especially for having given me Yourself in this Sacrament, for having given me Your most holy Mother Mary to plead for me, and for having called me to visit You in this church.
I now salute Your most loving Heart, and that for three ends: first, in thanksgiving for this great gift; secondly, to make amends to You for all the outrages committed against You in this Sacrament by Your enemies; thirdly, I intend by this visit to adore You in all the places on earth in which You are present in the Blessed Sacrament and in which You are least honored and most abandoned.
My Jesus, I love You with my whole heart. I am very sorry for having so many times offended Your infinite goodness. With the help of Your grace, I purpose never to offend You again. And now, unworthy though I am, I consecrate myself to You without reserve. I renounce and give entirely to You my will, my affection, my desires and all that I possess. For the future, dispose of me and all I have as You please.
All I ask of You is Your holy love, final perseverance and that I may carry out Your will perfectly. I recommend to You the souls in Purgatory, especially those who had the greatest devotion to
the Blessed Sacrament and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I also recommend to You all poor sinners.
Finally, my dear Saviour, I unite all my desires with the desires of Your most loving Heart; and I offer them, thus united, to the Eternal Father, and beseech Him, in Your name and for love of You, to accept and grant them. Amen.
The Divine Praises
Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.
May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.
Jesus, believe in me as I believe in You. (petition)
So I can continue to walk on reaching out to others. Amen.
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ST. KATERI TEKAKWITHA
is often called the Lily of the Mohawks. Born in 1656 near modern-day Auriesville, NY, Kateri converted to Christianity as a teenager. Rebuked by her tribe for her new faith, she fled to Canada, where she spent the rest of her short life living within a Christian mission. Vowed to chastity and devoted particularly to the Blessed Sacrament and to the Holy Cross, Kateri spent long hours in church conversing prayerfully with her Savior. A serious illness toward the end of her life allowed Kateri to conform herself more perfectly to Christ Crucified. Finally succumbing to her illness, Kateri died peacefully just before her 24th birthday.
Pope John Paul II beatified Kateri in 1980, making her the first Native American to receive this honor. On December 19, 2011, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVl signed a decree acknowledging a miracle attributed to the intervention of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, (1656-1680) the first native North American to be raised to sainthood. She was canonized on October 21, 2012.
As a side note, “Kateri” is a French-Indian derivation of “Catherine.” When she was baptized, Kateri took St. Catherine of Siena as her heavenly patron.
them frequently in spirit.
Without being seen, they are present with you.”
St. Francis de Sales
PRAYER TO THE INFANT OF PRAGUEO Infant of Prague, who said, “The more you honor me, the more I will bless you,” give us the strength to bear the burden of daily life in this sinful world. Give us a firm purpose of amendment and a resolve to lead a better life. Help us endure our afflictions and sorrows with patience and courage. Finally, O beloved Infant King if it be your will grant my petition (mention petition here). But whatever you choose, give me the strength to submit to your will in all things. Amen.
LORD, JESUS CHRIST, I AM DEEPLY SORRY FOR MY SINS. HAVE MERCY ON ME. In Your name, JESUS, I ask You for the grace to forgive myself. I ask your forgiveness for hurting others. I ask for the grace to forgive all those who have hurt me in this life, and especially the one person who has hurt me the most. I renounce forever Satan, ALL the evil spirits and all their works. I give you my entire self Lord JESUS, now and forever, you are my Lord, God, SAVIOR AND REDEEMER. Please heal me, change me, strengthen me in body, mind and spirit for my greater service in Your Kingdom. Allow me to lead other souls to You through my good example. JESUS I trust in you! Come Lord JESUS, cover me with Your most precious blood, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit, I praise You, I thank You, I glorify Your name, JESUS. I love You JESUS WITH MY WHOLE HEART, SOUL, MIND, BODY AND MY WHOLE BEING. O’ Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with Holy Raphael the Archangel and all the holy Angels and Saints, pray for us! Amen.For those who believe in God no explanation is necessary.For those who do not believe in God no explanation is possible.Prologue to The Song of Bernadette.
Holy Raphael says in Chapter 12 in the
BOOK OF TOBIT 12:7-10
7 A king’s secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be declared and made known. Praise them with due honor. Do good, and evil will not find its way to you.
8 Prayer and fasting are good, but better than either is almsgiving accompanied by righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than abundance with wickedness. It is better to give alms than to store up gold;
- 10 but those habitually guilty of sin are their own worst enemies.
Rosary Meditation: to Jesus thru Mary
4th sorrowful mystery in the Domincan rosary Mary meets Jesus carrying the cross.
4th sorrow on the Servite Rosary Mary meets Jesus carrying the cross.
4th Station of the Cross: Jesus meets Mary
“O’ Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
“Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”
- “Praise the Lord, who is so good!” (Psalm 136:1)
The A-B-C’s of DIVINE MERCY
A- Ask for Mercy
B- Be Merciful
C- Completely trust in JESUS
“Guard your eyes that they may not look upon anything contrary to purity; your ears, that they may not listen to evil conversation; your mind, by banishing from it all suggestive thoughts; your heart, by stifling impure desires at their very birth.”
– St. John Baptist de la Salle
Jesus is performing His miracles today as he did when He walked the face of this earth. The following are His documented miracles 2000 years ago. Go to our Testimonial page to read some of His healing miracles today through the intercession of the Holy Archangel Raphael.
MIRACLES OF JESUS CHRIST
We must work in the Vineyard and not return to GOD
with empty hands!
- To feed the hungry;
- To give drink to the thirsty;
- To clothe the naked;
- To visit the imprisoned;
- To visit the sick;
- To shelter the homeless;
- To bury the dead.
- To instruct the ignorant;
- To counsel the doubtful;
- To admonish the sinner;
- To bear wrongs patiently;
- To forgive offences willingly;
- To comfort the sorrowful;
- To pray for the living and the dead.