As we begin our Advent journey, it is appropriate that the first major feast of the Advent season is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. In preparing for the feast, we seek Mary’s “assistance in the journey of life.”
To the Virgin Immaculate
O Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from thy sublime height turn upon me thine eyes of pity. Filled with confidence in thy goodness and knowing full well thy power, I beseech thee to extend to me thine assistance in the journey of life, which is so full of danger for my soul. And in order that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, but may ever live with my heart humble and pure, I entrust myself wholly to thee. I consecrate my heart to thee for ever, my only desire being to love thy divine Son Jesus. Mary, none of thy devout servants has ever perished; may I too be saved. Amen.
As we are taken out of our routine, we will have the opportunity to ponder the significance of all that we say and do at Mass and rediscover the splendor.
read article from Edward Sri “And with your spirit,” first of a series of articles on the changes in the new translation of the Mass and the reasons behind them.
continue reading article here
The Advent wreath is a beautiful custom that involves preparing a wreath, blessing it and lighting it. The light of the candles signifies the light of Christ, Who will come into the world at Christmas.
The wreath is easy to prepare. You will need 5 candles, 3 purple candles, one rose, and one white, surrounded by evergreen branches. Arrange the branches around or in straight line like for a mantle. One purple candle is lit the first week, two the second, two purple and one rose the third, and finally all four in the last week of Advent. The middle candle is lit on Christmas.
Next step is to bless the wreath. Traditionally this is done on the first Sunday of Advent or the night before. If you can’t bless the wreath then do it whenever you can.
Blessing an Advent Wreath:
1. Make sign of the cross
2. Father or leader says “Our help is in the name of the Lord.” and everyone else says, “Who made Heaven and earth.”
3. Read Isaiah 9:1-2, 5-6 The father (or leader) reads this passage from the Prophet Isaiah, familiar to many from Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, which reminds us that Christ is our light, and that His Birth brought us out of the darkness of sin and saved us.
4. The father prays the Prayer of Blessing and everyone says “Amen.”
Prayer of Blessing
O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
5. Sprinkle the Advent Wreath With Holy Water
6. Pray the Advent Wreath Prayer for the First Week and Light the First Candle
Advent Wreath Prayer for the First Week:
Bestir, O Lord, Thy might, we pray thee and come; that, defended by Thee, we may deserve rescue from approaching dangers brought on by our sins, and being set free by Thee, obtain our salvation. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
7. Make the sign of the Cross.
Lighting the Candles:
Each Sunday in Advent say the Advent Wreath Prayer for the week and light the candle.
- In the first week of Advent, light one purple candle.
- In the second week of Advent, light two purple candles.
- In the third week of Advent, light two purple candles and one rose candle.
- In the fourth week, light all four candles.
Many families have adopted the following custom:
- The youngest child lights the candle in the first week.
- The oldest child lights the candles in the second week.
- The mother lights the candles in the third week.
- The father light the candles in the fourth week.
Go to Second Week here
“When we think about the new evangelization …focus should be on personal testimonies, people who are touched by faith and the mystery of Christ” says Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
The greatest documentary mini-series to hit the small screen, “Catholicism”, will be showing on EWTN at 9 pm eastern, Wednesday November 15, 2011. PBS agreed to air some parts of the series but EWTN will air the full series. Don’t miss it!