Celebrating Advent by Making Wreaths with Your Families

November 30, 2016 Kathy MacKenzie 0

As our young families gathered on the first Sunday of Advent, the buzz of excitement was undeniable. Our parish hall was transformed into an Advent workshop where they created their very own Advent wreaths. Before me lay a sea of long tables at which the families worked, chatted, collaborated, and prayed. Christmas music harmonized with the hum of warm and friendly conversation; the atmosphere was most certainly alive with joy. Together, our families wove the […]

When and How to Introduce Advent

November 22, 2016 Denise Gorss 0

The first week of Advent begins on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. While that is usual, it forces me to make a choice in how to introduce Advent: Do I talk about the season early, before Thanksgiving? Or do I wait until after the holiday break, when the season has already started? I’ve alternated my approach through the years, but I usually like to at least introduce Advent before the holiday, inviting the young people to […]

Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures Cycle A Video Options

November 22, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

For the last two years I’ve offered handouts for Reflecting on the Lenten Scriptures, to be used in parish small faith groups. Year A materials for 2017 are now available. As I did last year, I selected some options for online videos for further reflection on each week’s theme. Always remember to preview videos before showing to your group, to determine appropriateness for your setting and be sure things work as expected. First Sunday of […]

Celebrating Christ the King

November 18, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

In just a few short days, the Church celebrates the Feast of Christ the King, officially known as the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This celebration is the culmination of the Church’s liturgical year—a glorious celebration of the Lord who reigns in our lives. And yet, I rarely hear a good homily about the notion of Christ the King. I’ve actually heard homilists dismiss the theme of the feast because […]

The “Three Comings of the Lord”: Finding Jesus Christ During Advent

November 17, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

Advent is a season of waiting. But who are we waiting for? Baby Jesus seems like the obvious and most popular choice. But if we listen closely to the Collect prayer at Mass the First Sunday in Advent—which asks the Father to make us ready to “run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming”—it sounds like we’re waiting for Christ’s second coming at the end of time. That’s true, too. But […]

Creating Sacred Space for Advent

November 14, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

What does it mean to call something “sacred?” According to the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery (InterVarsity Press), “a sacred space is a place where God is encountered in a special or direct way by virtue of which the very place becomes holy and set apart from ordinary space.” This Advent, embrace the season as a sacred space and do so from the ease of your e-mail inbox. Sacred Advent is a daily e-mail prayer break during […]

Get in Touch with Hope for Advent

November 10, 2016 Joyce Donahue 0

Advent often seems like just a busy “home stretch” before Christmas “break.” Normally, there is little opportunity for parish leaders and catechists to prepare themselves for the season. We who serve others often think of ourselves last. However, if we do not develop a personal spirituality for Advent, we are not really in a position to teach others its significance. As has often been said, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” Authentic spirituality for […]

7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness This Advent

November 7, 2016 Joe Paprocki 0

The wonderful season of Advent is only a few weeks away! Advent is a season designed for us to focus on our spiritual wellness as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ. With that in mind, I humbly recommend my book, 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness, as part of your Advent reading, along with the following connections to the themes of Advent as found in the Scripture readings for this season. See yourself as […]

School-Wide Advent Wreath Prayer Service

November 2, 2016 Barb Gilman 0

I love the way we celebrate Advent at my school. Every Monday the entire school—all 515 students and their teachers—gather in the auditorium to pray and sing traditional Advent carols. Our tradition is simple and beautiful. In the center of the auditorium is a table, upon which sits an Advent wreath with a purple bow. The wreath cradles four pillar candles—three purple and one pink. A group of cantors stand off to one side, and […]

The Jesse Tree—Free PowerPoint Presentation

October 26, 2016 Joe Paprocki 2

One popular Advent tradition is making a Jesse tree, which helps us to connect the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the events leading to Jesus’ birth. We adorn a Jesse tree with illustrated ornaments that represent people, prophesies, and events that recall God’s promise and its fulfillment. With a focus on Old Testament figures, the Jesse tree is a particularly good activity for sixth graders studying salvation history. It’s also great for any junior […]

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