Fidelis, the Advent Angel

Advent Angel - image courtesy of Cindy Coleman

Celebrating Advent with my second graders is a combination of traditional elements—such as praying around an Advent wreath—along with visits from Fidelis, our Advent Angel, and performing Advent acts of kindness.

We start sessions with a short prayer service around the Advent wreath on our prayer table. The prayer service includes a Scripture reading, intercessions, and singing, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” Since we can’t use lit candles, we tape a paper cutout of a flame to the candles.

Fidelis, our Advent Angel, is a Catholic version of the Elf on the Shelf. Instead of a naughty trickster who spies on children to report back to Santa, our Advent Angel brings positive messages about the meaning of Advent. I use a rustic angel statue that is about 10 inches tall that I bought at a thrift store. The angel brings a note for us rolled up like a scroll and tied with a gold ribbon. For the first week of Advent, I have someone hide our angel outside our classroom door after class has started. When I send a child down to the office on an errand, he or she discovers the angel. (Children might not notice it, so make sure it’s placed somewhere children can’t miss it.) In the following weeks, I hide the angel in the room, and the children look for it at the start of the session.

The first letter the angel delivers is an introduction to Advent, angels’ roles as God’s messengers, and guardian angels. I print the notes in a fancy font on special paper (Last year the paper looked like blue sky with clouds.) and sign them, “Fidelis, Advent Angel First Class.” Without prompting, one of the children usually says, “Oh, this is like the elf,” and that sets the stage for how they interact with the angel and the angel’s messages. There is quite a bit of excitement each week to see what the angel’s note tells us.

During the second week of Advent, Fidelis brings a small gift: a holy card for each child and a copy of the Guardian Angel Prayer. A note with the gift reminds the children that their guardian angels are always with them to protect and guide them. It also asks the children to pray the Guardian Angel Prayer every day and get to know their guardian angels. During the third week of Advent, Fidelis delivers a message reminding the children about the role of angels in the Annunciation and the Nativity. This is usually the last class before Christmas break, and since we covered the Annunciation in October, the message is mostly about the Nativity.

At the beginning of Advent, I pass out a sheet of paper with a grid, and within each square is an act of kindness, such as: be nice to someone you do not like a lot; hug everyone in your family today; say a prayer for all the hungry people in the world. Some of the ideas come from Loyola Press’ Children’s Advent Calendar. I ask the children to complete as many as they can during Advent. When they complete an activity, they color that square purple. Throughout Advent, Fidelis, our Advent Angel, delivers messages that praise these Advent acts of kindness and encourages the children to continue doing them.

How do you celebrate Advent in your class?


For more Advent ideas, including the e-mail series Sacred Advent, visit Advent Resources from Loyola Press.

About Cindy Coleman 19 Articles
Cindy Coleman is a second-grade catechist and VBS leader at both her home parish of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer in Montgomeryville, PA, and at St. Jude Parish in Chalfont, PA. She has been a catechist for over 25 years. Cindy is also the co-coordinator of her parish’s Liturgy of the Word with Children. Among her other parish activities, she is excited about the new WINE (Women in the New Evangelization) group she just started at her home parish. She is married to Ron and the proud mother of Matt, who just graduated from the University of Notre Dame.

5 Comments on Fidelis, the Advent Angel

  1. Advent is my favorite time of year and as a 2nd grade RE catechist, I have so much to squeeze into two Sundays (we only have class on the 8th and 15th for one hour each) so we begin with prayers around the Advent Wreath and will light our battery operated candles. We make a stocking for Jesus out of paper and on the back of each paper present, each child writes a gift they will give Him (help Mom set the table, be kind to someone who is left out, write an “I love you” note to your parents and hide it under their pillow, etc.) and all presents are taped to the stocking. We have a “box of loving actions” on our prayer table and before leaving for the day, each one takes a slip of paper from the box with a suggestion of something to do during the week such as “hold the door for someone; say ‘please’ and thank you’; visit an elderly neighbor; help wrap Christmas presents; give food to the needy; etc. Finally, I give each child a small plastic dish approx. 2” x 2”, a tiny Baby Jesus, and small pieces of cut up straw. They are to keep Baby Jesus hidden in their drawer, place the empty dish on their dresser and each night before they say their prayers they are to put a piece of straw in the dish for each loving action they did that day. Then on Christmas morning before they go see what Santa has brought them, they are to take Baby Jesus from the drawer, wish Him Happy Birthday, and place Him on the bed of hay made with all of their Advent loving actions.

  2. I truly enjoyed this. I am a 3rd/4th grade catechist with virtually no formation – I was asked to take on this role literally right before classes began. Catechist’s Journey has helped quite a bit. Thank you.

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