Posted in ADVENT

The Symbolism of the Advent Wreath

1. The four candles represent the
4,000 years prior to Christ’s
coming and the four weeks of Advent.
2. The three purple candles signify penance
and the rose one joy.
3. The unlighted candles represent the dark ages
before Christ’s coming.
4. The lighted candles represent
Christ, the Light of the World.
5. Each week we light one more candle representing
the idea that the coming of Christ is closer.
6. The circular form of the wreath symbolizes
that God has no beginning and no end.
7. The green of the boughs indicates hope–
just as the green of spring indicates new life.
8. The word Advent means
the “coming” of promise.

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Posted in ADVENT

St Andrew’s Christmas Novena

While a Novena is normally a nine-day prayer, the term is sometimes used for any prayer that is repeated over a series of days. The Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is often called simply the “Christmas Novena” or the “Christmas Anticipation Prayer,” because it is prayed 15 times every day from the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle (November 30) until Christmas.  It is an ideal Advent devotion; the First Sunday of Advent is the Sunday closest to the Feast of Saint Andrew.

The novena is not actually addressed to Saint Andrew but to God Himself, asking Him to grant our request in honor of the birth of His Son at Christmas. You can say the prayer all 15 times, all at once; or divide up the recitation as necessary (perhaps five times at each meal).

Prayed as a family, the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena is a very good way to help focus the attention of your family and children on the Advent season.

Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

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Posted in ADVENT

Advent 2016 – Cycle A 1st Sunday 27 Nov Come, Lord Jesus! Come and visit Your people. We await Your coming. Come, O Lord.

As we begin Advent, we light one candle in the midst of all the darkness in our lives and in the world.  It symbolizes our longing, our desire, our hope.  Three “advents” or “comings” shape our desire.  We want to be renewed in a sense that Jesus came to save us from our sin and death.  We want to experience his coming to us now, in our everyday lives, to help us live our lives with meaning and purpose.  And we want to prepare for His coming to meet us at the end of our lives on this earth.   So, we begin with our longing, our desire and our hope.

When we wake up, each day this week, we could light that candle, just by taking a few moments to focus.  We could pause for a minute at the side of our bed, or while putting on our slippers or our robe and light an inner candle.  Who among us doesn’t have time to pause for a moment?  We could each find our own way to pray something like this:

“Lord, the light I choose to let into my life today is based on my trust in You.  It is a weak flame but I so much desire that it dispel a bit more darkness today.  Today, I just want to taste the longing I have for You as I go to the meeting this morning, carry out the responsibilities of my work, face the frustration of some difficult relationships.  Let this candle be my reminder today of my hope in Your coming.”

Each morning this week, that momentary prayer might get more specific, as it prepares us for the day we will face.  And as we head to work, walk to a meeting, rush through lunch, take care of errands, meet with people, pick up the phone to return some calls, answer e-mail, return home to prepare a meal, listen to the ups and downs of our loved ones’ day, we can take brief moments to relate our desire for the three comings of the Lord to our life.

If our family has an Advent wreath, or even if it doesn’t, we could pray together before our evening meal.  As we light the first candle on the wreath, or as we simply pause to pray together our normal grace.  Then, as we begin to eat, we can invite each other, including the children, to say something about what it means today to light this first candle. 

Perhaps we could ask a different question each night, or ask about examples from the day.  How am I getting in touch with the longing within me?  How did I prepare today?  What does it mean to prepare to celebrate his coming 2,000 years ago?  How can we prepare to experience his coming into our lives this year?  What does it mean for us now, with our world involved in so much conflict? How are we being invited to trust more deeply?  How much more do we long for his coming to us, in the midst of the darkness in our world?  In what ways can we renew our lives so we might be prepared to greet Him when He comes again?  Our evening meal could be transformed this week, if we could shape some kind of conversation together that lights a candle of anticipation in our lives.  Don’t worry if everyone isn’t “good at” this kind of conversation at first.  We can model it, based on our momentary pauses throughout each day, in which we are discovering deeper and deeper desires, in the midst of our everyday lives.

And every night this week, we can pause briefly, perhaps as we sit for a minute at the edge of the bed.  We can be aware of how that one, small candle’s worth of desire brought light into this day.  And we can give thanks.  Going to bed each night this week with some gratitude is part of the preparation for growing anticipation and desire.

Come, Lord Jesus!  Come and visit Your people.    We await Your coming.  Come, O Lord.

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Posted in ADVENT, MORNING Prayers

Our Morning Offering – 27 November

DAILY ADVENT PRAYER by FR HENRI NOUWEN

Lord Jesus,
Master of both the light
and the darkness,
send Your Holy Spirit
upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do
seek quiet spaces to hear
Your voice each day.
We who are anxious
over many things
look forward to Your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways
long for the complete joy of Your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy
seek the joy of Your presence.
We are Your people,
walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To You we say, “Come Lord Jesus!” Amen

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Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saint of the Day 27 November

Saint Francis Anthony Fasani, O.F.M. Conv (1681-1742) Franciscan Priest, Monk, Mystic, Teacher, Preacher – Patron of his home town Lucera, Foggia in Italy

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Francesco was born in Lucera (Southeast Italy) and grew up a pious child. He entered the Conventional Franciscan order at the young age of 14, taking the name Francis. Ordained ten years later. Initially, he was appointed to teach philosophy to the younger friars, served as the guardian of his friary, became the provincial of the order, master of novices and finally Priest in his hometown. There he lived for 35 years, an unwavering witness to the Gospel life and a zealous pastoral witness.

He was loving, devout and penitential. He was a sought-after confessor and preacher. One witness at the canonical hearings regarding Francesco’s holiness testified, “In his preaching he spoke in a familiar way, filled as he was with the love of God and neighbour; fired by the Spirit, he made use of the words and deed of holy Scripture, stirring his listeners and moving them to do penance.” Francesco showed himself a loyal friend of the poor, never hesitating to seek from benefactors what was needed.

From the Vatican biography of Saint Francesco: – “The spiritual life of Fr. Fasani was characterized by those virtues that made him like his Seraphic Father St. Francis. In fact, it was said in Lucera: “Whoever wants to see how St. Francis looked while he was alive should come to see Padre Maestro.” In imitation of St. Francis he built his religious life on the basis of a generous participation in the mysteries of Christ through the most faithful practice of the evangelical counsels, which he considered to be a radical expression of perfect charity. In his constant prayers, inflamed with seraphic love, he called out to God, saying to Him: “O Highest Love, Immense Love, Eternal Love, Infinite Love.”

Posted in SAINT of the DAY

Saints for 27 November

St. Acacius
Bl. Alexius Nakamura
Bl. Anthony Kimura
St. Apollinaris
Bl. Bartholomew Sheki
St. Basileus and Companions
St. Bilhild
St. Facundus
St. Fergus
St. Gallgo
St. James Intercisus
St. John Angeloptes
Bl. John Ivanango & John Montajana
Bl. Leo Nakanishi
Bl. Matthias Kosaka & Matthias Nakano
St. Maximus of Reiz
Bl. Michael Takeshita
Bl. Romanus
St. Seachnall
St. Secundinus
St. Severinus
Bl. Thomas Kotenda and Companions
St. Valerian
St. Vergil of Salzburg
St. Virgilius of Salzburg