Special Advent Edition
December 1st is our Family Advent Bag Pick-Up Day!!
Pick up your family bag in the Narthex any time between 8:00 am and 5:30 pm--Bags are not labeled, so just come in and grab any bag! One bag per family.
Sneak peak at what's in your Family Advent Bag!
A New Light Shines (Booklet): Daily Reflections, Prayers, and Actions for FAMILIES
Good Deeds Advent Chart
Advent Calendar books that follow the story of the birth of Jesus
Advent calendar sheet with great suggestions for your children to live out each day of Advent
Christmas Blessings Jar Kits
Nativity stickers and background sheet (have fun creating your own Nativity scene using these beautiful stickers!)
Blessing the Family Christmas Tree Guide
Nativity Countdown Activity
Don't forget to send me pictures/videos of your family celebrating Advent!!
Christmas Pageant -- with a twist!
Together we will make a video so we can all celebrate the birth of Christ together!
Please have your children draw/color a scene from their favorite part of the Nativity story. What are we looking for?
- Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem
- Mary and Joseph trying to find a place to rest for the night...finally ending up in the stable
- The birth of Jesus/the Holy Family in the stable
- The animals who gathered in the stable
- The shepherds caring for their flock and seeing the bright light in the sky and announcement of the birth of Jesus
- 3 Wisemen following the bright star
- Wisemen bearing gifts
Feeling ambitious? Maybe your kids want to dress up as some of these characters!
Please send me photos/scanned images by December 10th.
What is Advent?
Click below for the Loyola Press Advent Newsletter
Advent Resources from Loyola Press
Click on the links for lots of information and ideas!
Advent can come as a surprise to us sometimes, beginning right after the busy Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. It’s not unlike the surprise of Mary when she received news that she was pregnant with Jesus. Like her, we take the season of Advent as a time for pause, reflection, and preparation for the gift of God’s love coming to us through the baby Jesus.
History of Advent
The historic origin of Advent is not for certain; no evidence exists around the feast of the Nativity of the Lord before the end of the fourth century.
Several homilies and synods made mention of a specific liturgical time before Christmas, but no rule existed until a note on the Mass parts appeared during the time of Pope St. Gregory VII from 1073-1085.
Much like a Lenten period of fasting and sacrifice, the early Church urged Christians to dedicate this time to readying themselves for Christ. Their practices remind us that we are also called to be attentive to the message of repentance and the end times. This may seem unexpected considering the extravagant ways we eat, shop, celebrate, and rejoice as Christmas approaches!
The four weeks of Advent are popularly considered to symbolize the four thousand years of darkness before the coming of Christ. We set up Nativity scenes, light Advent candles, and decorate wreaths in our homes to signify Christ’s presence coming in the darkness of sin and suffering. Four candles adorn an Advent wreath, one for each week. A fifth candle is sometimes placed in the center for the beginning of the Christmas season.
Advent colors are worn by the priests and deacons and decorate the church. They are represented in the candles that surround the Advent wreath:
Violet: royalty, repentance, and fasting (First, Second, and Fourth Week of Advent)
Rose: abundant joy (Third Week of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, joy in Latin)
White: light and purity (Christ Candle, center candle completes the season and begins Christmas)
Scripture and Prayers for Advent
During Advent there are three prevalent themes we see as we wait patiently for the coming of Christ. We long for the Messiah, are urged to be alert for Jesus’ Second Coming, and meditate on Christ’s presence in our lives now. The Scripture readings for the four weeks of Advent and the Liturgy of the Hours revolve around the first two of these themes. They encourage proper preparation, point to the grace and humility of Mary, show us how to adore God in the Incarnation, and recognize the glory of Jesus and how he frees us from sin and ingratitude. We hear from the prophet Isaiah and are drawn to the compelling message of John the Baptist in the Gospels.
It is important to consider how we can grow in spiritual wholeness during such a busy commercial season. Take time for silence and reflection each day with Scripture, a devotional prayer, or with an Advent calendar. Dwell with the scene of the Nativity. What is it like to imagine the journey of Mary and Joseph and to be with them as the baby Jesus comes into the world? St. Ignatius of Loyola had a deep reverence for the Nativity scene, as we see in the Spiritual Exercises. Consider praying with saints like him, with the Liturgy of the Hours, or with the O Antiphons the last week before Christmas. A prayerful journey with the Holy Family and the Church throughout Advent will lead to gifts of gratitude and joy when we enter the Christmas Season.
Read below a reflection on taking time to celebrate Advent
How to Participate in our Parish Giving Tree!
Interested in making sure everyone in our community has a blessed Christmas this year? Participate in the Saint Alphonsus 2020 Giving Tree!
For those traditionalists who'd prefer donating a physical gift this year, come pick up a gift tag after mass this weekend! We're also accepting donations of canned goods for our local food pantries!
For those choosing to make a monetary donation, we are excited to announce our partnership this year with Forman Mills, a retailer located in the community of our sister parish, Our Lady of hope. All cash donations will be matched up to $5,000 for all donations received by December 6th! Monetary donations may be put in the basket in the Narthex labeled "Giving Tree" or dropped off at the rectory. Checks should be made out to Saint Alphonsus Parish and "Giving Tree 2020" in the memo field.
All cash and gift donations must be received by Sunday, December 13th at 4:00pm. For more information visit https://stalphonsusparish.org/wp.../uploads/Giving-tree.pdf