Equipping the Domestic Church/ISSUE 101/12.11.22

The Sunday of JOY!

Gaudete Sunday is an Advent tradition that brings to mind some very early church history. Ages ago, the Feast of St. Martin, celebrated on November 11, was a day to feast on goose, and enjoy parades and games. It was the night before the penitential season of Advent began, similar to Mardi Gras. Advent was originally called the Forty Day Fast of St. Martin and much like Laetere Sunday, during Lent, Gaudete Sunday provided a break in the penitential season and an opportunity to focus on the joy in the impending arrival of Christ. On this Gaudete Sunday, it is appropriate to remember that we are a Resurrection people! Our Christian joy comes in knowing that life does not end here on earth; we have the promise of heaven. This third Sunday of Advent also focuses on John the Baptist as an important Advent figure who reminds us to prepare the way for Jesus. Today, light the pink candle and share the joys of your life around your Advent wreath!


Monday, December 12 is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the commemoration of the Virgin Mary's appearance to Juan Diego. Her appearance to Juan Diego is a powerful reminder that Mary—and the God who sent her—accepts all peoples. It was Mary's love and kindness to Juan that inspired the conversion of many to follow our faith. Just like Mary's example, we are called to show love for and acceptance of all people. Living the Eucharist means we understand that, as Catholics, we have a preferential option for the poor. We don't just live our lives helping ourselves; we are called to help others and to live in unity and peace with all our neighbors.



Click on the link below for the readings that you will hear at the Sunday Mass for the coming two weeks. This will give you a chance to prepare your heart and mind for full and active participation in Mass this weekend! For a Mass schedule in our diocese click on the pink button below.

Sunday Readings:

Family Stories: Here are some stories about Christmas!

The Christmas Light by Claudia Cangilla McAdam

The Nativity by Marion Thomas

Twas the Evening of Christmas by Glenys Nellist

The Baker's Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale by Aaron Shepard


Enjoy some activities below to focus on the Advent and Christmas seasons!


Listen to this playlist of monastic chant from St. John's Abbey. Each O Antiphon is only about 1.5 minutes. These beautiful chants will lead you the final week of Advent. The first one is provided, here, but when you watch on YouTube, the whole 7 day playlist will appear to the right.
O Antiphons: Holy Wisdom


Looking for a great family film to enjoy together? Check out the messages and reviews from the site below!


Make some special ornaments for your tree and enjoy quality family fun!


Praying the O Antiphons:

The O Antiphons are short prayers that are prayed when people come together for evening prayer or vespers. Seven days before Christmas, the O Antiphons are sung (as in the LISTEN section above). Each begins with an O, followed by a different name for Jesus. You can pray your own version of these, as a family, using the infographic below. Gather around the Christmas tree or Manger and share the words together, along with a carol, or a different petition of where Jesus is needed most right now in the world. Begin your prayer on December 17, and pray through December 23. It is a wonderful way to invite Jesus into your celebration of Advent and Christmas!

Big picture


Make Jesus part of your Christmas gathering fun with these Story of Christmas Themed Minute to Win it games from Bible Games Central!


This Christmas Season, minimize screen time and make face-to-face connections with people as much as possible! Our brain is made for human connection and we feel most peaceful when we feel that we are valued members of a group. Surround yourself with your loved ones this month and bring Jesus' love out into the world!


Does your church use incense on Christmas Eve? If it does, it's a great teachable moment for your child, connecting the dots between the first Christmas and the one we celebrate today! Most churches use incense that is a combination of frankincense and myrrh. Do those names sound familiar? Your kids are likely familiar with the story of the magi bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to celebrate the birth of Jesus because they were worthy of a king. When we burn the incense at Mass, we make the same connection of being in the presence of Jesus, our King!


Thurible: This is the censer or vessel that holds the incense at church. The incense is combined with charcoal to create the sweet-smelling smoke. The thurible extends from chains so that it can be swung back and forth to release the smoke safely.


Here are some questions to get kids talking and thinking about CHRISTMAS:

Why did God decide to come to the world as a baby? With poor parents? When it wasn't really safe?

Why is it important for me to go to Church when I am excited about opening my presents?

How can we celebrate Jesus' birth this year in our family?

How would Jesus want me to celebrate?

Would my family and I have followed the star like the shepherds?

Office of Evangelization and Catechesis

Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester

Debtor in Possession

Missed the previous editions of our newsletter?