wpe1.jpg (2864 bytes)The wreath, as a circle, expresses God’s unending eternity. Evergreen symbolizes God’s unchangeableness and our immortal soul. The light of the candles reminds us that Jesus is the Light of the world, and soon we will celebrate the day of His birth. The Purple candles symbolize the sorrow we feel for not loving Jesus enough. The Rose candle symbolizes the joy surrounding the impending birth of Jesus.

One Candle is lit every night during Advent. One purple one during the first week of Advent, the second purple nightly during the second week, and so on, until during the fourth week all four candles are lit. The rose candle is lit during the third week. Some people also place a large white candle in the center to be lit on Christmas Day.

Blessing The Advent Wreath (usually on Saturday evening before first Sunday of Advent)

Father, today we begin our time of preparation for the birthday of your Son. We ask you to bless this wreath, and grant that as we use it we may receive abundant graces. O God, rejoicing, we remember the promise of your Son. As the light from this candle, may the blessing of Christ come upon us, brightening our way and guiding us by His truth. May Christ our Savior bring life into the darkness of our world, and to us, as we wait for His coming. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Week One (Purple Candle)wpe2.jpg (5225 bytes)

Preparation: "Watch, then, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to be, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36)

In the first week of Advent, we prepare ourselves for the Lord’s coming into our world and into our lives. We ask, "In what areas of my life do I stand at a distance from God?" Examine our relationships with family, friends, classmates, business associates, and neighbors. Is our faith reflected in each experience of human contact? Is love of God and neighbor the basis for our interaction with others?

(Light the first purple candle opposite the rose candle)

Prayer: May this light remind us of Jesus who is the true Light of the world. Let us call upon Him whose coming we await, for He is: God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God. O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, desire of every nation, Savior of all peoples, come and dwell among us. Amen

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Week Two (Purple Candle)

Preparation: "Make ready the way of the Lord, make straight His paths." (Luke 3:4)wpe4.jpg (8356 bytes)

In the second week of Advent, we consider our relationships with ourselves and with God. We ask, "Do I always appreciate the union of the divine and the human that makes me who I am?" Are we aware of the wonder of "self," the gift of being bestowed upon us by our Creator? Do we appreciate and use our talents, energies, charms, and abilities for God’s glory? In prayer and worship, are we in touch with the divine presence within us and around us?

(Light the first & second candles)

Prayer: Father, help us to prepare the way of Jesus, the Light of the world. May we who believe He will come again always serve you. Let us proclaim this mystery of faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. Amen

wpe5.jpg (7827 bytes)Week Three (Rose Candle)

Preparation: "He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire" (Luke 3:16)

In the third week of Advent, we are called to respond to the gifts and graces we received in our baptism. We ask, "Does my life today fulfill the expectations and responsibilities of bearing the name of Christian?" What are we doing for the hungry, the oppressed, the sick, the lonely? Do we truly care about the needs of others? Do we accomplish cheerfully all that is expected of us in the work place or the classroom?

(Light the first, second & third candles)

Prayer: Lord, we ask you to penetrate the darkness of our minds so that, filled with your brightness, we may rejoice in your coming as we say: Blessed be God forever. Amen


Week Four (Purple Candle)

Preparation: "Blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished." (Luke 1:45)

In the fourth week of Advent, we consider Mary’s trust in God’s promise, her joy in His goodness to her. We ask, "Am I ready to receive and celebrate the coming of the Son of God?" We have considered our relationships, our love of God and God’s love for us, and we have responded by an awakened concern for the needs of others. Now we may echo Mary’s words: "My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord. My spirit finds joy in God my Savior."

(Light the all of the candles. The Christ candle remains unlighted until Christmas Eve.)

Prayer: Lord, hurry and come to us. May your light shine in our lives, so that we may be freed from sin. Protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for your coming as our Savior. Draw us to you and instill within us the sure knowledge that true joy does not depend on earthly happiness nor the things of this world, but on You, the source of our salvation. Amen

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FOR A CHILD IS BORN TO US, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. (Isaias 9:6)

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And when the angel had come to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women."......And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give the throne of David his father, and he shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How shall this happen, since I do not know man?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God".....Mary said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word." .....And it came to pass, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe in her womb leap. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?....And blessed is she who has believed, because the things promised her by the Lord shall be accomplished." And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid; for, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; because he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name; and his mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of his mercy—Even as he spoke to our fathers—to Abraham and to his posterity forever." (Luke 1:26-55)