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Prepare the way of the Lord: Celebrating Advent

CNS Photo by T. McCarthyCelebrating the season of Advent

Just as Jesus' parents, Mary and Joseph, patiently and joyfully awaited the birth of their baby boy thousands of years ago, we are a people waiting in joyful anticipation for the arrival of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
 
Advent is a wonderful time to renew your faith and return to the Church:
Find a church near you for Mass times during Advent 
 

Watch Sunday Mass Live

Watch the live broadcast of Sunday 10 a.m. Mass from the Cathedral of Saint Andrew:
On our websiteOn Facebook | On television on WXMI FOX17 (check your local listings). 

Praying Advent

Creighton University's Online Ministries (Praying Advent | Celebrating Christmas
 
Advent marks a time of joyful waiting. The character of Advent is two-fold: it's a time to prepare for the solemnities of Christmas in which the arrival of Jesus on earth thousands of years ago is remembered and celebrated. But it is also a time when we recall that which we express each week in our Profession of Faith at Mass, that "Christ will come (again) in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil." (CCC, 681) 
 
During this Advent season "be on the lookout" for Jesus and respond to his presence just like John the Baptist did when he leapt for joy in his mother Elizabeth's womb, and like the shepherds in the field who believed and responded to the angel's proclamation. Look for Jesus in the faces of those you encounter each day, seek him out in your practice of daily prayer, and announce the presence of Jesus to others in whatever way your personal, spiritual gifts call you to do so. Allow your words and actions to point others toward Christ, by placing him at the center of your heart and mind.
 
Find Advent prayers, reflections, musical events & other resources below.

Resources, prayers & activities

Read an Advent reflection from Bishop Walkowiak (November 2014 FAITH Grand Rapids magazine) 

Learn more about:

Why aren't there four full weeks of Advent this year?

The length of the fourth week of Advent depends on when Christmas Eve and Christmas fall in the week. This year (2017) Advent is very short. Sunday, Dec. 24 is the only day in the fourth week of Advent. In the General Roman Calendar, Dec. 24 this year is the last day of Advent, Christmas Eve, and also (beginning with the vigil Mass) the first day of Christmas time. 

Do Catholics have to attend Mass twice this Christmas (Sunday and Monday)?

The U.S. Bishops saw this question coming at the beginning of the year and addressed it in a newsletter released in February. The short answer?
 
"When consecutive obligations occur on Saturday-Sunday or Sunday-Monday, the faithful must attend Mass twice to fulfill two separate obligations," the committee said. Read more on the America website

Music for the season 

Cathedral of Saint Andrew, Grand Rapids
Lessons and Carols with the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys
Sunday December 10, 3 p.m.
Friday, December 15 and Saturday, December 16, 7 p.m.
Admission is free; donations accepted
 
Christmas Concert - Metropolitan Choir of Praise
Sunday, December 17, 3 p.m.
Free admission, goodwill offering
 
Majestic Brass of Grand Rapids
Monday, December 18, 7 p.m.
Free admission, donations accepted
 
Christmas Concert - Catholic Central High School Choirs
Tuesday, December 19, 7 p.m.
 
Basilica of St. Adalbert, Grand Rapids
Christmas Concert - West Catholic High School Concert Choir
Thursday, December 14, 7 p.m.
Admission is free; open to the public

Advent enrichment

Sign up to receive daily Advent reflections from: (Word on Fire | Dynamic Catholic)
 
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB): 
Interactive Advent calendar | Watch new video: How to live Advent fully
 
Advent: Prepare the way of the Lord (Our Sunday Visitor)  

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 8 is a holy day of obligation

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dec. 12

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and the Unborn, will be celebrated around the country December 12, as day of solidarity with immigrants (News release, USCCB)

Prayers

Prayer for the lighting of the Advent wreath (English | Español)
Creighton University's Online Ministries (
Praying Advent | Celebrating Christmas

Recipes & activities

 
Photo credit: CNS photo by T. McCarthy