Advent Season

Advent comes from the Latin word meaning "coming." Jesus is coming, and Advent is intended to be a season of preparation for His arrival. While we typically regard Advent as a joyous season, it is also intended to be a period of preparation, much like Lent. Prayer, penance and fasting are appropriate during this season.

Advent is not as strict as Lent, and there are no rules for fasting, but it is meant to be a period of self-preparation. The purple color associated with Advent is also the color of penance. The faithful should fast during the first two weeks in particular and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The color of the Third Sunday of Advent is rose. This color symbolizes joy and represents the happiness we will experience when Jesus comes again. The Third Sunday is a day of anticipatory celebration. It is formerly called "Gaudete" Sunday; gaudete means "rejoice" in Latin.

Finally, Sundays during Advent, just as during Lent, should not be given to fasting, but instead to celebration because we celebrate the resurrection of Our Lord every Sunday. It is important to remember, however, there are no particular rules for how the laity should observe Advent.

1.  Advent Wreath: The Advent wreath is perhaps the most common Advent symbol, and is also one of the most popular traditions for the home. Each part of the Advent wreath symbolizes our spiritual preparation for the birth of the world's Messiah, Jesus Christ, on Christmas day. The circular shape of the Advent wreath symbolizes eternal life; the purple candles symbolize our repentance and waiting; the pink Advent candle symbolizes our joy that Christmas is coming soon. The bright candlelight symbolizes the coming of Jesus as "The Light of the World."  Blessing of an Advent Wreath .

2.  Advent Devotional Reading:  God comes to us as a Child, and this is amazing to think about! Going through each day with devotional reading is one of the best ways to spiritually prepare yourself for Christmas, the birth of the King of Kings.

3. Special Prayers:  Adopt special prayers during the Advent season. You can often find them in Advent devotional books.  Another tradition is praying the O Antiphons from the Liturgy of the Hours in the eight days leading up to Christmas. Another method of prayer will be  Lectio Divina

4.  Advent Calendars:  Another popular way to celebrate the Advent season, especially popular with children, is the Advent calendar. Counting down the days to Christmas helps children to anticipate patiently and to focus on waiting for the baby Jesus to be born. You can purchase one, or make one as a fun craft time for kids.

5. Nativity Scenes: Nativity sets are a classic tradition and are great to display during the Advent season. To make the display especially poignant, wait until Christmas Eve to place the Baby Jesus into the scene.  The Vatican has a neat tradition of the Holy Father blessing the Baby Jesus from family nativity scenes, called Bambinelli Sunday. This takes place on the third Sunday of Advent—Gaudete Sunday.   Blessing of a Christmas Manger or Nativity Scene.

6.  Jesse Tree:  A Jesse Tree represents the family tree of Jesus Christ. Each ornament represents a story from the Bible that tells about God’s people before Jesus was born. Each Story shows God's salvation plan and tells how He guided humanity to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. It is fun for kids and great catechesis. 

7.  Advent Penance Services: Advent is known as the “little Lent” and is therefore a time for penitential practices. Many Catholic parishes have special penance services for Advent. Confession is an important part of preparing room for the coming of Christ into our hearts, that is, allowing Him to draw us into deeper conversion.

8.  Almsgiving: Good deeds and generosity have always been an important part of preparation for Christmas. Advent is a great time to practice spiritual and corporeal acts of mercy such as Christmas gifts for disadvantaged children, volunteering at a nursing home or soup kitchen, visiting the sick in a hospital, or simply inviting people into your home who may have no friends or family of their own to celebrate the holidays with.

9.  Christmas Tree Blessing: When you finish decorating the Christmas tree, bless it with this  Christmas tree blessing from the USCCB.

10.  Advent Music: Make your own playlist of music appropriate for Advent which anticipates Christ’s birth.

Advent Penance service

  Join us for our Bilingual Penance Service on
THURSDAY, December 19, 2019
6:30PM - Church
There will be priests celebrating individual confessions in English and Spanish.

Penance Services Around the Deanery:

Thursday, December 5 at 7PM
Most Precious Blood
113 Lockwood Blvd, Oviedo

Thursday, December 5 at 7pm
Nativity Church
3255 N. Ronald Reagan Blvd, Longwood

 Tuesday, December 10 at 10AM and 7PM
St. Mary Magdalen Church
861 Maitland Ave, Altamonte Springs

Wednesday, December 11 at 7PM
Saints Peter and Paul
5300 Old Howell Branch Rd, Winter Park

Wednesday, December 18 at 6:30PM
St. Francis of Assisi
834 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Apopka