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From Fr. Joseph:

Reflection on the First Week of Advent

Brothers and Sisters,

The following reflection is taken from Casey Sprehe:

A dvent is a time of waiting, of longing, of truly begging, Come Lord Jesus. Those who genuinely wait upon the Lord will not be disappointed. The universal church wouldn’t celebrate this Advent time with such solemnity of devotion did it not contain within it some great mystery. The intentionality with which we observe Advent is directly related to how Christ-centered our Christmas is.

However, we can’t expect to turn on the sacred switch of holiness on Christmas Eve. The consumerism mentality has already won if we wait until then. It is an active battle that we must fight against throughout Advent.

They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:31) Waiting and trusting in God’s plan is very difficult for us. Why is waiting so hard? We live in an instant gratification society. We want what we want when we want it, believers included.

During Advent, we are encouraged to wait upon the Lord. The Israelites were awaiting the Messiah, the Anointed One of Israel who would save his people. As a New Testament people, our needs aren’t any different, we are just on the other side of history. The Messiah has come. Every Advent we are asking him to come and save the people. I am waiting for the joy, hope and mercy which only the Messiah can bring to be more fully alive in my heart.

JOY is Someone. Presents can’t buy joy. They buy momentary happiness.
HOPE is Someone. Isaiah 9 says there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. Mary delivered hope incarnate to the world.
LOVE is Someone. In a time like this, we need His mercy more than ever.

This advent may we long for the joy, hope and mercy that only a life in Christ can bring.

As you know, brothers and sisters, we are in a constant battle to focus on Jesus at the time of Advent due to the commercialization of Christmas.
This is why I encourage all families to gather together and plan on your own "Family Journey to the Manger".

Here are some examples of Advent family time:
  1. Get an Advent Wreath and light the candles during your meal time together. (May this Advent be the beginning of Family Meal Time, which means actually sitting together at the same table and praying Grace before meals!) At this time of Advent, light the specific Advent candles, while praying Grace and reading the Advent prayers (found in your Advent calendar. See below)
  2. Eucharistic Adoration and/or a daily Mass once a each week
  3. Family Rosary daily or at least once a week.
  4. Divine Mercy Chaplet daily or at least once a week.
  5. Outreach to the poor. (Refer to our Giving Tree and Caroling Outreach on the following email/text)
  6. Pray & read together the reflections in our Family Advent Calendar.

Yesterday we distributed our Family Advent Calendar at Mass.

I hope you got one. I am sure you will enjoy it.

For those who did not pick up an Advent calendar, there will be more paper copies in Church next Sunday. In the meantime, refer to a visual presentation of our the First Week of the Family Advent calendar (see below).

Much time and effort was put into creating it. I encourage every family to make daily use of it!
An important extension to the Advent Calendar is the Christmas Nativity Creche. 

The Christmas Nativity Creche or stable is a beautiful tradition in the Church that was started by or at least popularized by St Francis of Assisi. (See below for an article about this.) 

Of all the Christmas “decorations” this one is the most obviously about the Christ Child. I encourage every parishioner to obtain a Christmas Nativity Creche and place it in a prominent place in your home. 

Next week I will tell you about a great tradition that Pope St John Paul II started, and which will involve the blessing here in church of the baby Jesus from your Nativity Creche in your home.

May God bless you abundantly this Advent & Christmas!

In Jesus thru Mary,
Fr Joseph
Our First Day of Advent at St Antoninus:
Sunday, December 1, 2019

At the opening of Holy Mass, the lighting of the first candle (Hope) of our Advent Wreath, by Dr. Ron SIwoff and his family, Rachel Rose Siwoff & Dawn Eden Goldstein:
Below is First Week of our Family Advent Calendar

337 South Orange Ave, Newark NJ 07103
Rev. Joseph A. Meagher (Pastor)