‘Be spiritually prepared for Christmas’
More than the physical preparations for Christmas, a Roman Catholic Church leader reminded the faithful of a more important preparation, that is, to be “spiritually prepared” for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ.
As Christendom marks the Second Sunday of Advent today, Borongan, Eastern Samar Bishop Crispin Varquez reminded the faithful that “Advent is a time to prepare oneself spiritually for the celebration of Christmas.”
“It is an opportune time to strengthen and to deepen our faith,” Varquez added.
Today’s Church rites will include the lighting of the candle of peace, the second purple candle in the Advent wreath.
Also known as the Bethlehem candle, the second purple candle “serves as a reminder that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that Jesus is King,” said Church officials. The first purple candle, the symbol of hope, that was lit last Sunday on the First Sunday of Advent, will also be lighted.
Varquez said the faithful in the Diocese of Samar will celebrate a most memorable and significant “Simbang Gabi” (dawn masses) and Christmas this year.
“The faithful in Eastern Samar are eagerly awaiting the historic return of the Balangiga Bells to the St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish after 117 years. It will be returned to us on Dec. 15, a day before the start of the Misa de Gallo, the nine-day novena masses in preparation for Christmas,” the prelate said.
Varquez said this gesture by the US government is a “healing gift, a perfect Christmas present.”
“We are grateful to those who worked for the repatriation of the bells and to all those who prayed for their return to the town of Balangiga,” the bishop said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has confirmed the arrival of the bells in the country on Dec. 11 at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay City.