‘Be spir­i­tu­ally pre­pared for Christ­mas’

Tempo - - Entertainment -

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.

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