What is Ad­vent?

Sunday Star - - LIFE -

“Be­gin­ning the Church’s litur­gi­cal year, Ad­vent (from, “ad-venire” in Latin or “to come to”) is the season en­com­pass­ing the four Sun­days (and week­days) lead­ing up to the cel­e­bra­tion of Christ­mas.

“The Ad­vent season is a time of prepa­ra­tion that di­rects our hearts and minds to Christ’s sec­ond com­ing at the end of time and also to the an­niver­sary of the Lord’s birth on Christ­mas. The fi­nal days of Ad­vent, from De­cem­ber 17 to De­cem­ber 24, fo­cus par­tic­u­larly on our prepa­ra­tion for the cel­e­bra­tions of the Na­tiv­ity of our Lord (Christ­mas).

“Ad­vent de­vo­tions in­clud­ing the Ad­vent wreath, re­mind us of the mean­ing of the season.

“Tra­di­tion­ally, Ad­vent wreaths are con­structed of a cir­cle of ev­er­green branches into which four can­dles are in­serted, rep­re­sent­ing the four weeks of Ad­vent. Ide­ally, three can­dles are pur­ple and one is rose, but white can­dles can also be used. “The pur­ple can­dles in par­tic­u­lar sym­bol­ize the prayer, penance, and prepara­tory sac­ri­fices and goods works un­der­taken at this time. The rose can­dle is lit on the third Sun­day, Gaudete Sun­day, ... the Sun­day of re­joic­ing, be­cause the faith­ful have ar­rived at the mid­point of Ad­vent, when their prepa­ra­tion is now half over and they are close to Christ­mas.

“The pro­gres­sive light­ing of the can­dles sym­bol­izes the ex­pec­ta­tion and hope sur­round­ing our Lord’s first com­ing into the world and the an­tic­i­pa­tion of his sec­ond com­ing to judge the liv­ing and the dead.”

Source: www.usccb.org, the web­site of the U.S. Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bish­ops.

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