2020 continues to give us the gift of time. When was the last time you felt you experienced a fruitful Advent? This year can be different. This year is already VERY different! Let’s use this gift of TIME creatively.
Here at St. Damian there are opportunities to grow in faith this Advent:
• Attend daily Mass. Currently, registration is not required. Every Mass is livestreamed to our Facebook page.
• Every Wednesday there is Eucharistic Adoration in our church from 9:45 am - 12:00 pm, and 5:30- 7:00pm without registration.
• Reconciliation is also offered each Saturday from 3:00 - 4:00 pm in our chapel.
• To help you on your faith journey, St. Damian Parish has purchased a subscription to Formed.org. Any St. Damian parishioner can create an account for free by registering their email address. Formed.org is kind of like Catholic Netflix. There are movies, documentaries, series, even cartoon for the kids. They offer studies in scripture, the Sacraments, the Catholic faith and hot topic issues of the day. Please take some time this Advent to explore Formed.org.
What is Advent?
Advent is not a penitential season like Lent, it is more like getting your home ready for a very special guest. The spirit of the season is one of joyful anticipation, giving and celebration. This short video explains:.
Here are some resources to help you prepare yourself and your family spiritually this year.
The Advent Wreath
What is an advent wreath? A simple explanation can be found here.
Do you have an Advent Wreath? Here are printable simple prayers to share as a family.
The U.S. Catholic Bishops have provided a prayer service to bless your Advent Wreath here.
The Advent Calendar
The Advent Calendar is believed to have been created by Christians in the early 19th century to mark the days of Advent leading up to Christmas. The Advent calendar counts down the 24 days of December ending on Christmas Eve. Advent calendars are a great way to engage your kids in the entire Christmas season by helping them channel their anticipation and excitement of Christmas Day while keeping that anticipation focused on the birth of the baby Jesus. It is a joyful and popular children's Advent activity that helps kids learn how to join with the Church in waiting, expectation, and preparation of the Advent season. Some Advent calendars have doors that open to reveal a symbol of Advent or Christmas, while others have symbols that are individually placed on the calendar for each day. Some special Advent calendars even have chocolates or other treasures hidden behind each door or window.
You can make your own personalized Advent Calendar using the template found here. Suggestions for activities are also provided here.
Busted Halo offers "Daily Jolts" and microchallenges in their online advent calendar.
Advent Activities - Here are some ideas to get you started!
The Gift of Prayer Calendar:
I don’t know about you, but as much as I want to pray for my loved ones, I am not very disciplined. This year I am going to write a loved one’s name (or a family) on each day of my calendar from the 1st Sunday of Advent all the way to Christmas. I plan to send them a card telling them in advance that on that particular date I will be praying for them. I may also add a note of how they have affected my life, or what I admire about them.
The Prayer Chain:
This could be a great activity for families. Start by wrapping up a shoe box with a lid in decorative paper like a gift. Cut colorful paper in strips, 1 inch wide by 8 inches long. Gather as a family and come up with a list of the people or families you would like to pray for from now until Christmas (and possibly beyond!). Write each person’s name on a strip of paper and put them in the decorated box. Designate a time each day for a family member to open the box and pull out a strip. Tape the name on the refrigerator so everyone remembers who to pray for that day. Pray together as a family at least one time during the day. When the day is over, tape or staple the paper strip into a circle. As you continue to choose names and pray, create a paper chain of everyone you have prayed for. It will be a visible sign of your love and prayer!
The Giving Manger:
This is a great way to encourage charity in the home. Make a manger for baby Jesus using a small box. You will need a supply of “straw.” Yarn pieces, strips of paper, and craft straw all work. Explain to the children that they can make a soft bed for baby Jesus by lining his manger with straw - but they have to earn the straw by doing good deeds. Regular chores don’t count! The good deed has to be over and above their normal duties. However, making a sibling’s bed or doing their chore would count! Each child can have their own manger, or there can be one family manger. Really crafty families can even make a baby Jesus to put in the manger on Christmas Day.
There is a very good quality Giving Manger set for retail purchase that includes a story book, a manger, baby Jesus and straw. Take a look at it here.
Daily Advent Reflections
There are many websites offering daily Advent inspiration. Matthew Kelly and Dynamic Catholic offer Your Best Advent Ever.
Fr. Rocky from Relevant Radio 950AM offers Advent Inspirations. Sign up here.
Bishop Robert Barron and Word on Fire offer daily Gospel reflections. Sign up here.
Are you a Facebook user? Moms may enjoy author and Mom Ann Voskamp's reflections.
Looking for Videos?
Do you have kids and grandkids who watch YouTube? Fr. Mike Schmitz is a nationally known youth speaker. He has an extensive library of YouTube videos on matters of faith. Here is his explanation of Advent:
If you found Fr. Mike inspiring, Ascension Presents has an extensive library of Fr. Mike videos on all aspects of the faith. Fr. Mike and his friends at Ascension Presents offer videos on many topics from explanations of the Mass, the Sacraments and the saints to hot topics like same-sex attraction, transgenderism, and pornography. Check it out here.
The Archdiocese of Chicago has compiled a great variety of helpful resources here.
Have a fruitful and blessed Advent!