Category: Catholic Articles

5 Ways to keep Jesus in your Christmas Celebrations this Year

5 Ways to keep Jesus in your Christmas Celebrations this Year

Christmas is not only a time to celebrate family, love and renewal – it’s also a time to honour Christ’s miraculous birth.

Remember, Jesus’ birth was a gift to all humanity, thus the reason we offer presents to each other during his birthday celebration.

So how can you keep Christ in Christmas this year?

Consider the following suggestions and share them with your friends and family:

1. Celebrate with Advent Prayers

There are so many reasons to pray each day but pull your family together and share a quick prayer each day as we get closer to Christmas.

2. Attend Mass

It’s hard to find extra time while juggling work, kids, Christmas shopping, meetings and life in general but it’s important to remember to attend Mass.

Too many make excuses to avoid Mass but Christmas, the season dedicated to Christ’s birth, should be celebrated with Christmas services, Midnight Mass and fellowship with other Christians.

3. Listen to Real Christmas Music

The radio is full of great songs about Jolly Old Saint Nick, flying reindeer, talking snowmen and spreading good cheer.

While there is nothing wrong with these songs, it wouldn’t hurt to bring up Jesus’ birth and some good Christian vibes with “O Magnum Mysterium,” “Salvation is Created” or the new classic “Mary, Did You Know?”

4. Say “Merry Christmas”

In an ever-growing secular world, many employees are not allowed to say, “Merry Christmas.”

Take a stand, enjoy your religious freedoms, and wish people a very merry Christmas this year. Not everyone may be allowed to respond in kind but your energetic words can more than make up for their silent responses.

Don’t be afraid to stand out and wish everyone you interact with this December a merry Christmas.

5. Display a Nativity Scene

You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars for a 6-piece blow-up Nativity scene complete with lights and music to display on your lawn.

Simply walk into the nearest store and you are guaranteed to find a miniature Nativity, window decal, toy, display or other ornamentation.

For more family fun, share the story of the Nativity while making one with your kids! Shoebox scenes are classic bonding activities that will not only help your kids remember the story of Christ’s birth, but will serve as a beautiful memory for years to come.

Source: catholic.org

ADVENT!!! Everything You Need to Know

ADVENT!!! Everything You Need to Know

Don’t Start Christmas without Advent: Here’s Everything You Need to Know!


WHAT IS ADVENT?

Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year for the Catholic Church. The date for the beginning of Advent falls each year on the Sunday closest to November 30th – the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle. Advent means ‘to come to’ and it is a call to readiness for the coming of Jesus Christ.

HOW IS ADVENT DIFFERENT FROM CHRISTMAS?

Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that Advent is part of the Christmas celebration. In fact, Advent is a separate time of preparation all its own. For the Catholic Church, Christmas doesn’t begin until the first Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Christmas feast celebrations continue until Epiphany on January 6th, with the longer Christmas liturgical season ending on the feast of the Baptism of Jesus.

Advent is given to us as a time to prepare our souls for the coming of the Lord. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. In modern times we are tempted to skip over the penitential aspects of Advent and focus on the joy of Christmas. This is a great tragedy. Focusing only on the joy denies the truth: the Christ Child is our Lord and Savior who will suffer and die for our salvation.

 WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF ADVENT?

Originally, Advent was celebrated over forty days, just like the Lenten season. This has now been shortened to four weeks, but the symbolism remains. You may notice another similarity to Lent when you attend Mass; although we still sing the Alleluia before the Gospel reading, we no longer sing the song of the angels – the Gloria. We will sing this song anew with the angels on Christmas day – just as they did over 2000 years ago.

The Scripture readings during Mass remind us of all the prophecies that point to the Lord’s coming. We are called to keep watch and to leave behind our sinful ways. We also hear the recurring theme of a light shining through darkness. In Isaiah 60:19 we are reminded of this promise:

“The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE ADVENT WREATH?

Since circles have no beginning and no end, the circular shape of the Advent Wreath is used to symbolize God the Father and eternal life. The wreath holds four candles which are lit over the four weeks of Advent. The light of the flame is a visual reminder that Christ is “The Light of the World” (John 8:12). There are three violet (purple) candles and one rose candle, each representing 1,000 years. Added together, the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for the Savior.

WHY ARE ADVENT CANDLES PURPLE AND PINK?

Violet is a liturgical color that is used to signify a time of penance, sacrifice, and prayer. During the first, second, and the fourth weeks of Advent we light violet candles. The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. On this day we celebrate that our waiting for Christmas is almost over. Rose is a liturgical color that is used to signify joy, so we light the rose candle on the third Sunday of Advent.

The 4 Weeks of Advent

Traditionally, each of the four candles on an Advent wreath has their own meaning. These meanings are simply illustrated in The Four Weeks of Advent Pewter Advent Wreath.

The first Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope with the Prophet’s Candle reminding us that Jesus is coming.The second Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the Bethlehem Candle reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.The third Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the Shepherd’s Candle reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus.The fourth Sunday of Advent symbolizes Peace with the Angel’s Candle reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”

When Advent Wreaths are decorated the materials often have symbolic meaning. The use of evergreens reminds us of our eternal life with Christ, holly represents the crown of thorns from the Passion of Jesus, and pinecones symbolize Christ’s Resurrection.

HOW CAN WE INVOLVE CHILDREN WITH ADVENT?

Advent is a great way to keep children focused on preparing for the coming of the Baby Jesus instead of on materialistic desires. Each new week of Advent begins at Mass with the lighting of a new candle on the parish Advent Wreath. Our parish family is connected to our personal family when we light our own Advent Wreath at home. Explain to your children the meaning of this week’s candle and what they should focus on during the coming week.

Archeologists Discover How Old The Burial Tomb Of Christ Really Is

Archeologists Discover How Old The Burial Tomb Of Christ Really Is

Archaeologists discover how old the Holy Sepulchre really is.

The dates align with historical records regarding Constantine’s efforts to claim the site.

The Tomb of the Holy Spulchre, also called the Edicule, was opened for the first time in centuries in 2016 and underwent extensive renovations. During that time, samples of mortar were extracted for dating. The results give credence to the belief that this is, in fact, the site where Jesus was lain after being taken down from the cross.

National Geographic has the story:

During their year-long restoration of the Edicule, the scientists were also able to determine that a significant amount of the burial cave remains enclosed within the walls of the shrine. Mortar samples taken from remains of the southern wall of the cave were dated to 335 and 1570, which provide additional evidence for construction works from the Roman period, as well as a documented 16th-century restoration. Mortar taken from the tomb entrance has been dated to the 11th century and is consistent with the reconstruction of the Edicule following its destruction in 1009.

The mortar was tested and found to be from around the year 345, which falls in line with our historical records of Constantine’s efforts.

We know that Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor, set out to discover the location of Jesus’s tomb in 325. His representatives were directed to a Roman temple, dedicated to Venus, which was built over the site. Constantine had the temple razed and further excavations revealed a small tomb dug into the limestone. Constantine built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre over it, and his architects removed the top of the tomb so they could build the beautiful Edicule.

Another piece of this historical puzzle comes from the most defining aspect of the tomb, the “burial bed.” Burial beds are long shelves or tables where the body of the deceased would be laid. The “burial bed” in the Tomb of the Holy Sepulcre was covered with a marble cap, which is believed to have been installed between 1300 and 1555. This cap was lifted during the restoration and an older broken marble slab was revealed.

These new tests have shown that this older slab was most likely mortared in place during the 4th century, under the orders of Emperor Constantine.

 

Source:

Aleteia

Do Not Ever Receive the Holy Eucharist in these 3 Wrong Ways…

Do Not Ever Receive the Holy Eucharist in these 3 Wrong Ways…

The Mass and the reception of the Eucharist is the centrepiece of the Christian life. So we better take it seriously!

Unfortunately, whether it’s out of ignorance or laziness, it seems most Catholics aren’t receiving the Eucharist correctly.

Here are 3 things it seems many Catholics get wrong:

1) Not bowing before receiving

Many Catholics go through the communion line and receive the Eucharist without any act of reverence at all. But we’re talking about receiving Jesus here, so maybe some reverence is in order!

Most people might not even know that they are supposed to do something, but it’s right there in the USCCB’s General Instruction of the Roman Missal: “When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence… [T]he sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.” (GIRM 160)

Though the norm in the United States is to receive while standing (after bowing your head), individuals are also allowed to receive while kneeling if they so choose. (GIRM 160)

But don’t do nothing!

2) Not saying “Amen”

This might get dropped as people feel pressure to receive quickly due to long lines, but it’s right there in the Order of Mass: after the priest presents the Eucharist saying “The Body of Christ,” the person receiving is supposed to say “Amen.”

This is important because it confirms that you really do believe that you are receiving Christ himself (it might even serve as a good reminder to yourself).

This is only one word, so slow down and say “Amen.”

3) Are you in a state of grace?

Of course, it’s impossible to know the state of people’s souls. But it’s not clear most Catholics really understand this: you are only supposed to receive the Eucharist if you are a practising Catholic in a state of grace.

Have you committed any mortal sins since you last went to confession? If the answer is yes, then you need to go to confession before receiving the Eucharist. You should still attend Mass, but if you aren’t in a state of grace, you shouldn’t receive.

This is important for at least two reasons: (1) Receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is a sacrilege. So don’t do it! (2) Not receiving when you are not in the proper state shows your love and respect for Jesus. If you’re in a state of mortal sin, going to Mass but not receiving actually shows you’re heading back on the right track.

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