Advent is a special time to prepare for Christmas, which is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. During the four weeks of Advent emphasis is on God’s word and scripture, preparing our hearts and minds for the birth of Our Saviour Jesus, and for practices of service for the needs of others. One of the many traditions is the Advent Wreath which stands for eternity. Lighting candles in an Advent Wreath is a simple way to begin a tradition of family worship in the home. It starts at the evening meal on the Saturday before the first Sunday in Advent with the blessing of the Advent Wreath. The head of the household (or a leader) is designated to say the prayers, while various members of the family light the candles.
Prayer to bless the wreath: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth thy blessing upon this wreath and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. The prayer is said before the evening meal each night of the first week.
Prayer for the First Week: O Lord, stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come, that by Thy protection we may deserve to be rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. Each night the 1st purple candle is lit by the youngest child of the household & left burning during the meal.
Prayer for the Second Week: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may prepare for Thy only begotten Son, that through His coming we may be made worthy to serve Thee with pure minds. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. The eldest child lights the 1st & 2nd purple candles. Both burn during the evening meal as before.
Prayer for the Third Week: O Lord, we beg Thee, incline Thy ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. The mother lights the pink, as well as the two previously burned purple candles. The pink (rose) candle is a representation of the joyful Sunday (known as the Gaudete). All 3 candles burn during the evening meal as before.
Prayer for the Fourth Week: O Lord, stir up Thy power, we pray Thee, and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy Grace, Thy merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. The Father lights all four candles in proper sequence and lets them burn during the evening meal as before. Note: The candles can be replaced as necessary during a particular Advent Season without reblessing the wreath.
After Advent: The candles and ribbons can be changed to white. Lighting all 4 white candles to burn during the principal meal each day of the Christmas Season is a customary and appropriate practice.
Lent is a time to prepare for Easter, which is a time to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. It begins on Ash Wednesday with mass and the Signing with Ashes and closes on the Wednesday of Holy Week.
Alleluia is not said or sung from the beginning of Lent until the Easter Vigil, nor is the “Te Deum” sung at or on Sundays of Lent.
During Lent, the altar should not be decorated with flowers, and musical instruments should be used to support the community singing while respecting the need for silence and reflection during other moments in the liturgy. On the fourth Sunday of Lent (“Laetare”) and on solemnities and feasts, musical instruments may be played and the altar decorated with flowers.
Fast and Abstinence
The holy season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, are days of abstinence from meat for all who are 14 years and older. They are also days of fast (one full meal and two small meals, with nothing eaten between the meals) for adults from 18 to 59 years of age. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence from meat for those 14 years and older.
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross were prayed in early times by visiting the scene of Christ Passion and Death in Jerusalem. The school community gathers on the Friday’s during Lent in Church to pray and remember the sufferings of Christ and the hope in His Resurrection
The Easter Triduum is celebrated from Holy Thursday evening until evening prayer on Easter Sunday. This three day period is a time for prayers and devotion recalling Christ’s institution of the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders, His Passion and death, and His triumphant resurrection from the dead.
Starting with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on the evening Holy Thursday, continuing with the Service of the Passion on Good Friday, and culminating with celebration Jesus’ resurrection on the Easter Vigil.
Traditionally, the month of May emphasizes the vocation of Mary’s motherhood. Students in the First Communion and graduating classes lead the school in a procession that honors Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Passing of the Torch
The leadership of the student body is symbolically passed onto the seventh grade students by the graduating class during a school wide Mass. A candle, which is a sign of the light that Jesus brought into the world, is passed on so that all the students are aware of the importance of Christian leadership.