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Salisbury children learn about Advent from St. Nick

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For The Dialog

 

SALISBURY, Md. — St. Nicholas helped religious education students at St. Francis de Sales Parish learn about Advent while providing them an example of how they can prepare for the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day by following his example.

St. Nicholas, portrayed by Mike Hooks, gave a brief account of his life to about 100 people, most of them students from pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade. He moved throughout the parish hall to various stations where students learned more about Advent; colored church liturgical calendars with the colors for each season — Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time, Lent, etc. — constructed pipe-stem-cleaner Advent wreaths for their bedrooms; made St. Nicholas popsicle-stick ornaments; and developed artwork for a Knights of Columbus “Keep Christ in Christmas” contest. Read more »

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Decorating for Christmas on Christmas Eve? It’s the beginning, not end, of the season

December 1st, 2017 Posted in National News Tags: , ,

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — During the weeks before Christmas, Catholic churches stand out for what they are missing.

Unlike stores, malls, public buildings and homes that start gearing up for Christmas at least by Thanksgiving, churches appear almost stark save for Advent wreaths and maybe some greenery or white lights.

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Bishop Malooly’s 2017 Advent and Christmas schedule announced

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The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has announced Bishop W. Francis Malooly’s Advent and Christmas schedule.

  • On Thursday, December 7, Bishop Malooly will attend the annual Advent prayer service and dinner with the residents of Bayard House, Catholic Charities’ residential program for at-risk, homeless, pregnant and/or newly parenting young women, and their babies. The service and dinner will be held on the campus of St. Elizabeth’s Church in Wilmington, Delaware at 5 p.m.
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Hope teaches us to smile amid darkness, pope says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Christian hope is not the same as being optimistic about the future, but is knowing that whatever dark or frightening things are going on in one’s life, God is there offering protection and light, Pope Francis said.

Holding his general audience in the Vatican audience hall decorated with Nativity scenes and Christmas ornaments from the state of Queretaro, Mexico, Pope Francis announced Dec. 7 that he was beginning a series of audience talks about hope.

Pope Francis passes a baby in a onesie as he arrives for his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Dec. 7. At his audience the pope began a new series of talks about hope. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis passes a baby in a onesie as he arrives for his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Dec. 7. At his audience the pope began a new series of talks about hope. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Especially during Advent and in preparation for Christmas, he urged people to read the second half of the Book of Isaiah, “the great prophet of Advent, the great messenger of hope.”

The audience began with a reading of Isaiah 40, which starts: “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.”

When the prophet was writing, the pope explained, the people of Israel were in exile, they had “lost everything — their homeland, freedom, dignity and even their trust in God. They felt abandoned and without hope.”

Isaiah not only proclaims God’s love and fidelity, but calls on those who still have faith to offer consolation to others and help them “reopen their hearts to faith.”

The desert, literally and figuratively, “is a difficult place to live, but it is precisely the place where one can walk to return not only to one’s homeland, but to God, return to hoping and smiling,” the pope said. “When we are in darkness and difficulty, it’s hard to smile.

“Hope teaches us to smile,” the pope said. “One of the first things that happens to people who withdraw from God is that they are people without smiles. They might be able to laugh out loud, tell one joke after another and laugh but their smile is missing.”

“When we are with a baby, a smile comes spontaneously because a baby is hope,” he said. “We smile even if it’s a bad day because we see hope.”

Hope does not come with power or wealth, but with trusting in God, the pope said. It is knowing that “God, with his love, walks with us. I hope because God is alongside me. And this is something all of us can say. I have hope because God walks with me, he walks alongside me and holds my hand.”

The key players in the Christmas story, he said, prove that “history is not made by the powerful, but by God together with his little ones, those small and simple people whom we find around Jesus, who is about to be born: Zachariah and Elizabeth, who are old and marked by sterility; Mary, the young virgin engaged to Joseph; the shepherds, who were despised and counted for nothing.”

They had hope, the pope said, and they turned the dark and twisted paths of life around them into “a highway on which to walk toward the glory of the Lord.”

“There’s no denying that there is a crisis of faith in the world today,” he said. “People say, ‘I believe in God. I’m Christian.’ ‘I belong to that faith.’ But their lives are far from being Christian, far from God. Religion, faith has turned into an expression.”

Those who believe must convert, constantly turning their hearts to God and “following that path toward him. He awaits us.”

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How to make a Jesse tree with your family in Advent

November 23rd, 2016 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

This time of year most of us aren’t thinking about the weeds in our garden. But after spending much of the summer battling unwanted vines in our yard, I’ve learned something about the power of long roots. They ground us, pun intended, and connect us to something beyond ourselves. Read more »

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Living our faith in Advent: Are we ready to receive Jesus?

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Catholic News Service

Advent is a time for serious reflection on our lives as disciples of Jesus, whose return we are called not simply to expect but to prepare for with great care as well as great joy. Read more »

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‘Posadsas’ and Christmas Masses in Spanish

December 11th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

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Christians throughout Latin America celebrate a novena before Christmas of meditations and feasts inviting participants to give shelter to the newborn King in their lives. Posadais the Spanish word for “to take shelter” or “to take in.”

Hispanic communities invite the entire community to take the Christ child in our hearts in Posada celebrations.

1212.posadasDec. 16: Posadas

  • 7 p.m.—Holy Cross, Dover
  • 7 p.m.—–Immaculate Conception, Marydel, Md.
  • 7 p.m.—–Our Lady of LourdesSeaford

Dec. 19: Posadas

  • 6 p.m.——Good Shepherd, Perryville, Md.

December 20 — Advent Masses with Posadas:

  • 7 p.m — Our Lady of Fatima, New Castle
  • 7 p.m.—- St. Agnes, Rising Sun, Md.
  • 7 p.m.—–St. Catherine of Siena, Wilmington
  • 7 p.m.—- Ss. Peter & Paul, Easton, Md.

Dec. 21–Advent Masses with Posadas:

  • 1 p.m.— Holy Rosary, Claymont
  • 2 p.m.——St. Joseph, Middletown
  • 4 p.m.—–St. Dennis, Galena, Md.

Tuesday, Dec. 23–Posadas

  • 7 p.m.— St. Francis de Sale, Salisbury, Md.

Christmas Eve, Dec. 24:

  • 7 p.m.— Our Lady of Lourdes, Seaford, with Posadas at 5 p.m.
  • 7 p.m.—–St. Dennis/, Galena, Md.
  • 7 p.m.—: St. Francis de Sales, Salisbury, Md.
  • 7:30 p.m.—–Holy Angels, Newark
  • 7:45 p.m.—–Our Lady of Guadalupe, Roxanne, with Posadas 7 p.m.
  • 8 p.m.—–St. Elizabeth, Westover, Md., with Posadas at 7 p,m.
  • 8 p.m.——St. Mary, Refuge of Sinners, Cambridge, Md.
  • 8 p.m.—–Ss. Peter & Paul, Easton, Md.
  • 8:30 p.m.—–St. Catherine of Siena, Wilmington
  • 9 p.m.—–Holy Cross, Dover
  • 9 p.m.——-Immaculate Conception, Marydel, Md
  • 9 p.m.——-Our Lady of Fatima, New Castle
  • 9 p.m.——-St. Paul, WilmingtonE with caroling at 8:p.m.
  • 10 p.m.—Holy Rosary, Claymont
  • 10 p.m. –St. John the Apostle, Milford, Posadas 7 p.m.
  • 10 p.m.–St. Michael the Archangel, Georgetown, with Posadas at 7 p.m.

Christmas

  • 10 a.m.–St. Paul/, Wilmington, bilingual
  • 12 noon–St. Michael the Archangel, Georgetown
  • 7 p.m.–St. Agnes, Rising Sun, Md.

Dece. 31: Feast of Mary & New

• 7 p.m.—-Holy Angels, Newark

• 7 p.m.—-Immaculate Conceptio, Marydel, Md.

  • 7 p.m.—-Our Lady of Fatima, New Castle
  • 7 p.m.—-Our Lady of Guadalupe, Roxanne
  • 7 p.m.—-St. Catherine of Siena, Wilmington
  • 7:00 PM:–St. Francis de Sales, Salisbury, Md.
  • 7 p.m.— Holy Cross, Dover
  • 10 p.m.– St. Michael the Archangel, Georgetown

 January 1: Feast of Mary & New Year

  • 10 a.m.–St. Paul, Wilmington: bilingual
  • 11 p.m.— St. Mary, Refuge of Sinnersa, Cambridge, Md.
  • 7:30 p.m.–Ss. Peter & Paul, Easton, M

 

 

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A Christian’s life is an encounter with Christ, pope says at start of Advent

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The best present in life is encountering Jesus, an encounter that will last a lifetime, Pope Francis said.

A Christian’s whole life “is an encounter with Jesus: in prayer, when we go to Mass, when we do good works, when we visit the sick, when we help the poor, when we think of others, when we’re not self-centered, when we are amiable,” he said in a homily given at a Rome parish Dec. 1.

Pope Francis administers the sacrament of confirmation to a young man during Mass at the Parish of San Cirillo Alessandrino in Rome Dec. 1. The pope confirmed several young men. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“We always encounter Christ in these things and the journey of life is exactly this: walking to encounter Jesus,” he said.

Beginning Advent for the first time as pope, Pope Francis visited the parish of San Cirillo Alessandrino in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome.

Before celebrating Mass, he met with the sick, children who recently received their first Communion, and, accompanied by their parents, children baptized in the past year. He also heard confessions from a few parishioners and met with a group of young men he confirmed during the evening Mass.

The pope apologized to parishioners for any inconveniences caused by his visit, be it “excessive organization, security, fear; please know that I don’t agree. I’m on your side,” he said.

Some news reports said a beefed-up police presence was also due to protests calling for more affordable housing. The pope later met with some of the activists.

In his homily, the pope asked the congregation if it were true that church life ended with the sacrament of confirmation, saying he’s heard it’s also known as the “sacrament of adieu” because it’s often the last time people go to church.

Encountering Christ is not a one-time event, “we encounter him every day,” he said.

However, some people, especially those who lived a life of sin, may think “How can I encounter Jesus,” he said.

“But, you know, the people Jesus tried to find most of all were the biggest sinners,” he said.

While those who believed they were without sin would admonish Jesus for keeping company with sinners, Jesus would tell them, “I have come for those who need good health, who need healing,” the pope said.

“When we sin, Jesus comes and forgives us” in confession, he added.

“Do you want to met Jesus in your life,” he asked the young men he was about to confirm. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the sacraments, “you will have more strength for this journey.”

Don’t be afraid, he told them, because “the most beautiful present is encountering Jesus.”

The evening before, Pope Francis continued the papal tradition of celebrating vespers on the vigil of the first Sunday of Advent with students and professors from universities in Rome.

He urged young people to not be swayed by public opinion, but to go against the tide by remaining faithful to their Christian values.

“Don’t watch life go by from the balcony,” he also said, but be where the challenges of the modern day world are. “Whoever doesn’t respond to challenges are not living,” he said, pinpointing the problems of development, human dignity, poverty and life.

 

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Viewpoint: It’s looked like Christmas for a month already

November 29th, 2013 Posted in Opinion Tags: , ,

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The church devotes each Advent, four weeks, to the coming of Christmas in its liturgical calendar.

In business, that anticipation has expanded from five weeks to eight shopping weeks heralding the coming of consumer goods under a tree.

Halloween now stands as the only civic and commercial event between Labor Day and Christmas. If not for trick-or-treating, the Christmas advertising launched at the start of November would quickly find a way to begin at the end of summer. Read more »

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The saints of the season of Advent

November 27th, 2013 Posted in Catechetical Corner Tags: , ,

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Remember “The Love Boat?” It was a somewhat unfunny but long-running TV show that took some major and not so major celebrities and cast them in little vignettes that were wrapped up in the context of a cruise. Well, wrapped up in the context of the Season of Advent (a somewhat penitential and preparation season leading to Christmas), are some vignettes featuring our Catholic celebrities of holiness – the saints. While we think of Advent as the season in which we prepare the way for the birth of Christ, it also features a number of saint days that remind us how these saints lived preparing for life with Christ in heaven. Now, while we won’t hear of “Love Boat” type-folks like Charo, Jimmy Walker, Jamie Farr or Norman Fell, we will hear about great holy men and women who served God well. To wit, here are the saints of Advent:

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