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Wait in Joyful Hope: Tips & Resources for a Holy Advent

Wait in Joyful Hope: Tips & Resources for a Holy Advent

The Advent season begins this Sunday and marks the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year. It is a time of prayer and expectation as we prepare for Christ’s second coming at the end of time and commemorate his birth at Christmas.

With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, it is easy to be distracted and not take advantage of the spiritual opportunities that come with the season. If you are looking for a way to make Advent a more prayerful time, check out the links below for some resources and tips!

Immaculate Heart Radio Pinterest board  has lots of inspiration and resources for a happy and holy Advent, and it’s updated daily!

Five Advent Tips by Tom & Caroline McDonald has some great, easy ways to celebrate Advent as a family.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops web site has tons of Advent resources, including an interactive Advent calendar with works of mercy and reflections for each day.

Bishop Robert Barron’s Daily Advent Reflections include Advent reflections, exclusive videos, special discounts, and a chance to win free DVDs, CDs, and books and more from Bishop Robert Barron.

Best Advent Ever is a program from Matthew Kelly’s Dynamic Catholic that includes daily inspirational e-mails with short videos, encouragement, and coaching for Advent.

Danielle Bean is a popular author and speaker, and she is offering a free daily e-mail that will give you inspiration to think, act & pray every day of Advent.

Catholic All Year has a great post about celebrating everything in its proper season “without feeling like total jerks.”

Catholic Mothers Online has a free printable with 10 December activities for Catholic families.

We hope you and your family have a peaceful and blessed Advent!


How to Make Prayer a Part of Your Thanksgiving Day

How to Make Prayer a Part of Your Thanksgiving Day

Turkey and family and pies – oh my! There’s so much to look forward to when it comes to Thanksgiving. But with all the cooking and festivities, it’s easy to forget about the Lord, from whom we receive all our blessings. Incorporating prayer into your Thanksgiving is a great way to center the holiday around God rather than the turkey, and here are some simple ways to do that:

Go to Mass

The word ‘Eucharist’ means ‘Thanksgiving’ so what better way to begin Thanksgiving Day than by receiving Christ in the Eucharist? Most parishes have special Thanksgiving Masses, so check out your parish’s web site or bulletin for times or call the parish office if you can’t find it on the web site. And if you’re travelling for Thanksgiving, you can find Catholic churches nearby using

Pray for Your Family

For many people, Thanksgiving is a time spent with family. Whether you are together or apart and whether your family ties are close or strained, Thanksgiving is a great time to stop and thank God for the people He has put in your life. Here are two simple prayers from The Catholic Prayer Book you can use:

We thank you, Father, for the gift of Jesus your Son who came to our earth and lived in a simple home. We have a greater appreciation of the value and dignity of the human family because he loved and was loved within its shelter. Bless us this day; may we grow in love for each other in our family and so give thanks to you who are the maker of all human families and our abiding peace.Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health, and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

Begin the Thanksgiving Feast with Prayer

The time has finally arrived and everyone is gathered around the table to dig in. It is a perfect time to pause and thank God for the food and loved ones gathered together. If you are looking for something other than the standard Grace Before Meals, consider using this prayer from Celebrating Faith: Year-round Activities For Catholic Families, by Mary Cronk Farrell:

O Gracious God, we give you thanks for your overflowing generosity to us. Thank you for the blessings of the food we eat and especially for this feast today. Thank you for our home and family and friends, especially for the presence of those gathered here. Thank you for our health, our work and our play. Please send help to those who are hungry, alone, sick and suffering war and violence. Open our hearts to your love. We ask your blessing through Christ your son. Amen.

Pope Francis: Don’t let the world eat away at your Christian identity

Pope Francis: Don’t let the world eat away at your Christian identity

From Vatican Radio:

Spiritual worldliness, Pope Francis said, tempts us towards an inconsistent lifestyle, in which we pretend to be one thing but live in another way. It may be difficult to recognize, he said, but just as woodworm slowly destroys things, so worldliness slowly leads us to lose our Christian identity.

Worldliness, he went on, leads to inconsistency between the things we say – “Oh, I’m a good Catholic, Father, I go to Mass every Sunday” – and the things we do at work, such as offering or receiving bribes for example. This is not being consistent, the Pope said, rather it leads to a double life which distances us from God and destroys our Christian identity.

For this reason, Pope Francis continued, Jesus strongly pleads with his Father to save his disciples from such a worldly spirit. The Christian spirit, on the other hand, the Christian identity, he said, is never egoistic, but always tries to be consistent, avoiding scandal, helping others and showing a good example.

The Pope responded to objections such as, “It’s not easy, Father, to live in this world where there are so many temptations and we are lured by the attractions of a double life every single day!” For us it is impossible, he said, and only God can help us avoid such worldliness, which is why we pray in the Psalms, “The Lord, upholds me”. He is our support against that spirit which destroys our Christian identity.

Read the rest at Vatican Radio.