The best way to celebrate Christmas

December 15, 2010

- by Fr. Frank Pavone

Ligesite News  - As we enter the second half of Advent, the liturgy focuses more specifically on the Incarnation and birth of Jesus at the first Christmas. We think about Mary’s initial fear and uncertainty in the face of her unexpected pregnancy. Then, in every Church in the world, believers spiritually rush to her side to eagerly await with her the birth of the Savior.

The best way for a parish to celebrate Christmas is to rush physically to the side of those in the community who, like Mary, are uncertain and afraid about their pregnancy. We are to accompany them through their pregnancy with support and encouragement, and help them experience the fact that every birth reflects the joy of the birth of Christ.

Bishops’ Website Offers Resources for Advent and Christmas Seasons Including Book of Reflections from Pope Benedict XVI

November 19, 2010

WASHINGTON (MwtroCatholic) — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is continuing its tradition of providing online resources for the Advent and Christmas seasons with suggestions for daily prayer, reading, reflection and action.

As a special spiritual gift this season, USCCB is providing a downloadable book of scriptural reflections for Advent and Christmas featuring the words of Pope Benedict XVI from his homilies, speeches and other addresses during his papacy.

The 37-page document includes a scripture quote and a reflection from the Holy Father for every day of Advent, which begins on Sunday, November 28, through the seventh day in the Octave of Christmas, December 31. “Advent & Christmas with Pope Benedict XVI” is a preview of the upcoming Vatican publication “A Year with Pope Benedict XVI,” which will be available from USCCB.

“This has become one of the more popular features on the bishops’ website,” said Helen Osman, secretary of communications for USCCB. “It is a great one-stop resource for families and individuals seeking ways to enter more deeply into the spirit of the Advent and Christmas seasons.”

Other material highlighted in the interactive online Advent and Christmas calendars is from the Vatican publication “Advent and Christmas with the Church Fathers” and “Reflections on Advent and Christmas: Cultivating the Gift of Self,” new releases which are available from USCCB.  A Festival of Lesson and Carols, which is a service of Scripture and song that dates to the late 19th century, can be heard live online or downloaded for later listening. The audio program features music performed by the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The USCCB Advent/Christmas website also features videos in which Catholics discuss their favorite Old Testament stories, passages and characters.

Other resources on the website include a list of recommended holiday-themed movies, prayers and blessings from the USCCB publication Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, and suggestions for remembering the immigrants and the poor throughout the season.

The Advent/Christmas site (http://www.usccb.org/advent/) was created by the USCCB Department of Communications with funding from the Catholic Communication Campaign.

Advent/Christmas Season Web Site Offers Resources For Prayer, Reflection; Has Printable Family Activity Calendar

November 25, 2009

WASHINGTON DC (MetroCatholic) - For the second consecutive year, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has created a Website (www.usccb.org/advent/ ) with suggestions for daily prayer, reading, reflection and action throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons.

New for this year are printable calendars in English and Spanish with a suggested family activity for each day of the Advent season, which begins November 29, and the Christmas season, which ends on January 10 with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord.

The interactive online calendars present a menu of resources for reading, prayer, reflection and action for each day of the two seasons. Many of the reflections are taken from “Following Christ,” “The Priesthood,” “Mary,” and “The Saints,” four of the collections from the Spiritual Thoughts Series by Pope Benedict XVI.   A Festival of Lesson and Carols, which is a service of Scripture and song that dates to the late 19th century, can be heard live online or downloaded for later listening.

The USCCB Advent/Christmas Web site also features a variety of scripture resources focusing on the Old Testament. Jem Sullivan, PhD., of the USCCB Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis, starts off the Advent season with a video explaining how families can enrich their faith by reading the Old Testament. Featured throughout the calendars are video clips of USCCB members and staff discussing their favorite Old Testament stories, passages and characters.

Decorating the Web site are photos of sanctuaries adorned for Advent and Christmas from across the country including the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, and photos of seasonal events from several Catholic dioceses.

Other resources on the Website include a list of recommend holiday-themed movies from the USCCB’s Film and Broadcasting office, prayers and blessings from the USCCB publication Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, and suggestions for remembering the needs of immigrants and the poor throughout the season.

The Advent/Christmas site was created by the USCCB Department of Communications with funding from the Catholic Communication Campaign.

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