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The Advent Wreath
EWTN/Various ^ | 11-29-03 | EWTN/Various

Posted on 11/29/2003 8:44:32 AM PST by Salvation


ADVENT WREATH

"Customarily the Advent Wreath is constructed of a circle of evergreen branches into which are inserted four candles. According to tradition, three of the candles are violet and the fourth is rose. However, four violet or white candles may also be used” (Book of Blessings 1510).

The rose candle is lit the third Sunday of Advent, for this color anticipates and symbolizes the Christmas joy announced in the first word of the Entrance Antiphon: "Rejoice" (Latin, Gaudete). For this reason the Third Sunday is also called Gaudete Sunday, and rose color vestments are permitted.

The Advent Wreath represents the long time when people lived in spiritual darkness, waiting for the coming of the Messiah, the Light of the world. Each year in Advent people wait once again in darkness for the coming of the Lord, His historical coming in the mystery of Bethlehem, His final coming at the end of time, and His special coming in every moment of grace.

During Advent, family and friends can gather around the Advent Wreath lighting the appropriate candle(s), read from the daily Advent meditation and sing songs. The Church's official Book of Blessings also provides a blessing ceremony for the advent wreath which can be used in the absence of 
a priest.

 


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KEYWORDS: advent; blessing; candles; catholic; catholiclist; christmas; four; prayers; season; significance; wreath
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For your information!

Think about making one for your family. Use it for daily prayers each morning or evening at the breakfast or dinner table.

1 posted on 11/29/2003 8:44:33 AM PST by Salvation
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To: Salvation
Advent Wreath Blessing

All: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Leader: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

Leader: In the short days and long nights of Advent, we realize how we were always waiting for deliverance, always needing salvation by our God. Around this wreath, we shall remember God's promise.

Scripture Reading
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.
This is the Word of the Lord.

(Alternate readings: Isaiah 63:16-17 or Isaiah 64:2-7)

All: Thanks be to God.

Lord's Prayer

Leader: Let us now pray for God's blessing upon us and upon this wreath.

Lord our God, we praise you for your child, Jesus Christ: the Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples, the wisdom that teaches and guides us, the Savior of every nation.
Lord God, let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ's promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

Light the first candle.

Leader: Let us bless the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God. (Making the sign of the cross)

The blessing concludes with a verse from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” or another advent song.

Each day in Advent, perhaps at the evening meal, light the candles: one candle the first week, two the second, and so forth.

2 posted on 11/29/2003 8:55:18 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Advent—Did You Know?

---> The Church’s liturgical year begins with the first Sunday of Advent.

---> Advent begins on the Sunday nearest November 30th, which is the feast of St. Andrew, and lasts until December 24th.

---> The word Advent comes from the word adventus which means “coming.”

---> Advent is a season in the Church year when we remember how the Word of God became human in the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem, which we celebrate on Christmas. During Advent we also reflect on and celebrate how Jesus comes into our lives and is present with us every day.

---> Advent is a time of hoping and working for a change of heart. We focus on being more open to the love of God in our lives, and the salvation offered through Jesus.

---> The Advent wreath is a tradition of the season. It is a symbol of our hope in Jesus Christ, who is the Light of the world.

---> The circle and evergreens on the Advent wreath remind us of God’s everlasting love which has no beginning and no end.

---> The four unlit candles on the wreath remind us of the four thousand years before Christ’s birth, a time of spiritual “cold and darkness” as humanity awaited the birth of the Messiah. They also represent the four weeks of Advent.

---> It is customary to use three purple and one pink or white candle on the Advent wreath. The purple reminds us of the need for sorrow for our sins. The pink or white candle reminds us of the joy and hope we share in Jesus, the Light of the World, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.

--->Advent begins with the lighting of one purple candle on the first Sunday of Advent. The pink candle is lit the third week when the Advent focus shifts to the special joy of the Christmas event. The increasing light of each week reminds us that Christmas is closer, and Christ’s presence continues to grow and brighten our lives. It also reminds us that by being Christ’s light today, we can brighten the “darkness” we find in our lives and in the world around us.

3 posted on 11/29/2003 9:00:58 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: *Catholic_list; father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; attagirl; ...
Advent Family Ping!

Please notify me via Freepmail if you would like to be added to or removed from the Advent Family Ping list.

4 posted on 11/29/2003 9:22:12 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

5 posted on 11/29/2003 9:30:15 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: All

6 posted on 11/29/2003 10:38:15 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Just finished putting our wreath together. A little different this year, per our 7's efforts. We use a simple brass ring form with 4 candle cups on it.

Usually we mingle bits on greenery with rose, violet and gold beads (Mardi Gras persuasion, to be exact) and put a glass figurine of Mary and of Joseph on a round mirror in the center, adding the manger and the central Christ candle on Christmas, when we replace the 3 purple and 1 pink candle with 4 white ones for the 12 Days.

She is becoming crafty, as girls do at this age, and wanted to make a very pregnant Mary to wait in the center alone. Mary turned out pretty well. We have surrounded the wreath with a secondary circle of tulle and white roses, all tied up with a bow of purple and pink ribbon. The beads are at the Virgin's feet.

Stir up your power, O Lord!
7 posted on 11/29/2003 12:12:19 PM PST by Nora
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To: Salvation
Althogh I grew up with the pink and purple advent candles, at our house we use dark green and one burgandy candle with a creamy white Jesus candle in the middle.


I know, I know, I am an apostate!!
8 posted on 11/29/2003 3:49:42 PM PST by mlmr (Now that Thanksgiving is over, Merry Christmas!!!)
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To: Salvation; Nora; mlmr; american colleen; sinkspur; Lady In Blue; Polycarp; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; ..

The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.

By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21). By 1500, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to our faith: The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing. Holly also has a special Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, and one English legend tells of how the cross was made of holly. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ. Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection. All together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death, and resurrection.

The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Savior. Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles in particular symbolize the prayer, penance, and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday, Gaudete Sunday, when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass; Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing, because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent, when their preparation is now half over and they are close to Christmas. The progressive lighting of the candles symbolizes the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead.

The light again signifies Christ, the Light of the world. Some modern day adaptions include a white candle placed in the middle of the wreath, which represents Christ and is lit on Christmas Eve. Another tradition is to replace the three purple and one rose candles with four white candles, which will be lit throughout Christmas season.

In family practice, the Advent wreath is most appropriately lit at dinner time after the blessing of the food. A traditional prayer service using the Advent wreath proceeds as follows: On the First Sunday of Advent, the father of the family blesses the wreath, praying: 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. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” He then continues for each of the days of the first week of Advent, 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. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The youngest child then lights one purple candle.

During the second week of Advent, the father prays: 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. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The oldest child then lights the purple candle from the first week plus one more purple candle.

During the third week of Advent, the father prays: O Lord, we beg Thee, incline Thy ear to our prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The mother then lights the two previously lit purple candles plus the rose candle.

Finally, the father prays during the fourth week of Advent, 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. Who livest and reignest forever. Amen.” The father then lights all of the candles of the wreath.

Since Advent is a time to stir-up our faith in the Lord, the wreath and its prayers provide us a way to augment this special preparation for Christmas. Moreover, this good tradition helps us to remain vigilant in our homes and not lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

Blessing for the Advent 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.

____________________

Collects for Advent

These prayers, faithful translations of the Latin Collects, or opening prayers, may be said every evening when the Advent wreath is lit.

First Week
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come, that by thy protection we may be rescued from the dangers that beset us through our sins; and be a Redeemer to deliver us; Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Sp[rit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

In English-speaking countries, this Sunday was called "Stirrup Sunday", because the "stir-up" of the Collect was the signal to begin to "stir-up" the fruits for the baking of Christmas cakes and puddings.

 

Second Week
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the paths of thine Only-begotten Son: that we may worthily serve thee with hearts purified by His coming: Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

 

Third Week
We beseech thee to listen to our prayers, O Lord, and by the grace of thy coming enlighten our darkened minds: Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

On the third Sunday in Advent, Gaudete Sunday, the Church can no longer contain her joyful longing for the coming of the Savior. We light the rose candle and rejoice that our redemption is so close at hand. Gaudete comes from the Latin Antiphon, which begins, "Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete.." [Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice...]. On this day, rose-colored vestments are worn, and flowers may decorate the chancel of the church.

 

Fourth Week
Pour forth thy power, O Lord, and come: Assist us by that mighty power, so that by thy grace and merciful kindness we may swiftly receive the salvation that our sins impede: Who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

From Celebrating Advent and Christmas: A Sourcebook for Families, published by Women for Faith & Family, PO Box 8326, St. Louis, MO 63132. Phone 314 863-8385. Copyright Women for Faith & Family. Permission is hereby granted to reprint these prayers for personal use or for parish or schools, with proper acknowledgement of source.)


9 posted on 11/29/2003 4:30:09 PM PST by NYer (Keep CHRIST in Christmas!)
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To: Salvation; Admin Moderator
can you fix this thread?
10 posted on 11/29/2003 4:31:04 PM PST by NYer (Keep CHRIST in Christmas!)
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To: Salvation
We have an advent wreath I made several years ago out of styrofoam ring. I wrapped it closely with a piece of green garland, and "dug" holes for the candles with the melon baller :-)
When I bought the candles at K-Mart, the checker was very perplexed and wondered why so many pink and purple tapers had come through her line in the last few days so I explained about the advent wreath. She was quite interested.

My (Baptist) spouse finds the whole idea of an advent wreath fascinating, and loves the ceremony of it. We don't actually go though the formal prayers, but light the appropriate candles at the dinner table every night before we say grace, and leave them lit thru dinner.
11 posted on 11/29/2003 5:23:42 PM PST by T Minus Four
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To: NYer
what's wrong with it?
12 posted on 11/29/2003 5:24:39 PM PST by T Minus Four
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To: Nora
Sounds beautiful. Keep the faith!
13 posted on 11/29/2003 8:44:36 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: mlmr
Whatever makes you happy. You're the one who has to explain when the candles at church are a different color!! LOL!
14 posted on 11/29/2003 8:45:27 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer
Beautiful! Thanks for that addition!
15 posted on 11/29/2003 8:46:05 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: NYer
**can you fix this thread?**

What happened during the day?
16 posted on 11/29/2003 8:46:39 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: T Minus Four
What an evangelizer you are! Explaining to the lady at K - Mart and also involved your non-Catholic husband. Hugs!
17 posted on 11/29/2003 8:48:11 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: T Minus Four
**also involved**

also involving

Why is it that the fingers don't always go where the mind is? LOL!
18 posted on 11/29/2003 8:49:47 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
:-)
19 posted on 11/29/2003 8:52:48 PM PST by T Minus Four
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To: Salvation
...also involving your non-Catholic husband

You know, as a Baptist he was brought up to consider all the Catholic rites and rituals as practically paganism. Then we joined a tiny little parish where the priest took a real interest in us, and the more he learned, the more interested and open-minded he became. THEN...I took him to the Salt Lake City Cathedral for mass, and later a tour. He was blown away!

20 posted on 11/29/2003 8:57:42 PM PST by T Minus Four
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: T Minus Four; sandyeggo
You both have amazing stories.

Somehow prayers work, don't they?
22 posted on 11/29/2003 10:58:03 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Thanks for hunting this up and posting. You are reaching many.
23 posted on 11/30/2003 5:33:30 AM PST by attagirl
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To: sandyeggo
I'm waiting for him to make it official some day. :)

Mine has decided he won't, but I guess that's not important. We worship together as a family - that's what matters.

24 posted on 11/30/2003 6:44:44 AM PST by T Minus Four
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To: Salvation
amazing husbands :-)
25 posted on 11/30/2003 6:46:00 AM PST by T Minus Four
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To: attagirl
Thanks to you for bumping in too, attagirl!
26 posted on 11/30/2003 7:52:48 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: T Minus Four; sandyeggo
**amazing husbands**

I stand corrected! (Smile)
27 posted on 11/30/2003 7:54:05 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Comment #29 Removed by Moderator

To: sandyeggo
And thanks to you for your thoughtfulness.
30 posted on 11/30/2003 8:00:18 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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Comment #31 Removed by Moderator

To: Salvation; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; ...
The Church’s liturgical year begins with the first Sunday of Advent.>>>

Happy New Year!
32 posted on 11/30/2003 12:38:51 PM PST by Coleus (Only half the patients who go into an abortion clinic come out alive.)
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To: Salvation
Is there a link which depicts ALL the symbols of the church, e.g. incense, holy water, advent wreath, etc., where they explain the meaning and custom of each?
33 posted on 11/30/2003 12:42:46 PM PST by Coleus (Only half the patients who go into an abortion clinic come out alive.)
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To: T Minus Four
*When I bought the candles at K-Mart, the checker was very perplexed and wondered why so many pink and purple tapers had come through her line in the last few days*

You're most fortunate to have even found some! When I pulled my Advent Wreath out, I noticed that the candles were quite short. At K-Mart, there wasn't one colored taper to be found! Lots of scented candles; I'll have to begin shopping for advent candles in the Spring ;-)

34 posted on 11/30/2003 1:50:18 PM PST by NYer (Keep CHRIST in Christmas!)
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To: Coleus
Is there a link which depicts ALL the symbols of the church

The symbols of this season are depicted in the Jesse Tree that depicts the lineage of Our Lord. I posted that information to this thread.

ADVENT REFLECTIONS

35 posted on 11/30/2003 2:15:31 PM PST by NYer (Keep CHRIST in Christmas!)
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To: Coleus; NYer
Some Christmas symbols and the Bible references for them here:

The Jesse Tree

Thanks, NYer for that great link.

36 posted on 11/30/2003 2:31:56 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Coleus
L Click on the picture here. Then scroll down to the bottom for individual links.
37 posted on 11/30/2003 2:37:00 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Coleus
More symbols of Christmas

Christmas

"The Word became Flesh and made His dwelling among us, and we have seen His glory: The glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love." (John 1:14)

The actual date of Christ’s birth is unknown. The Gospels do not record it and there is not any early tradition to identify it. Scholars identify the approximate year as sometime between 8 - 5 BC and the season as probably early spring. The feast day was placed where it was, in all likelihood, to supplant the practice of the winter solstice festival among pagan converts by pointing to Christ as the true light who comes into the world. The Western Church emphasizes the celebration of the Nativity or Birth of Jesus on December 25, while the Eastern Church celebrates His manifestation to the Magi on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6.

The word Christmas was derived from the Old English Cristes Maesse or "Mass of Christmas." Over the centuries it has become a comprehensive word including both the religious traditions and the secular traditions.

In North America, the early immigrants brought their different Christmas traditions. The Germans brought the Christmas tree, the Irish contributed the lights in windows of homes, Catholic immigrants brought Midnight Mass and everyone had their own Christmas carols.

 

The Lights of Christmas

The most obvious symbol of Christmas are lights – Christmas candles, window lights, luminaries, lights on the Advent Wreath and Christmas tree. All signifying that Jesus Christ is the Light of the world.

 

Christmas Candle

The Christmas candle is an ancient tradition. It is usually placed in the center of the Advent Wreath to complete the removal of darkness and sin by the Coming of Christ.

 

Window Lights

Lights placed inside window sills depict a beacon to light the way for Mary, Joseph, and the coming of the Christ Child.

 

Christmas Tree

Christmas trees can be found almost anywhere, any size. For many people, the Christmas tree is only a seasonal decoration. To Christians it symbolizes the green of hope at a time of dying, the burning light of Christ at a time of spiritual darkness and the fruits of paradise. Its origin as a Christian symbol may trace to an historical event. When St. Boniface evangelized the Germanic tribes he chopped down their sacred oak to prove the impotence of their god. Just as Patrick used the shamrock as a symbol of the Trinity, Boniface used the evergreen as a symbol of the eternity of the true God. The Church provides a blessing ceremony in its Book of Blessings for use in the absence of a priest.

 

Holly

The appearance of holly is representative of the burning bush of Moses and Mary’s burning love of for God. The red berries and prickly points are symbolic of the crown of thorns and the bloody death that the Christ Child would eventually suffer.

 

Poinsettia

Poinsettias are associated with Christmas as the lily is with Easter. In Mexico it blooms at Christmas time and is called the "Flower of the Holy Night." Its name is from the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel Poinsett.

 


38 posted on 11/30/2003 2:38:30 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Coleus
**Is there a link which depicts ALL the symbols of the church, e.g. incense, holy water, advent wreath, etc., where they explain the meaning and custom of each?**

Check these out!

Sacramentals

Roman Catholic Sacramentals Foundation Website

Long list of Sacramentals

Sacramentals -- Resources for Catholic Educators

39 posted on 11/30/2003 2:57:44 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Let me tell you what my church is doing for Advent. It has instituted Sunday evening vespers and Benediction with Latin hymns, psalms, and gregorian chant. I attended this evening and it was just beautiful. It needs a bit of polish but that will come with time. The people coming out of church this evening were very happy and very moved.
40 posted on 11/30/2003 6:00:51 PM PST by k omalley
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To: NYer
As if we'll remember :-)
41 posted on 11/30/2003 6:03:08 PM PST by T Minus Four
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To: Salvation
We have one in the center of our table. Lit the first candle tonight.
42 posted on 11/30/2003 6:12:58 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: SuziQ
Bump to find later :-)
43 posted on 11/30/2003 7:13:51 PM PST by Marie Antoinette (Happily repopulating the midwest since 1991!)
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To: k omalley
**Let me tell you what my church is doing for Advent. It has instituted Sunday evening vespers and Benediction with Latin hymns, psalms, and gregorian chant.**

This is so wonderful K!

Wow! Real Benediction!
44 posted on 11/30/2003 7:41:15 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: SuziQ
**Lit the first candle tonight.**

Moving from the darkness to the light of Christ!
45 posted on 11/30/2003 7:42:28 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Marie Antoinette
See you later then!
46 posted on 11/30/2003 7:42:48 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Coleus
Happy New Year Coleus.
47 posted on 11/30/2003 7:56:53 PM PST by fatima (Thank you..4ID Karen.Jim-USS Ronald Reagan.)
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To: fatima
The Advent Calendar
48 posted on 11/30/2003 8:08:43 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
Thank you Salvation.
49 posted on 11/30/2003 8:16:44 PM PST by fatima (Thank you..4ID Karen.Jim-USS Ronald Reagan.)
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To: Coleus
Thanks for the ping!
50 posted on 11/30/2003 9:59:42 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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