Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., administers the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the 2011 diocesan pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Confession, clergy say, is an important way to prepare spiritually for the Advent season. Ken Falls photo
“O Come, O Come Emmanuel” is among the favorite hymns of Advent.
The refrain, “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel” embodies, in word and song, the expectant waiting for Jesus, which is at the heart of Advent.
But there is more to Advent than joyful anticipation.
This period of preparation is not just a time of getting ready for Christmas by planning celebrations, decorating homes and buying gifts. It is, most significantly, a spiritual preparation for the Second coming of Christ, which is enriched through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
St. Rose Parish, Belmar, is welcoming the world-renowned Philadelphia Boys Choir and Chorale to its church to celebrate the Christmas season. Known as “America’s Ambassadors of Song," the choir will perform at 3 p.m., Jan. 7 in the church.
It is always a wonderful coincidence that our celebration of Thanksgiving occurs before the First Sunday of Advent each year. Although Thanksgiving is not a liturgical feast, it is appropriate on that day to bow our heads in grateful prayer to God before beginning a new Church year. More ... Thursday, November 30, 2017
In the Filipino Catholic tradition, the nine-day Novena of Masses known as Simbang Gabi spiritually prepares one for the celebration of Christmas, a tradition with deep roots in the country’s religious culture beginning after midnight Dec. 15 and running through Dec. 24. More ... Thursday, November 30, 2017
Christmas Carol Festivals, which combine music, faith witness, Scripture and fellowship, have delighted attendees for a decade. With an aim to welcome lapsed Catholics and those expressing an interest in learning more, CCF will return throughout the Diocese in force this Advent. More ... Wednesday, November 29, 2017
While many rushed headlong into the Christmas season Nov. 26 by shopping or decorating their front yards, 25 families in St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville, prepared for the season of Advent while crafting their very own family Advent wreath. More ... Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor through the art of sacred music, Caritas Chamber Chorale will present a series of Christmas concerts to benefit the Adorno Fathers’ African Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. More ... Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Just as Joseph and Mary traveled from their homeland to the tiny Bethlehem manger, so, too, did the faithful of the Diocese of Trenton travel in faith throughout the blessed octave of Christmas celebrating the Infant Jesus’ Birth.
Solitary, quiet prayer was counterbalanced by youthful and joyous evangelization, and adorning parish environments and extending thankful praise to helping hands served as worthy exhibitions of faith and gratitude. More ... Thursday, January 5, 2017
Simbang Gabi may be a long-treasured tradition in the Philippines that has begun to grow around the Diocese’s parishes and beyond, but for Father Leandro Dela Cruz, it’s a childhood memory, too. More ... Thursday, January 5, 2017
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., celebrated the ninth and last Mass of the Simbang Gabi, a long-treasured Filipino Christmas tradition, in St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson, Dec. 11. More ... Wednesday, December 21, 2016
If you are looking to find out what the Bible says about Christmas, you don’t have to look far. The story of Christ’s birth is only mentioned in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke in what students of the Scriptures call the “infancy narratives.” As you look and compare the two accounts of the same event, you quickly realize that they differ from one another in detail.
St. William the Abbot Parish’s School of Religion, Howell, hosted a Christmas celebration at the global level, with its annual Christmas Pageant and Christmas Around the World program Dec. 10. More ... Thursday, December 15, 2016
In the season where elves on shelves compete with Advent calendars and Santa overrides St. Nicholas in the marketplace, what’s spiritually lacking on the visual landscape can be found audibly in Christmas carols and sacred music.