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home : features : advent & christmas December 12, 2017

Embracing the Sacrament of Reconciliation can lead to a more meaningful season, priest says
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

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.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Advent and Christmas events in the Diocese throughout December, January

From Christmas pageants and choir concerts to Advent series discussions, parishes in the Diocese's four counties have all you need to get prepared for Christmas and the Advent season.

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Monday, December 4, 2017
Capital Singers bringing Hanukkah, Christmas music to Trenton
The Capital Singers of Trenton will be performing for the last time under founding conductor Richard Loatman for its Hanukkah and Christmas show, “Winter Songs XI.” More ...
Monday, December 4, 2017
Philadelphia Boys Choir coming to Belmar parish

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.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017
An Advent message from Bishop O'Connell: Emmanuel, 'God among us'
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
Simbang Gabi Masses planned throughout Diocese
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
Parishes of Cohort 11 among those to feature Christmas Carol Festivals
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
A schedule of Christmas Carol Festivals in the Diocese
The following is a list of parishes in the Diocese that will host a Christmas Carol Festival this year.  All are welcome. More ...
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Wreath-making workshop in Bayville helps families prepare for Advent
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
Princeton Seminary celebrates Advent with worship, carols

The message and meaning of Jesus’ birth will be celebrated in words and music throughout the month of December at Princeton Seminary.


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Caritas to present a cappella holiday tunes to benefit African school
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
Diocese's faithful celebrate Christmas octave with prayer, thankfulness, charity
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.
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Thursday, January 5, 2017
Beloved Filipino religious tradition flourishes in Diocese
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
Bishops Share Christmas visit
Christmas found Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.,  making visits around the Diocese of Trenton – including stops at the state prison and Morris Hall. More ...
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Bishop O'Connell celebrates Mass for Simbang Gabi, 600-Year Philippine religious tradition
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
Marriage advice: Make time for each other, especially at Christmas
DUBLIN -- People who work with married couples have urged them to make time for each other, especially during the often-stressful Christmas season. More ...
Monday, December 19, 2016
From the Bishop: Christmas narratives illustrate core belief of 'God with us'

A message from Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M.

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. 

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Monday, December 19, 2016
St. William the Abbot children celebrate global Christmas
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
Music of the season opens doors to evangelization
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.

Related Evangelization Story: Diocese's youth, young adults spread joy and good will during Advent

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

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