Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, co-founder of the Jesuits, the order to which both Pope Francis and Archbishop Terrence belong to. Francis, who died on this day in 1552, was born in the Basque region of Spain. He led an extensive mission into Asia, most notably in India. He was the first Christian missionary to venture into Japan, Borneo, the Maluku Islands, and other areas.
One way you and your family can be “missionaries” like St. Francis Xavier is to choose a conflict zone to research and then to pray for this area throughout the Advent season. Some areas you may want to consider are:
Prayer is all powerful. Let us use it to bring peace to the Middle East and peace to the World. (Pope Francis)
One of the go to hymns for Advent is O Come O Come Emanuel. The words and the music of this beautiful piece of music developed separately. The Latin text is first documented in Germany in 1710, whereas the tune most familiar in the English-speaking world had its origins in 15th-century France. Now sit back for the next 5 minutes and 33 seconds and just enjoy this beautiful rendition of this Advent staple. Or for something a little hipper try David Wesley’s version or Forte Femme’s version.
If you have kids or grandkids they can still sign up for the Holy Heroes Advent Adventure.
Today is the feast of St. Andrew. Andrew was Peter’s brother and like Peter was one of Jesus’ apostles. Although he was overshadowed by his brother, it was in fact Andrew who first met Jesus and introduced him to Peter: “We have found the Messiah." (John 1:41) Like the other apostles (except for John), Andrew was martyred, it is believed at Patras in southern Greece, on a cross which was in the form of an "X". This type of cross has long been known as "St. Andrew's cross."
St. Andrew the Apostle (video for adults)
The Story of St Andrew - Scotland's patron saint (video for kids)
“This Advent I plan on waiting for Jesus. Amidst my various commitments, I look forward to finding stillness. This time of quiet will allow me to spend time with our King and truly welcome him on Christmas morning.” Patrick Peori, 18, second year journalism student at Carleton U. To read the full article clink here.
The Jesse Tree
Another popular, though perhaps lesser known, tradition is the Jesse Tree. The ornaments that go on the Jesse Tree tell the story of the Bible from creation to the birth of Jesus. It’s a fun way for you and your children or grandchildren to learn about many of the events in the Bible. Click here to download a pattern for the tree and ornaments.
“The time of Advent that we begin again today returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God. A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful!” (Pope Francis)
One of the most recognizable Advent traditions we have is the Advent wreath. Although it is day 2 of Advent it is not too late to make or buy your Advent wreath. The Catholic Information Centre (146 Chevrier Ave, Cornwall) sells the candles and wreath or watch this video to learn how to make your own.
What is an Advent Wreath? (youtube video)
This History of the Advent Wreath (text)
November 27th - First Sunday of Advent