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O Come O Come Emmanuel

May the music and images in this short video inspire you and touch your spirit this Christmas.

O Come O Come Emmanuel, performed by ThePianoGuys

(Watch in full screen for more impact)

Blessing for your Crib at Home

Gather with all who live in the house.

The eldest person leads the prayer and the youngest blesses the crib with Holy Water after the blessing is offered:

God of every nation and people, from the very beginning of creation you have made manifest your love:

when our need for a Saviour was great you sent your Son to be born of the Virgin Mary.

To our lives he brings joy and peace, justice, mercy, and love.

Lord, bless all who look upon this crib;
may it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus,
and raise up our thoughts to him,
who is God-with-us and Saviour of all,
and who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Amen.

Times of Confessions for Christmas

There are opportunities for individual confession for Christmas in the different churches in our pastoral area as follows:

St. Joseph’s, Newtown 10:00—13:00
St. Anthony’s, Kilcoole 11:00—13:00
St. Patrick’s, Kilquade 10:00—11:00
The Holy Rosary, Greystones 10:00—12:00
St. Killian’s, Blacklion 11:30—13:00

What are the O Antiphons?

”The “O Antiphons” traditionally sung during the last week before Christmas (December 17-23), are more than a thousand years old.

The traditional Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is probably the most popular and well known way of remembering some of those antiphons.

They are called the “O Antiphons” simply because each begins with the word, “O” Originally used in monastic vespers during the last seven days before Christmas; gradually they came into use in the whole church.

Today, at Evening Prayer (Vespers), the O Antiphons are used as the antiphons to introduce the Magnificat – Mary’s Hymn of Praise.

The Gospel Acclamation at all Masses in these seven days uses the “O Antiphons” as well. Each antiphon denotes an attribute of the coming Christ.

In Latin, they are December 17:

  • O Sapientia (O Wisdom) December 18:
  • O Adonai (O Lord) December 19:
  • O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) December 20:
  • O Clavis David (O Key of David) December 21:
  • O Oriens (O Dayspring) December 22:
  • O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations) December 23:
  • O Emmanuel (O With Us is God)

If you take the first letter of each name of Christ, starting with last, “Emmanuel,” and go to the first,
you have “ero cras,” a Latin phrase meaning, “I come tomorrow.”

Online Advent Calendar

Archbishop Eamon Martin has urged people to share on social media the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference online Advent calendar.

“I ask that people would not just reflect on the content personally but share it with others on social media. At this busy time I encourage everyone to take a few moments of pause in the stillness to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas which is that Christ is alive and that He is our hope,” he said at the launch.

This is the sixth year the online Advent calendar has been made available and it can be accessed behind a virtual door each day during the season of Advent.

The calendar has prayers and suggestions for acts of kindness or charity that individuals and families are encouraged to undertake during December.

The calendar also shares tips on how families can care for creation, our common home, by having a more sustainable Christmas.

Our Parish Advent Calendar of Prayer

The first day of Advent heralds the beginning of the Catholic Church’s new year.

Advent (from ‘ad-venire’ in Latin or “to come to”) is the Church season encompassing the four Sundays and weekdays leading up to the celebration of Christmas.

Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for the Lord’s coming at Christmas. Advent also prepares us for the second coming of Christ at the end of time.

Click on an image below to open the window!

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An Advent Calendar of prayer

(Images and prayers by kind permission of ‘The Prayer Trust’ www.theprayertrust.org.uk)

See other Seasonal Reflections available on this site

See Colouring Pages for the younger ones and young at heart!

The Advent of Christmas… a Nostalgic Reflection!

From the perspective of a happily unorganised housewife!

She woke, with a sensation of slight panic, to the sound of the morning media announcement of one hundred plus days to Christmas. A mid-September sun, beaming the promise of an unusually balmy day through the drapes, distracted her as she focused on the perceived pressures ahead.

She was approaching her fiftieth year as “facilitator of family festivities” she realised.

Another period of frenzied crowds, cleaning, cooking and card writing loomed. Forward planning seemed the solution to this familiar seasonal shock. She would make an immediate and methodical attack on the house.

Later as she dealt impatiently with the duster defying debris in the recesses of a drawer, a crumpled yellowing piece of paper emerged. She read:

NOSTALGIA

There is a loneliness at Christmas time
That old folk often feel
When bells ring out in merry chime
And echo every peal.

As children chatter in delight
And romp and play with toys
A mist or memories mars their sight
And taints with tears their joys.

They listen as the tales are told
And watch the revellers in the snow:
They too, were merry, bright and bold,
And young, yes! years ago.

But now they strive to hide their tears,
Surrendering a sigh
for cherished friends of former years
And Christmasses gone by.

Her brother, blessed with an insight beyond his then sixteen years, penned the poem. Was Christmas less complicated in those days? Soon now the media would run features advocating this or that theme for festive food and colour scheme – the tried and tested traditionalist or the ultra modern minimalist.

She wished for a Christ conscious Christmas and a lived-in loved-in look for the house, with truly memorable memories such as He gave us long ago.

Ditching the duster she calmly went into the garden to enjoy another God given gift, that of the glowing Autumnal sun trusting all would be right on the night.

Written by EMG 2002/Original poem by SFG 1946 (aged 16).

Week of Witness

Eleven Christians are killed for their faith every day, while thousands of others face relentless persecution for their belief in Christ. ‘Red Wednesday’:– November 27th this year – is a day organised by Aid to the Church in Need Ireland in which prayer vigils are held in parishes throughout the country.

People are also encouraged to wear red to symbolise the blood being shed for the Faith.

According to Dr Michael Kinsella, Director of ACN Ireland, “at no other point in human history has the persecution of Christians – existentially and spiritually – ever been as bad”.

The Week of Witness, held this year from November 25 to December 1, is an invitation to the Faithful in Ireland to rise in support of persecuted Christians around the world who are discriminated against, tortured and die for their Faith according to Dr Kinsella. “It’s not just about remembering the persecuted, it’s about praying for the persecutors as well, because that’s what Jesus calls us to do,” he said.

WEAR RED THIS WEDNESDAY

The End of the Liturgical Year

On Sunday 24th November, we celebrate the last Sunday of the Church year with the Feast of Christ the King.

We begin a new year the following week with the season of Advent.

The liturgical year, which has been passed down to us by tradition, and which never ceases, is the heartbeat of Church life. Around and around we go.

From Advent to Christmas to Lent to Easter to Pentecost and the time after up through our remembrance of the dead in November during which in our Mass readings we anticipate the Second Coming of Christ.

The cycle of the liturgical year is meant to take us deeper into our lives of faith bringing us closer to God. We cannot sit by and let time pass on without changing either for better or for worse.

There is a sense of urgency in reflecting on the end of the liturgical year.

Which way are we going: towards God or away from him?

He is coming again whether we are ready or not.

Sacrament of Confirmation Meetings for Parents

We have our first meeting for parents of children preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation next May.

It is important for parents to attend this meeting as our programme of preparation will be explained and the role and partnership of Home, School and Parish explored.

The meeting takes place in the Senior School, Kilcoole on the 12th November; Newtown Primary School Thursday 14th November and in St. Kilian House Pastoral Centre, Greystones on Tuesday 19th November.

The meetings take place at 7pm and will last an hour. We look forward to seeing all our parents on whatever night works best for you.

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