Emmanuel: God With Us

4th Sunday of Advent (A)

One of the most popular Advent hymns is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. Both the Old Testament and the Gospel readings for the fourth Sunday of Advent mention the name Emmanuel, which means “God with us.” Why is this name so significant? That’s what we look at in this week’s video!

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Why is Mary Blessed?

4th Sunday of Advent (C)

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the most beloved of all Catholic saints, regarded as higher than the angels, and Queen of heaven and earth. Why do we Catholics honor Mary so much? Are we guilty, as some Protestants claim, of giving her too much devotion and affection? Why do we consider her to be so blessed?

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God Rejoices Over You

3rd Sunday of Advent (C)

The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday, after the first word of the Entrance Antiphon for the Mass: “Gaudete in Domino semper… Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near.” This verse is taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which is also the second reading for this Sunday.

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When Does the Christmas Season Begin?

There is a debate that occurs every year around this time. When is the official start of the Christmas Season? Some argue that it begins the day after Thanksgiving. For others, it’s not until Dec. 1. Most of these hallmarks are purely secular, such as when Santa appears in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or when the TV networks begin their “25 Days of Christmas” count-down of holiday specials.

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While We Wait

First Sunday of Advent (B)

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There is something of a debate going on among Catholic liturgical geeks (like me) over whether or not Advent is a penitential season. On the one hand, Canon Law (the law governing the Roman Catholic Church) only says that “penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent” (can. 1250). No mention is made of Advent. On the other hand, Advent has a lot in common with the penitential season of Lent. Sacred ministers wear violet color vestments and we don’t sing the Gloria at Mass. 

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