Advent: A Time for Preparation & New Beginnings
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, which means ‘coming’. This year we begin advent on 3 December and end this season of prayerful anticipation on 24 December.
Advent is a chance to focus our thoughts on the gift God has given us in his son Jesus who stepped down from Heaven and took the form of a man so that we might believe.
Pope Francis explains that “Advent invites us to a commitment to vigilance, looking beyond ourselves, expanding our mind and heart in order to open ourselves up to the needs of people, of brothers and sisters, and to the desire for a new world.” (Pope Francis, Angelus, 2018).
Today, we celebrated not only the end of the academic year, but also our annual Advent Mass, which celebrates the start of Advent and the beginning of a new liturgical year in the Church.
Before the mass began, students were invited to challenge their understanding of the true meaning of Christmas by learning more about the Advent Conspiracy. The Advent Conspiracy exists to help young people experience the joy of Christmas in a fuller, richer way. With everything else going on, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
This time of year, when focusing on Christ should be the easiest, but it is sometimes the hardest. Students were encouraged to brainstorm a variety of meaningful ways to live out the four key themes of the Conspiracy:
- Worship Fully: Christmas is all about Jesus. We’ll worship Him with our hearts, minds, and actions!
- Spend Less: We’ll spend a little less on ourselves and use the money we saved to help others this Christmas.
- Give More: We’ll give more of ourselves and spend time with the people we love.
- Love All: Jesus came for all people, including us. We’ll love and serve all people as a reminder of how much God loves us.
The theme for Friday’s mass, ‘In Hope: Be Watchful! Be Alert!’, took inspiration from the readings of the first Sunday of Advent. Friday’s Gospel reminded us that Advent is about more than our preparation for the Church’s celebration of Jesus’ birth at Christmas. The first Sunday of Advent gives us the opportunity to centre our thoughts on hope. It’s a beautiful chance to remember the hope God offers to our lost and dying world, and that He’s given us through Jesus.
As we lit the first Advent candle in our Advent wreath, we were reminded that this candle of hope symbolises promises delivered through the prophets from God as well as the hope we have in Christ. Throughout Advent, we pray that hope will rise in our spirits in a tangible and life-giving way.
Our mass also drew together our efforts to support those in need in our local communities as we prepare for Christmas. We were honoured to have Father Phillip Fleay lead our celebration, and we were also delighted to welcome Ugo Landro & Noel Neff from the St Vincent De Paul Society, Rosemary Stanley from Shopfront, and Annalisa Oxenburgh, Philanthropy Manager of St Patrick’s Community Support Centre.
Our guests received our Christmas Appeal donations at the end of Mass, and we sincerely thank them for joining us.
It is my sincere hope that all our families enjoy the remaining preparatory period of Advent and have a safe, happy, and holy Christmas.
Melissa Trolio, Director of Mission