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"O Come Thou Dayspring from on High / And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh. / Disperse the gloomy clouds of night / And death’s dark shadow put to flight."
On this site you will find a variety of pages and features to help you immerse yourself in the Season of Advent and prepare for the great celebration of Christmas. If you have any Advent links that you would like to send for consideration, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The links below will take you to the readings for each day of Advent, as published on the Web site of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
The services are a chance for the parish community to come together for prayer and also for individual confession.
Each year, as the season of Advent culminates in the celebration of Christmas (and the Christmas season), The Criterion has a special commemorative front page, which is usually taken from famous artwork. Click on the links below to view some of our recent covers (1998-Present).
Each year, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas mark not only the beginning of the Church's liturgical year but also a solemn preparation for the joy of Christ's birth. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the preparation for Christmas:
The coming of God's Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the "First Covenant". He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.
St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. "Prophet of the Most High", John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being "the friend of the bridegroom", whom he points out as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world". Going before Jesus "in the spirit and power of Elijah", John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (522-24)