“Prepare ye, the way of the Lord.”
“A voice of one crying out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.’” Mark, chapter 1:3 Source: USCCB.org
For Families to Share Together:
Pray the Rosary with your children. Use the Rosary crucifix to cross yourselves:
Recently, I saw a portion of “How to Pray the Rosary” of EWTN. The small part that I saw was so helpful. The speaker, Dr. Edward Sri, stated that there was a “hinge” between the first portion of “Hail Mary” and “Holy Mary” and that the hinge is the name “Jesus.” He suggested that we give the name of Jesus special attention and that we could reflect on one of the Mysteries, when we say His name. I have been using this technique and it makes a huge difference in giving this prayer the depth and reverence it deserves. Try saying the name, “Jesus” with a special emphasis or intonation, that indicates He is God.
How to Pray the Rosary Source: Catholic Child’s Prayer Book By Rev. Thomas J. Donaghy St. Joseph Junior Books, Page 15 “We begin the Rosary with the sign of the Cross (for this is the way that we begin all of our prayers.)
After this, we pray the Apostles’ Creed. This is a very ancient prayer that proclaims the important truths of our faith.
After the Apostle’s Creed, we pray one Our Father, three Hail Marys and one Glory Be.
Now we come to the most important reason we pray the Rosary: to meditate on the Mysteries of our Faith. We proclaim each of the five Mysteries, followed by one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and one Glory Be.
Remember, the reason for praying the Rosary is not to tally how many prayers we can say. It is to meditate on God’s love as shown in the lives of Jesus and Mary. This is why we hold the Rosary while we pray, so that we can keep track of the number of prayers we have said.”
For the month of Advent, let’s recite the Five Joyful Mysteries, in preparation for the coming of the infant, Jesus Christ.
We Recite the Mysteries
Beginning with The Joyful Mysteries (These are recited Monday and Saturday.)
- The Annunciation “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to you word.” (Luke 1:38)
- The Visitation “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. (Luke 1:46-47)
- The Nativity “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
- The Presentation “My eyes have seen your salvation.” (Luke 2:30)
- The Finding in the Temple “Did you not know that I needed to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:41-52)
We Learn Through Prayer–“O My Jesus”
“Recite the following prayer on the same last bead of the 10th ‘Hail Mary.'” Source: MaryPages.com
The Fatima Prayer
“O my Jesus,
Happening This Week
December 6, Saint Nicholas Day Source: FranciscanMedia.org
“Perhaps the best-known story about Nicholas concerns his charity toward a poor man who was unable to provide dowries for his three daughters of marriageable age. Rather than see them forced into prostitution, Nicholas secretly tossed a bag of gold through the poor man’s window on three separate occasions, thus enabling the daughters to be married. Over the centuries, this particular legend evolved into the custom of gift-giving on the saint’s feast.”
December 8, The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary Source: FranciscanMedia.org
“The logic of piety helped God’s people to believe that Mary was full of grace and free of sin from the first moment of her existence. Moreover, this great privilege of Mary is the highlight of all that God has done in Jesus. Rightly understood, the incomparable holiness of Mary shows forth the incomparable goodness of God.”
December 9, Saint Juan Diego Source: FranciscanMedia.org
“Thousands of people gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe July 31, 2002, for the canonization of Juan Diego, to whom the Blessed Mother appeared in the 16th century. Pope John Paul II celebrated the ceremony at which the poor Indian peasant became the Church’s first saint indigenous to the Americas.”
We Learn Through Reading
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Source: USCCB.org (Isaiah 9-2) Page 94
“Isaiah and the Promised Savior” in The Catholic Bible for Children tells the story of the prophet Isaiah, who told the people about the coming of the Savior: “‘One day, the Savior will come. A child will be born who will become a king forever. He will bring justice, peace, and joy to everyone. He will light up the world with his love.'” Isaiah was a prophet hundreds of years before Christ was born, and the people waited for the arrival of the Messiah, for all that time. The oppressed and down-trodden received hope that the Messiah would come to help them.
Excerpt from Psalm 45 Source: USCCB.org Psalms chapter 45
“Your throne, O God, stands forever;
your royal scepter is a scepter for justice.
You love justice and hate wrongdoing;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above your fellow kings.”
The story “Isaiah the Prophet Brings Hope” from Catholic Book of Bible Stories (for children ages 4-8) pages 80-83, is about Isaiah telling the Israelites, “‘Shout to the world the good news! Tell everyone your God is coming. He is coming to rule the world with power. He will bring along with him people he has rescued. He will take care of his people like a shepherd takes care of his beloved flock.'”
Here is the prayer for this reading from Catholic Book of Bible Stories:
“Lord, I will place my trust in you,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
We Learn Through Storytelling
“For thousands of years before Jesus’ birth, the people of Israel had been waiting for a Savior to rescue them from their troubles. The Prophet Isaiah assured them that a Savior was indeed coming. The Savior would protect the people and bring them to heaven to live with God. Jesus is the promised Savior.”
“Advent is a time of joy and hope. We feel joy as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus on Christmas. We feel joy because we know that at the end of his life on earth, Jesus conquered sin and death. We feel hope because we prepare ourselves for the day when the Risen Jesus will come again and bring us to live forever with God in Heaven. In Advent, we celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus and the birth of our salvation!” Source: Magnifikid! Prayers for Schools, Page 108
For a beautiful story about the birth of Jesus and the Holy Family read “Jesus is Born” in Stories of the Bible written by Kathleen Long Bostrom, illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova, Pages 74-84
“In the village of Nazareth lived a girl named Mary. She had a pure and strong spirit, and held a special place in God’s heart…”
We Celebrate Through Song
Be inspired by beautiful, timeless music!
“Hallelujah Chorus” Handel’s Messiah Performed by the Choir of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C.
We Learn Through Writing
This is a wonderful time of year for children to practice writing by creating homemade Christmas cards and celebrating family members in art. Our Advent art project that follows adds words to candles that the children can draw or paint. The water soluble crayons below turn to watercolor by dipping a finger or brush in water and rubbing or “painting” the crayon drawing. Provide paper and pens, markers, crayons, etc. as well. Children love to use Sharpies, but need to have some paper underneath the paper they are writing on so it doesn’t leak through.
We Celebrate Through Art
Preparing for Christmas by making Advent art is a lovely way for children to become involved and participating in this period of anticipation. The liturgical color is purple or violet. The one rose (not pink!) candle represents Gaudete (“Rejoice”) Sunday on the third Sunday of Advent. Perhaps your children can use small-sized watercolor paper or blank card stock notes to decorate and use for Christmas gifts, cards or tree ornaments. With a hole punch and ribbon you can hang these cards on the Christmas tree or elsewhere. There are so many great words to use on these cards–Anticipate! Prepare! Watch! Wait! Rejoice! Hope!…encourage your children to add the words they like best. Happy Advent!