Now is the time to start thinking about how you and the other members of your parish will get ready for this special liturgical season. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Think about how your parish can keep a balance between the secular and the spiritual demands of the Advent season. There’s nothing wrong with pre-Christmas preparations, but it will be important to balance the sacred part of Advent with all of the other things that are happening.
  • Make a list of every activity that is already scheduled in your parish during Advent. You might want to plan on having a special Advent prayer that parishioners could use at the start of every parish activity – from Parish Council and the Food Pantry to Scripture Study and RCIA as a reminder to everyone of the sacredness of this season.
  • It might be a good idea to introduce an Advent reflection that can be read by the lector before the weekend Masses. You might want to include a copy of the reflection in the weekly bulletin.
  • Do you want to encourage families to use an Advent wreath in their homes? If the answer is yes, you’ll have to set aside time during the month of November to distribute information on where they can buy an Advent wreath or instructions on how they can make their own.
  • Select a spiritual book and encourage parishioners to read it during Advent. It could be a book of meditations, a biography of a saint, or a book of spiritual insights. Let people know how they can order a copy. Or make copies available for sale in the rectory office or in the vestibule of the church after Masses.
  • Encourage people to adopt as their Advent resolution the promise to set aside a few minutes each day for quiet prayer, spiritual reading or reflection during Advent.
  • Suggest that parishioners participate in some service project during Advent. Whether they donate a gift, visit someone who is sick, go caroling at a nursing home, help in the parish food pantry, or lend a hand in cleaning or decorating the church, they will discover that their effort will make Advent more spiritually rewarding.
  • Encourage people to make it a point during Advent to forgive someone who hurt them and ask forgiveness of anyone they may have hurt.
  • Publicize your Advent penance service and encourage people to attend.
  • Ask everyone to unite themselves with Our Lady so that Advent will truly become a time when each person awaits the birth of the Christ Child in his or her heart.