Day 7: Saturday 5 December 2015

Readings for Saturday of the First Week of Advent 
Eccles Is 30:19-21, 23-26. Ps 146:1-6, R/ Is 30:18. Mt 9:35-10:1, 6-8.

God’s ears are not deaf to the cries of the needy. Jesus, as a shepherd, feels compassion for those who have lost the way.

lighting a single advent candle

Saints and Advent 

Saint John the Baptist, the son of Zachary and Elizabeth, straddles both Old and New Testaments. His parents were reckoned as ‘just before God’ (Lk 1:6). John the Baptist is a major figure in the history of salvation. While in his mother’s womb, he recognised the Saviour (cf. Lk 1:39-45); his birth was accompanied by great signs (cf. Lk 1:57-66). Jesus praised him by attributing to him the glorious phrase of all children born to women, there is no one greater that John. (Lk 7:28).

Advent Thought for the Day 

Advent Thought for the Day image 2

Each day during Advent we are bringing you an audio Thought for Today on a different theme. Today’s Thought for Today is a poem called Peace, written and read by well-known Irish poet Desmond Egan. This poem has been translated into 28 different languages – Paix, Pace, Peace, Pax, Pasch, Sholem, Paco…… Lord, make us all instruments of your peace.

The Words of Pope Francis 

General Audience Wednesday 24 April 2013

Pope Francis on the good Samaritans working everyday in the missions

The Pope was addressing participants of the XIX Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in the Vatican last Thursday morning when he recalled his recent apostolic trip to Africa where – he said – he had first hand witness of the “spiritual and pastoral dynamism of many young Churches of the Continent, as well as the serious difficulties in which most of the population lives”.

“I have seen that where there are needs, there is almost always a presence of the Church ready to heal the wounds of the most needy, in whom they recognize the wounded and crucified body of the Lord Jesus. How many works of charity, of promoting human dignity! How many anonymous good Samaritans work every day in the missions!” he said.

The Pope then spoke of the “evangelizing nature of the Church which always begins by evangelizing herself” by listening to the Word of the Lord which never disappoints because it is founded on the grace of the Holy Spirit.

And quoting from the “Ad Gentes” Conciliar Decree the Pope said: “it is the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit that the Church, according to the plan of God the Father, derives its origin”.

And he explained that the Church is servant of the mission, and that “the mission is not the tool, but the starting point and the end”.

Pope Francis also mentioned the fact that the Council has recently carried out a survey on the vitality of the young Churches in order to make its work more effective.

He spoke of  the ambiguity faced by some today in the experience of the faith pointing out that the secular world, even when it is warm to the gospel values of love, justice, peace and sobriety, does not show the same openness to the person of Jesus, does not consider Him the Messiah or the Son of God, but an enlightened man, separating therefore “the message from the messenger, the gift from the Giver”.

In this situation of detachment – he said – , “missio ad gentes” serves as engine and horizon of faith.

And he encouraged the Church “to come out to proclaim the Gospel to all, in all places, in all occasions, without delay, without repulsion and without fear”.

The Pope said mission is a force capable of transforming the Church within itself even before the life of peoples and cultures.

He urged each parish to embrace the style of  “missio ad gentes” so that the Holy Spirit may transform habitual believers into disciples, disaffected disciples into missionaries” drawing them away from their fears and closures, projecting them in all directions, to the ends of the world”.

The Pope recalled that four centuries ago, Pope Gregory XV instituted “Propaganda Fide” which took the name of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 1967 and said that just as the Church renews itself so must the congregation.

He encouraged all present to continue to be committed to the spirit of mission and always “listen to the cry of the poor and distant, meet everyone and proclaim the joy of the gospel”.


Pope Francis on Twitter 
A Christian brings peace to others. Not only peace, but also love, kindness, faithfulness and joy. – @Pontifex

Blessing of the Crib in the Home 
In homes across Ireland this weekend Christmas trees and cribs may be put in place in preparation for Christmas. Below are links to two short videos: (i) A Blessing of the Crib in the home and (ii) A Blessing of the Christmas Tree

nativity colour

Christmas Tree Blessing
Blessing of the Crib 

The text of these and other blessings are available in a leaflet from the Council for Marriage and the Family which can be downloaded as a pdf here.

christ in christmas

Advent Faithbytes

By our actions, our words, our prayer, our example of love, we can be credible, if imperfect witnesses to Christ. ‘The Kingdom of God is now. This is the time for people to extend their hand to take hold of their salvation.’ (Share the Good News, 32)

Advent Prayer Intentions
1. We pray for the dead;
that they may enjoy eternal life
rejoicing in the Lord’s house.

2. We pray for those who feel lonely at this time of year,
those who mourn and those who are far from
family and friends.

3. Prayer for Hospitality
Hospitality Family Prayer Book

Taken from The Family Prayer Book published by Veritas (

Advent Music

season of advent
O Sanctissima, a Marian hymn from around the 18th century. This particular version, by the Cathedral Singers of Richard Proulx, is highly abridged of the original.

O sanctissima, O piissima,
Dulcis Virgo Maria.
Mater amata, intemerata,
Ora, ora pro nobis

Tota pulchra es, O Maria
Et macula non est in te
Mater amata, intemerata,
Ora, ora pro nobis.

Sicut lilium inter spinas,
Sic Maria inter filias
Mater amata, intemerata,
Ora, ora pro nobis.

Click here to listen. 



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