Roman Catholic Advent Season
Create Joy in Catechism Class

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We just love the Roman Catholic Advent Season! It's extra special with little children. It's fun to prepare for Jesus' birthday. One of our children said, "It's nice to have reminders of Jesus before the Christmas break."




There's so much that can be done in catechism class or simply snuggling up with a picture book at home on the couch.

  • We can cover the prophecies that led up to the Nativity.
  • We can teach about the penitential side of St. John the Baptist's admonition to "Do penance". 
  • We can teach the story of the Nativity. 
  • Children love Advent stories because Jesus was the sweetest child.

Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and lasts through December 24th. See our Catholic Advent printables at these links below:

  1. Catholic Advent Wreath Prayers and coloring page.
  2. Advent prayers.
  3. Three page printable Advent calendar.
  4. Printable Saint Andrew Prayers and coloring pages.
  5. Jesse Tree and O Antiphons.
  6. Christmas Preparations.
  7. Saint Andrew, November 30.
  8. Saint Nicholas, December 6.
  9. Holy Days: Immaculate Conception, Dec 8; Christmas, Dec 25.

1. Catholic Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath Coloring Picture

One of the most memorable of our Advent traditions is lighting the Advent candles in the Advent wreath and saying Advent prayers in anticipation of the Christmas season. 

In our family we often use the prayers or readings of the Mass for each Sunday.

Kids like our Advent wreath coloring picture. Be sure to teach them that the two shortest candles and the tallest candles would be purple and that the second tallest would be pink.

The holly berries can be red, yellow, or white depending on the kind of holly you like. The ribbon can be purple for the Advent season.


Advent Wreath Prayers

Here are the Collect Prayers from the Fr. Lasance New Roman Missal that you can say on the Sundays in Advent, courtesy of CCWatershed's 1937 Fr. Lasance Missal (PDF).

First Sunday Of Advent Prayer

BESTIR, 0 Lord, Thy might, we pray Thee and come; That, defended by Thee, we may deserve rescue from approaching dangers brought on by our sins,and being set free by Thee, obtain our salvation. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Second Sunday Of Advent Prayer

STIR up our hearts. 0 Lord, to prepare the ways of Thine only-begotten Son, that through His coming we may be worthy to serve Thee with purified minds. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Third Sunday Of Advent Prayer

INCLINE Thine ear to our prayers, 0 Lord, we beseech Thee; and make bright the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Fourth Sunday Of Advent - Light three purple candles and one rose candle.Fourth Sunday Of Advent - Light three purple candles and one rose candle.

Fourth Sunday Of Advent Prayer

BESTIR, 0 Lord, Thy might, we beseech thee, and come; and with great power to our aid, that, by the of Thy grace, that Which is hindered by our sins may be by Thy merciful forgiveness. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

There are three purple candles and one that is rose colored or pink for a total of four candles. The rose candle represents the more joyful third week of Advent - Gaudete Sunday "Rejoice in the Lord".  Well, okay, Sunday is more joyful. This is also the beginning of the more penitential Ember Week.

I remember that when we were first married we could not find the four pack of candles so we used white candles with colored ribbons at the base (beware the fire hazard). Pink candles were everywhere, but purple candles were hard to find.

At about the ten year mark we moved to Kansas and its purple K-State territory. There were purple candles even in the grocery stores!

Now we have the internet and can even find fabulously beautiful Advent candles in purple and pink colors with no problem. You can buy a 10" set of tapers from Aquinas and More here or at Amazon here.

On Christmas Eve we use the same wreaths (one on the front door and one on our table) yet exchange the pink and purple of Advent for the red and gold of Christmas. This way we are able to put up most of our "Christmas decorations" during Advent and quickly change them for Christmas with the least amount of work on that very busy day.

Catholic Advent Bible Stories

This is a wonderful time of the year to teach the Bible stories that surround the Birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. It's also a great time to teach children about the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary as they cover the time leading up to Advent through the year.

Simply reading the Bible stories that lead up to the Nativity, or explaining the Joyful Mysteries,  can help little ones understand that Advent is the time when we prepare for Jesus' birthday.

Kids love the story of the Angel Gabriel announcing to Mary, the story of St. John the Baptist and the stories of the angels appearing in glory to the simple shepherds.

When does Advent start? Advent starts four Sundays before Christmas Day which makes the start of Advent a variable date. This is why Advent calendars generally show only December 1 through December 25. 

Children like to learn that the name Jesus means Savior. Each of the four Sundays in Advent represents one of the four thousand years that mankind awaited its Savior. Since Christmas is on different days of the week each year, the last week of Advent is often shorter than seven days. Advent could be as short as 22 days when Christmas falls on a Monday.

The last week of Advent might not always be a full week because Christmas does not often fall on a Sunday which means that Advent is super short when Christmas falls on a Monday or Tuesday. Yea! Less penance and Jesus comes so much sooner.

Um... Yikes! Maybe less time for final preparations, especially for Midnight Mass.

When it comes to children opening the doors on an Advent calendar or coloring a new picture on each of the days of the calendar, the last few days in a short week might seem to cut some children short. I try to think of this at the beginning and work backwards. Sometimes the little one is not aware, sometimes the little one hopes to have December 24; so a little planning can be a big help.

2. Roman Catholic Advent Prayers

The Roman Catholic Advent season is meant to set our minds in a hopeful direction for the true spirit of the Christmas Season. The Advent prayers teach us to prepare for Jesus in a way that we could imitate every time that we intend to receive Holy Communion, so this is a wonderful tradition for the First Communion year. Teach that it is wonderful that Jesus is coming!

Right before dinner we light the Advent candles on each of the four Sundays of Advent and then say our Advent prayers. 

The easiest Advent prayers I was able to find were those in the Missal, especially the Post Communion for each Sunday. You can also use the Introit, Collect or Communion Prayers. At our house this sometimes depends on how little our youngest child is. Sometimes we say a simple Hail Mary and ask the Holy Family to help us.

If you want to read appropriate Bible readings, again you can use the Missal and turn to the Epistles and the Gospels for the different Sundays of Advent. These make great Advent readings from scripture. This way you have the confidence of knowing that you are praying as the Church prays.

Another favorite Advent tradition of ours is when Dad moves the people and animals in our Bethlehem scene. During the last week we bring out Mary and Joseph so that the children can think of them traveling to Bethlehem. Each day they move closer and closer to the crib.

On Christmas Eve Dad moves Baby Jesus into the crib so that the little ones can see Jesus first thing in the morning. If we go to Midnight Mass, Dad's usually the last person out of the house, checking on things of course. :-)

3. Catholic Advent Calendar

Printable Advent Calendar

Our St. Anne's Helper printable Catholic Advent calendar prints in three pages:

  • Two black and white Advent coloring pages including a stable.
  • Already colored Advent clip art cut outs for little ones.

This calendar is the simple fruit of a labor of love and we hope that it helps you teach your children about Jesus in a way that increases their love for Him and His sweet Mother Mary and Foster Father Joseph.Our daughter comments below with a submission that has our printable Advent calendar colored and pieced together complete with photo.

There are several ways to use this Advent calendar.

1. The children can either use the colored pieces to assemble their own Nativity, or color and cut their own colored Nativity pieces. Print the page of your choice: color or black and white to color. At our house, we take turns adding the pieces to the calendar.

At the time of this writing we have eight children, so when we start on December 1, every child gets to place three pieces by the time Christmas comes. The youngest get to place any extra pieces depending on the number of days.

Now that we have this printable calendar, every child can have his own calendar, or the children could make them as gifts to give to family and friends. The finished product can also make an endearing homemade Christmas card.

2. The very littlest ones love coloring their own pieces. Have them color first and cut last. :-)

3. Simply coloring the image on each date can be an Advent calendar, too, even without the cutting. Simply color each figure one per day as we count down to Jesus' Birthday.

Each year the actual number of days in Advent varies as the beginning of Advent is a movable feast, at least date-wise. During shorter Advent seasons the extra Christmas images can still be used to decorate the Nativity scene - or dry the tears of any left out children. :-)

Trina's Printable Advent Calendar

Finished with photo!

A printable advent calendar is a great way to get ready for Jesus' coming! It is fun to start getting the stable ready for Jesus. First comes the manger then the other nativity animals, then the shepherds, Kings, St. Joseph and Mary - all waiting for Baby Jesus! Then on Christmas Day the big day you get to put Baby Jesus in His crib!

Our Christmas Tradition:

A Christmas tradition that we really enjoy for our Nativity Scene is similar to the Advent calendar.

  • At the beginning of Advent we just have the animals in the stable under our Christmas tree. Then we put the shepherds off a little distance from the tree watching their sheep. 
  • A day or two before Christmas Mary and Joseph come. 
  • Then on Christmas Eve night while we are all in bed, Dad puts Baby Jesus in his crib! The younger ones are always delighted on Christmas morning to find Baby Jesus in his crib! 

Also, remember the Kings. They come on January 6! For us they normally make an appearance in our living room about a day or two after Christmas and then inch their way to the Nativity every day. ;-) 

This is a great way for younger ones to understand the events in the order that they happened and also gives them a feel for waiting for Jesus to come! 

Katrina

Kansas, USA

Roman Catholic Advent Season

What is Advent? The Roman Catholic Advent Season is the liturgical season previous to Christmas. It is a warm season filled with the anticipation of the coming of Jesus, or in other words the Advent of Jesus. Advent means "coming".

"The ecclesiastical year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, that is, on the Sunday next, whether before or after, the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, November 30.

"Following this are the four weeks of Advent and the Christmas festivals, ending with the Epiphany, January 6.

"The Sundays that follow are called the first, the second, and so forth, after the Epiphany. They are never more than six in number, and their series is, as a rule, interrupted by the coming of Septuagesima Sunday, which is the ninth before Easter Sunday and the first of those on which the liturgy is of a penitential character." (Fr. Lassance Missal p. 1622)

The Roman Catholic Advent season and Christmas traditions depend upon the birth of Christ. After all Christmas is Jesus' Birthday. Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Also, Christmas means Christ Mass - the Mass of Christ.

Advent represents what mankind had hoped to see since the time of God's promise to Adam four thousand years earlier. Christmas, the Birth of Jesus, was the first manifestation (to most of us) that our hope is true!

Every year we commemorate this pivotal point in history by preparing our own hearts and homes for the coming of Jesus as St. John the Baptist had warned "Prepare ye".

The more that you explain, especially using respectful picture books, the more your children will love the season of Advent and the better they will prepare for Christmas. It can be like telling a very interesting story about your great great uncle.

It is really fun to see their faces light up when they recognize the Christmas themes at church and school or in the stores and restaurants. 

4. Saint Andrew Prayers And Coloring Pages

Starting on November 30, we like to say the St. Andrew's Novena after Rosary each night. This is also called the Christmas novena.

We keep a crib to fill with soft papers for Baby Jesus, and follow the Advent calendar.

After Rosary is a regular time to say the St. Andrew novena, so that we do not forget. Afterward we add papers or yarn bits for our acts of love and sacrifice for Jesus.

You can use our free printable Advent calendar above to help keep track of the days in the novena. Children love the count-down. We also have beautiful printable Saint Andrew prayer cards, a worksheet, and a coloring page here.


5. Jesse Tree Ornaments and
O Antiphons

Jessica has wonderful ideas on her Shower of Roses blog. As she prepares for the feasts throughout the year she shares her projects on her site. You might enjoy her Jesse Tree ornaments. We sure do!

Here is an older page of hers that describes other Advent activities and the O Antiphons.

6. Advent is Preparation For Christmas

Here are some pages to help keep the Roman Catholic Advent Season:

Advent Prayer Poem

I Come To Adore Advent Prayer
~ Emily, 14, Kansas, USA

For one of our Christmas traditions I write a poem story for my family, this is the one for this year (2009).

"I Come To Adore"

The night was dark and ever so cold

Across the prairie thrashed the wind so bold.

Not a light was in the sky save one star so bright

Which shone down upon the town that holy night.

Miles away and trudging so slowly 

A figure we can see hunched so lowly.

His cloak is tattered his feet are worn

Not a hat is on his head and his clothes are all torn.

Every now and then he'll lift his face to the wind and peer,

Up at the star shining near.

Of "He Who is to come" he has from others learned

And the right to believe he has now earned.

He cares not what others think and say

Only that he'll adore and love his God this day.

Closer and closer nearer and nearer

With each mile put behind him his steps trod freer. 

Always encouraged by the star which has now taken its rest, 

Above the stable of which we know best.

A choir of angels he suddenly sees

Across the fields and over the trees

Bringing the message to all who will hear

The Lamb of God is ever so near.

Timidly he now draws near,the Baby so peacefully sleeps

The oxen and donkey are there, also the sheep

He kneels and adores with simplicity like them 

Joyful that he is with his Savior in Bethlehem.

Suddenly the Child awakes, smiling on all who are there

Into His heart begins their spiritual care.

Outside the wind, knowing His holiness now grows mild

For to the town of Bethlehem is born

Jesus the Christ child.


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