Start of New Advent Season Promises Renewal

(COVINGTON, La.) — Sunday, Nov. 27, marked the beginning of a new year in the Catholic Church with the start of Advent, a season of waiting and preparing for the coming of Jesus Christ that culminates at Christmas. This new season brings about many changes in the church and in the lives of Catholics.

“Catholic families put out Advent wreaths, the priest wears purple vestments, and Jessie trees spring up,” President Bro. Ray Bulliard, FSC, said, “all to remind us of the season of waiting for the fullness of time.”

An Advent wreath rests unlit in the lobby of the main school building. (Photo by: Blake Franklin)

An Advent wreath rests in the lobby of the main school building, signifying the coming of Christ. (Photo by Blake Franklin)

This isn’t the same type of waiting, however, as being stuck in heavy traffic. The waiting that Catholics do during Advent is not annoying or bothersome. Rather, it brings reassurance and joy as the coming of Christ draws more and more near.

“Advent teaches us to turn times of waiting into times of grace,” Bro. Ray said. “If we can fill our time of waiting with God’s presence, then the whole concept of patience will take on a new and more fulfilling meaning.”

Bro. Ray draws the attention of the student body toward the Advent wreath's first purple candle, which had just been lit. (Photo from St. Paul's Facebook)

Bro. Ray draws the attention of the student body toward the Advent wreath’s first purple candle, which had just been lit at a recent Principal’s Assembly. (Photo from St. Paul’s Facebook)

So what is it about this unordinary time that gives people the patience to wait for something that is as great as Jesus Christ himself?

“What should happen is that patience should transfer into everyday life,” religion teacher Luke Barwick said. “So, when you are stuck in traffic or waiting in line, you can say ‘Maranatha,’ because that’s not just an advent thing. A part of Advent is preparing for the birth of Christ, but we are also really preparing for his coming again.”

Teacher Brad Guillory has his Nativity scene set up in preparation for Christmas. (Photo by Blake Franklin)

Teacher Brad Guillory has his Nativity scene set up in preparation for Christmas. (Photo by Blake Franklin)

“Maranatha” is one of the oldest prayers in the Church. It consists of just that one word, which is Aramaic for “Come, Lord.”

The religion classes at St. Paul’s are spending a part of every class period in the chapel to celebrate Advent, and to pray for the recovery of junior Michael Doherty.

“The time of Advent that we begin again today returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the word of God,” Pope Francis said on Dec. 1 to the crowds in St. Peter’s Square. “A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints. He is faithful.”

So, with the coming of Christmas in only a few weeks, St. Paul’s encourages students to remain steadfast in faith and continue to do God’s work.

•   •   •

Editor’s Note: The school will continue its celebration of Advent this week with the annual Luminarias Celebration, which will take place throughout campus this Thursday evening, Dec. 8. The public is invited to join the school in this annual celebration by slowly driving through campus with headlights off, beginning at dusk, to view the candles. Guests may also park and join in caroling in Founder’s Circle at 6 p.m., followed by a prayer service in Our Lady of Peace Chapel, then a reception and Jazz Band concert in the cafeteria. Click here to read last year’s article on the rich history of this St. Paul’s tradition.

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