4 Tips to Prepare Your Catholic Parish for Advent


Advent begins December 3 this year and it will be here before we know it! Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas, but it can only be fruitful if we spend some time preparing for the preparation. Here are just 4 things we can do now to ensure that on the first Sunday of Advent our parishes and our people are ready.

  1. Prepare to treat the First Sunday of Advent as the first Sunday of an entire liturgical year in the Church.      

Too often we get so caught up in the idea of Advent that we minimize the fact that we are starting a new year with a new cycle of readings, feasts, and solemnities. We need to catechize our people about the cycles of the Lectionary. We can also decide to make some subtle changes in the worship space that will not only last a season, but entire year. By providing a focus on the new liturgical year, we also help people see Advent truly as a new beginning. Advent is a time to prepare to let Jesus be born in us anew. What is past is now past. Let us move forward boldly and enter more deeply into the mystery of Christ. 

  1. Schedule many simple devotional events along with the larger seasonal ones.

Most churches have special events for Advent and many of them are for prayer. By also providing many simple opportunities like praying the rosary or holy hours with Adoration, we can encourage people to join us with Advent as the reason, but then they may continue these devotions into the New Year. Use the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as reasons to focus some Marian-themed devotions around the dates.

  1. Preach & catechize about good stewardship in all aspects of life.

Many people spend too much and are more frivolous during this season. Some take on a debt that they will be paying off for many months. Also, it is very easy to overcommit our time or get caught up in a race toward Christmas. Good stewardship living extends into all aspects of our life. We need to be good stewards of all the gifts given to us by God. Catechizing people about good stewardship principles and reminding them of the pitfalls during this time of year can be rather important, especially before the season comes and it is too late for some.

  1. Suggest to your parishioners to take the Everyday Stewardship Advent Challenge.

Every day of Advent there will be an Everyday Stewardship reflection that springs from the daily readings, followed by the Advent Daily Challenge. The challenges will range in their level of difficulty, but will all attempt to lead us into a greater stewardship way of life. It is a great way to stay focused on what matter the most during Advent: Jesus. Visit our Advent Reflections page to sign up.

All That We Need

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2017


Remember a time when jealousy or envy reared its ugly head and you wished you had that which someone else owned? Maybe it was a house, a car, a bank account, or even that luscious green lawn. All humans have had that feeling before and some of us more often than others. After the emotion hit you, hopefully, you considered all the good gifts you did have in your life and gave thanks for them. Let’s pray that you are still not hanging onto those feelings. Unfortunately, we do live in a world that seems to fuel those desires and push us toward wanting more and more.

But let’s level the field here. Did you ever hear of someone who died and was able to take any of those things with them into the afterlife? The reality is that nothing we have in this life truly belongs to us. We come into this world with nothing and as time goes by more gifts are entrusted to us but we never truly own them. So whom do they belong to anyway?

Of course, you know the answer. All that we have has been entrusted to us by God; to be cherished, cultivated, and then given back to Him for His glory. God doesn’t need any of these things, and we only need them short term. All that we need long-term is God. If He is all we need in the end, I bet our lives would be more fruitful and happier if we focused on that now instead of later.