It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus open the doors of hope.
– Pope Benedict XVI
This Sunday one of my favorite hymns was sung, with the refrain “…wisdom awake us, rouse us and shake us, O Come Emmanuel.” As we enter this rich and wonderful liturgical season of Advent let us lead our children through the doors of hope, establishing a strong family faith, by attending Mass each Sunday. Create lasting memories of goodness by lighting the Advent wreath, praying the Christmas Novena or attending the magnificent Christmas Carol Sing at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on December 17th or 18th. These are memories of goodness that your children will never forget. These memories will live in their hearts long after Christmas toys are forgotten.
Here at St. Francis Academy the older children are attending Mass each morning listening to the stirring Advent readings and we have begun our traditional Christmas Novena. Our Pre-K 3 entrance has been transformed into a gingerbread house and, of course, Christmas Concert rehearsal is in full swing. Santa has sent three elves, Snowflake, Jingle, and Twinkle, to watch over us and their appearance and daily location are a popular topic of conversation. This coming Friday our 8th Grade students will receive their school rings during Mass celebrated by Archbishop Bernard Hebda. We always celebrate our Ring Ceremony as close to the feast of the Immaculate Conception as possible for this is our sisters special feast day. The Ring Ceremony is an Advent memory which our students and parents hold dear, an SFA tradition.
This year the 1st Grade and our Jubilate Deo Choir will travel to Tenafly to share our Nativity play and the gift of song with our retired sisters. Our students will also be sponsoring a toy drive. My very favorite Advent tradition is the Blessing of the Stable which takes place on our last day of school before Christmas vacation.
So as wisdom awakens us, rouses and shakes us let us together do our best not to allow our children to fall victim to the culture which turns the blessed Advent season into a frenzy of consumerism. If we succeed in creating counter – cultural Advent memories of goodness for our families then, surely, the doors of hope will open and we can lovingly say, O Come Emmanuel.
God bless you,
Ms. Deborah Savage