Advent – Latin word meaning “coming” Advent is the season of preparation to celebrate of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. The four Sundays of Advent in Christian churches, the Bible readings and prayers concentrate on preparing congregations for the coming of Christmas. Often on Advent Sunday, the Sunday closest to November 30, there is a special service called an Advent Carol service where the readings and carols lead us from the darkness of the sin of Adam, through all the prophesies in the Old Testament which tell of the coming of the Messiah, to a climax at the great moment where Mary agrees to be the mother of Jesus and her great prayer, the Magnificat (a hymn of praise) is sung. Some churches may erect a Jesse tree, which is an evergreen tree on which are hung symbols of Jesus from the Old Testament. For example, the Messiah was often described by the prophets as a lion of Judah, so the symbol of a lion is hung on the tree. More common however is for churches to have an Advent wreath. This is a circle of evergreen branches which symbolises that life is eternal. The wreath is often tied with purple ribbon as purple is a colour associated with repentance in the Christian church and during the season of Advent Christians are encouraged to repent of their sins in order to be ready to welcome the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. On the wreath there are four candles. One candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent, two on the second Sunday, and so on until all four candles are lit on the Sunday before Christmas. In the past, the season of Advent was marked by fasting and great solemnity, as a symbol of repentance and as a means of preparation for the great celebration and feasting which was to take place at Christmas. Nowadays however, for many people this season has got “lost” in the rush and hectic nature of the lead up to Christmas which has become a material, as well as spiritual festival.
GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION (GDPR) A new European Data Protection law, the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), was introduced on 25 May 2018. This new law applies to any organisation, including Meadowbrook Parish that manages and processes people’s personal information. We will continue to ensure that what we do with your information is compliant with this new law. Whilst it is a work in progress, we will keep you informed through the parish website and in the newsletter as policies are updated and put in place. Please contact the Parish Office if you have any questions re GDPR. www.dataprotection.ie/docs/GDPR/1623.htm
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