By Marian Harnett

PROLOGUE: Hail and Blessed be the hour and moment in which the son of God was born of the pure Virgin Mary, at mid-night in a stable in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At the same hour vouch safe O My God, hear my prayer and grant my petition.

DEATH:  We offer our sympathy to the family of Paddy Aherne, Convent Street/England whose funeral took place on Saturday. May he rest in peace.

LIVE CRIB:  Duagh Tidy Towns will open a special Crib and have it blessed on Saturday, December 18th at the Vigil Mass. All will be subject to public health guidelines and remain open throughout Christmas period from 11.00am-9.00pm. All proceeds are in aid of local charities.

PADRE Pio December Devotions in Castleisland on Tuesday, December 21 at 7.30pm. Witness by Joan Hussey, Tralee, “She will share her story about the heartbreak felt by the loss of her little boy”.

ADVENT: History and Meaning of the Advent Wreath:  The lights of the candles on the Advent Wreath break through the darkness, reminding us of the Light of Christ that we anticipate during this holy season of Advent. Like many of our Church traditions, the use of the Advent Wreath with its evergreens and its lighted candles finds its origins in pagan tradition and ritual. “Pre-Germanic peoples used wreaths with lit candles during the dark and cold of winter as signs of hope in the future warmth and lengthening sunlit days of spring. Similarly, Scandinavians lit candles which were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn the wheel of the earth back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.” In the middle ages, Germanic peoples began incorporating a lighted wreath into the Christian season of Advent. It didn’t gain widespread popularity until the 1800s.

The Advent Wreath is symbolic. The evergreens used for the wreath itself are reminders of life. Shaping them into a circle reinforces that meaning. The circle is also a sign of everlasting life as well as the eternity of God

The four candles used, three purple and one rose, mark the Sundays of Advent before Christmas. The purple candles are reminders that this should be a time of prayer and sacrifice to prepare us for the second coming of Christ. On the third Sunday, the rose candle is lit to announce Gaudete Sunday, (Gaudete means rejoice) a Sunday of rejoicing for Christ’s coming is near. With the lighting of that third candle, brightness is growing and the darkness is being overcome.

A fifth and larger white candle in the centre represents Christ. It is lit on Christmas Eve as a declaration that Christ has come into the world and the darkness is vanquished utterly.

The Advent Wreath serves as a powerful visual reminder of the holiness of the season. The light of the candles invites us to quiet ourselves during this busy time and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. It provides an invitation to wait and pray in hopeful anticipation for the coming of Christ. We are called to welcome the light of Christ into our lives.

MASS TIMES:  Wednesday 10am and 7pm Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Saturday No Morning Mass. 6.30pm Bridget Healy, Lower Knocknasna and deceased family members, Ramey Leahy, New Street. Abbbeyfeale ICA Deceased members. Frank Foley, St Ita’s Road.. Hugh & Mary Masterson. Sunday 10am Hannah Mai Scannell, Dromtrasna Collins. Paddy, Eily Mai & Michael Barry Caherlane.12noon Betty & Patie Lane, Kilconlea. Mary Keating Fitzgerald, Clash .

ST VINCENT DE PAUL ANNUAL CHRISTMAS APPEAL: will take place next weekend at all Masses on December11/12. Christmas is meant to be a time of togetherness and hope. But for many families, it will be filled with worry. In the winter, families around the country face impossible choices. They will struggle with the decision of heating the house or having a Christmas dinner. Should they put presents under the tree, or oil in the tank? Christmas is not the same for everyone, but with your help we can help alleviate the struggle of families facing these and many more impossible choices. Through our generosity we can help ensure everyone is safe and warm and can enjoy a little bit of the magic and love that comes with this season. Many families will face impossible choices at Christmas. Please support St. Vincent de Paul in helping these families this Christmas. The Society’s Annual Christmas collection will take place at all Masses next weekend.

OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY 2022 – Fr. Dan O’Riordan will be the spiritual director for this pilgrimage. It takes place from August 7-13 and will include category 1 Passion Play tickets.  Flights from Dublin direct to Munich.  For details contact Premier Travel on 021 4277700.

GLORACH BINGO:  Sunday at Fr. Casey’s 1.30pm.