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December 17, 2023 – Third Sunday of Advent

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Our Great Journey

This week our theme is “Testify to the Light”/ “Testifica de la luz”  based on John 1:6-8, 19-28 / John 1:6-8, 19-28  

The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudette Sunday. The word “Gaudete” is Latin for “Rejoice.” This celebration is a reminder that God who loves us is still in charge and that we await his coming not with fear, but with tremendous joy.


Opening Prayer: 

Gather around your family prayer space. Light 2 purple and the pink candle on your Advent wreath today. All pray the Sign of the Cross

Jesus, you are Emmanuel, God with us. Fill us with a spirit of love and generous service, so that we are ready to celebrate your coming at Christmas and our lives will reflect your Kingdom that will last forever when you come again. (Light candles for week 1 and 2 on your Advent wreath)

In addition to our prayers from the heart, our prayer for December is The Apostles’ Creed.  Please pray these prayers daily to learn. (The Apostles’ Creed is a profession of faith that preceded the Nicene Creed at the Council of Nicaea in 325. The Apostles’ Creed is usually prayed when we begin the Rosary)

Using the Bible, invite a family member to read the Gospel aloud.

Things to talk about:

  • How would you respond if asked, “Who are you?” What is your message — the truth you really want the world to know?
  • What does it mean for John the Baptist to “testify to the light”?
  • What is different at Mass during Advent?
  • How is the life and mission of John the Baptist similar to the life and mission of a Christian?

Things to do:

  • The third Sunday of Advent has a special name that starts with the letter “G.” Your priest or deacon will most likely use this special name at some point during Mass. See if you can be the first one to hear it!
  • Gather together around your prayer space, turn off the lights. Have 5 tea lights or candles on the prayer table. Whisper the names of people or groups who are suffering in darkness from poverty, war, pain, illness. As a name is mentioned, light a candle. Pray, Christ be our light and bring healing and love to all. 
  • Locusts on a log— Eat like John, Cut celery stalks into 4” pieces, fill the celery with honey, place locusts (raisins) on top.

Closing Prayer

Renewal of Baptismal Promises

In preparation for the coming of Christ, recite the promises you or your parents made for you at your baptism. It is good for dad (or mom) to ask the questions and for each child to respond individually. Responses are in bold.

Do you reject Satan? I do.

And all his works? I do.

And all his empty promises? I do.

Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth? I do.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? I do.

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting? I do.

God, the all-powerful Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given us a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit and forgiven all our sins. May he also keep us faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.

Catholic Insights

John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus and the “forerunner” for Jesus. He had a very clear mission from God. John spent his time in the desert. As the crowds came to John, he knew that the mission was not about himself. His mission was to point to the one who would come after him, Jesus. He began to announce the coming of the kingdom and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life. His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. John baptized with water for repentance, but one would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John knew that his one goal in life was to help people see who Jesus really was: the Lamb of God, sent from the Father, to take away the sins of the world.

John helps us to prepare the way to receive God’s greatest gift, who’s love is unfathomable!

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