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Blessing of an Advent Wreath

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(The following text is from Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers, 73-75)

The use of the Advent Wreath is a traditional practice which has found its place in the Church as well as in the home. The blessing of an Advent Wreath takes place on the First Sunday of Advent or on the evening before the First Sunday of Advent (1509).

The candles represent the four weeks of Advent, and the number of candles lighted each week corresponds to the number of the current week of Advent. The rose candle is lighted on the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday (1511).

When the blessing of the Advent Wreath is celebrated in the home, it is appropriate that it be blessed by a parent or another member of the family (1514).

For use in a group, we have put together the Thanksgiving Table Blessing in the following PowerPoint format. You can also find the simple text below.

And, please be sure to make use of the prayer sessions for the lighting of the second, third, and fourth candles of the Advent Wreath to take place on each subsequent Sunday of Advent put together by the team at FRESHImage for your use. Future prayer sessions will be made available the Saturday before the corresponding Sunday of Advent. Downloadable formats are available to registered FRESHImage members.

Text of the Blessing of an Advent Wreath

When all have gathered, all make the sign of the cross as the leader says:

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R/. Who made heaven and earth.

Then the Scripture is read by the leader or another of those present:

Listen to the words of the Prophet Isaiah (63:16b-17, 19; 64:2-7):

You, Lord, are our father, our redeemer you are named from of old. Why do you make us wander, Lord, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we do not fear you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Too long have we been like those you do not rule, on whom your name is not invoked. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you. While you worked awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as had not been heard of from of old. No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you working such deeds for those who wait for him. Would that you might meet us doing right, that we might be mindful of you in our ways! Indeed, you are angry; we have sinned, we have acted wickedly. We have all become like something unclean, all our just deeds are like polluted rags; We have all withered like leaves, and our crimes carry us away like the wind. There are none who call upon your name, none who rouse themselves to take hold of you; For you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our crimes. Yet, Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you our potter: we are all the work of your hand.

(Isaiah 9:1-2, 5-6—The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light—may also be used).

Reader: The Word of the Lord

R/. Thanks be to God.

With hands joined, the leader says:

Lord, our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ: he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples, he is the wisdom and teaches and guides us, he is the Savior of every nation.

Lord, God, let your blessing come upon us as we light the candles of this wreath. May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation. May he come quickly and not delay. We as this through Christ our Lord.

R/. Amen.

The blessing may conclude with a verse from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”:

O come, desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of humankind; bid ev’ry sad division cease and be thyself our Prince of peace. Rejoice! Rejoice Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

From USCCB, Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers (Washington, D.C., 2007), 73-75.

Check out Tony’s reflection on the meaning of the Advent Wreath here.

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