Meaning of Advent

The Season of Advent Prepares Us as We Reflect on the Real Meaning of Christmas

The word advent means ‘coming’ in Latin. Christians celebrate Advent during the four Sundays and weeks before Christmas to prepare for the coming of Jesus into the world. This preparation helps us remember the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it.

Be Inspired Everyday!

We celebrate Advent to keep on remembering who and where we really are. We forget that we are children of the light, and that we live and move and have our being in the everlasting love that is God. Regardless of our suffering or sorrow, comfort and joy is, as Tennyson wrote, “closer…than breathing and nearer than hands or feet.” No matter how we feel, we are not of the dark but of the light. We are not lost in sin but hidden in God who insists we are good. Read more in Goodness and Light (Orbis Books 2015).

Join us this Advent as we journey from dark to light in discovering our true nature. As we prepare for Christmas, let us reflect on how God invites us, as missionary disciples whether in our home and neighborhood, or in our relationships with those around world, to participate in the grand adventure of love. Together, we can follow the path of the baby born in Bethlehem to become God’s love made human.

O God of surprises
on this First Sunday of Advent,
you remind us to “Be watchful! Be alert!”
as we light our first Advent candle.

Just as you did two thousand years ago,
when your Word became human flesh
in the person of Jesus,
you continue to break into our lives.

As we begin this Advent season
and prepare ourselves to celebrate Christmas,
Give us new eyes and new ears
so that we can be watchful and alert.

Help us to break out of our ruts
of complacency and routine.
Give us courage to venture beyond our comfort zones.
Guide us to encounter your love
in new and exciting ways.

Inspire us to be your face of compassion
to those on the edges of our families,
neighborhoods and in the world
who most need your love
to break into their despair and heal their suffering.
Awaken in us your call
and our response to be your missionary disciples.

We ask this through Jesus,
who is the human face of
your compassion and mercy.


O God of comfort,
on this Second Sunday of Advent,
through the example of Isaiah the prophet,
you remind us of your loving presence in our lives
as we light our second Advent candle.

As did those during the time
when Jesus walked the earth,
we live in fearful times of great uncertainty.
We find ourselves longing for
your promise of old
when “Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill shall be made low;

the rugged land shall be made a plain,
the rough country, a broad valley.”

As we continue our Advent journey to Christmas,
Open our hearts to your comfort,
to knowing your merciful love for us.
Let your love take root in our hearts
to grow strong against any fear and doubt.
Make us bold in being able to share that love
with others, especially those who need it most.
Form us to be your missionary disciples.

We ask this through Jesus,
who experienced your comfort and peace
in troubling times.


O God of joy,
on this Third Sunday of Advent,
through the example of St. John the Baptist,
we light our pink candle of joy
knowing that you liberate us from all oppression.

In our lives we have faced
challenges and struggles.
Around the world,
we see our sisters and brothers suffer.
Yet we know that Jesus came to
“bring glad tidings to the poor,
to heal the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives
and release to the prisoners,
to announce a year of favor from the Lord.”

Teach us that it is better to a light candle
than curse the darkness.
Help us to be your spark of joy
to bring light and hope
to all who need your love
to lift them from their suffering and oppression.
Make us your missionary disciples.

We ask this through Jesus
who knew what it meant
to share the joy of your love
in the midst of darkness.


O God of incarnate love,
on this Fourth Sunday of Advent,
through the example our Mother Mary
who said “Yes” to the angel Gabriel
we light our final Advent candle.

When in your mission of love
you decided to become one of us
you asked Mary to be the mother of Jesus
so that your love could be in human form.

From baptism, you ask the same of each of us,
to make your love take human form
in our lives, in our families, with our neighbors

and in the world.
This year as we celebrate Christmas,
we say “Yes” to you and your invitation
to be your arms and legs, hands and feet.

Send your joyful blessing to us
as we gather tonight and tomorrow
to remember and celebrate the greatest gift
of your love made human.
And with that Joy in our hearts
send us out as your missionary disciples
to bring love, joy and peace to the world.

We ask this through Jesus
whose birth we celebrate,
As we join all the angels, in saying,
Glory to God in the Highest!


Journey with us each day of Advent…
Remember as a child the joy and wonder you experienced each day during Advent when you opened the doors to your Advent Calendar, counting down the days to Christmas, and finding your surprise?

This Advent, find the surprise of opening the day with inspiration not found behind the doors of an Advent Calendar but on Maryknoll’s Facebook page. Join us each day as we discover the amazing gift of God’s love. Discover a daily example of someone who truly lived the Advent Journey. Ponder, reflect and pray with us as we prepare ourselves to celebrate Christmas joy as missionary disciples who bring God’s love to our lives, the lives of others, and our world. Please join us on our Facebook Page.

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The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America, Inc.) is a tax exempt non-profit organization incorporated in the State of New York. Tax ID # 13-1740144.


We are a Catholic Society of priests and brothers based in the United States. We are dedicated to missionary work overseas in over 20 countries. Additionally, we animate Catholics in the United States to follow their own baptismal call to share God’s compassion and love with the poor, the sick, and all those in need.


L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Fr. Lance P. Nadeau, Fr. James M. Lynch, Fr. Timothy O. Kilkelly, Fr. Juan Montes Zúñiga)

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers is overseen by our General Council, led by Superior General Rev. Lance P. Nadeau, M.M.


L-R Tom O'Brien, Ray Finch, Joe Everson, Russ Feldmeier

(Our Co-Founders Father Price and Father Walsh)





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The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Africa Region will provide tuition assistance to African clergy, male and female religious at institutes of higher education or specialized training. Read More

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The calling of a lifetime

The life of a Maryknoll missioner is challenging, fulfilling, and deeply rewarding. Follow your baptismal call to mission by sharing God’s compassion with the poor, the sick, and people most in need.

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