From the root of Jesse a child will be born

Example of a Jesse Tree

From the root of a very special tree emerges the story of our Lord who becomes human for the sake of all humanity.

The Jesse Tree has helped us to understand the people, prophesies and events from the Old Testament that lead to the birth of Christ. The ancient tradition dates to Medieval times, and is found in art including ornate wooden carvings, stained-glass windows and illuminated manuscripts.

Rorate Caeli Mass evokes feelings of peace, calm in days before birth of Christ

Lisa Johnston | | twitter: @aeternusphoto

Theresa Leisure, a parishioner at St. Gabriel the Archangel, stood in line for Communion at a Rorate Caeli Mass Dec. 21 at Assumption Parish. The candlelight Mass, which drew about 400 people, takes its name from the opening words of the Introit, “Roráte caeli désuper, et nubes pluant iustum.” (“Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just.”)

Amid the last-minute preparations before Christmas, finding quiet time to prepare our hearts for the birth of Christ can be challenging.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, parishes in the archdiocese have been offering that much-needed solace via Masses, prayer services, novenas, reconciliation services -- you name it.

DEAR FATHER | Advent is first in liturgical year as recognition of first moment of Christ’s life

Father John Mayo

Why is Advent considered the beginning of a new liturgical year? 

Calendars bring order and sequence to the events of our lives. Each day, we look to our calendar to see what we are going to do that particular day. We also look ahead to see what will be happening the rest of the week or month. It reminds us about events we may look forward to.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | God helps us find real joy in repentance

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

The readings for the Third Sunday of Advent are filled with joy and hope. Our God is there for us and wants to help us embrace His word so as to enjoy the fruits of His love.

The reading follows an earlier description of God rebuking the proud in their midst. Because God has thus acted, Zion rejoices. "Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! The Lord has removed the judgment against you, He has turned away your enemies. ... The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love."

Repenting our sins helps ‘make ready the way of the Lord’

Bishop Robert J. Hermann

The readings for the Second Sunday in Advent are filled with hope, not because of what man has done or will do, but because of what God will do.

In the first reading, the author has a two-fold message: First, Jerusalem is to take off its robes of mourning and "put on the splendor of glory from God forever;" Second, it is to stand upon the heights and watch God bring back captives from exile in Babylon.

LIGHT IT UP | Create new traditions to usher in the birth of Christ this Advent

Advent calendar, candles for advent wreath.

Advent is a time of preparation that points our hearts and minds to the two comings of Christ: at the end of time and at His birth on Christmas. The word Advent comes from the Latin "advenio," meaning "to come."

For the first several weeks of Advent, the Church focuses on the coming of Christ at the end of time. Toward the latter part of Advent, Dec. 17-24, we focus on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord at Christmas.

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