By Christina Hermoso
More than the physical preparations for Christmas, a Roman Catholic Church leader reminded the faithful of a more important preparation, that is, to be “spiritually prepared” for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ.
As Christendom marks the Second Sunday of Advent today, Borongan, Samar Bishop Crispin Varquez reminded the faithful that “Advent is a time to prepare oneself spiritually for the celebration of Christmas. It is an opportune time to strengthen and to deepen our faith,” he said.
Varquez said, the faithful in the Diocese of Samar will celebrate a most memorable and significant “Simbang Gabi” and Christmas this year.
“The faithful in Eastern Samar are eagerly awaiting the historic return of the Balangiga Bells to the St. Lawrence the Martyr Parish after 117 years. It will be returned to us on Dec. 15, a day before the start of the Misa de Gallo, the nine-day novena masses in preparation for Christmas,” the prelate said.
Celebrated with great anticipation and hope, the traditional theme for the Second Sunday of Advent is God’s Divine Love for Mankind.
2nd purple candle
Today’s Church rites will include the lighting of the candle of peace, the second purple candle in the Advent wreath. Also known as the Bethlehem candle, the second purple candle “serves as a reminder that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and that Jesus is King,” said Church officials. The first purple candle, the symbol of hope, that was lit last Sunday on the First Sunday of Advent, will also be lighted.
According to the Church, the progression in the lighting of the candles symbolizes the various aspects of our waiting experience. As the candles are lighted over the four-week Season of Advent, it mirrors the darkness of fear receding and the shadows of sin falling away as more and more light is shed into the world.
Confessional prayers will be recited during the Eucharistic celebration as part of the period of anticipation and waiting for the Second Coming while preparing for the celebration of the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. Churchgoers are encouraged to go to confession “to welcome the dawning of the Birth of Christ with clean hearts.”