At the beginning of the liturgy, the first two Advent candles are lit.
Entrance and Advent Wreath Ceremony Following the opening hymn and greeting:
Celebrant: As we come together today to continue our Advent journey, let’s enter into the quiet of our spirits… acknowledging the deep divisions that wound our nation… that wound and scar Ukraine and so many nations and communities around the world… Praying to be Peacemakers for our times in the Spirit of Jesus, our Prince of Peace…. [quiet pause]
Our Loving God, we thank you for revealing to us in Jesus Your vision of peace and the Way to Your peace. With the lighting of the first two Advent candles, we embraced again our mission to be peacemakers in Christ and prayed for light to see the opportunities for gentle healing that You place before us.
Through our scriptures today, You invite us deeper into the mission that Jesus recognized as his own. We too, in the words of Isaiah, have been anointed and sent to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives. It is a mission of Jubilee hope to the marginalized, the broken-hearted and those most in need of healing and liberation. It is a mission of restoration, rebuilding a community of love, sharing, and justice in our painfully divided communities, preparing the Way for the coming of Christ’s peace.
Second Voice: As we unite ourselves in the Holy Spirit with our Dominican sisters and brothers in Ukraine, we rejoice in the ways they too have recognized their call to build a Jubilee peace in the Spirit of Christ. We celebrate the ways they have labored to develop formation programs for lay ministers and Christian leaders from the communities suffering in the conflict zones, communities of so many poor, wounded, broken-hearted – captives of the violence destroying their communities.
We rejoice at their trainings in the scriptures and faith formation, in Jubilee visions of hope, Catholic social justice, and the skills needed to heal trauma and facilitate reconciliation.
[Acolyte takes the flame from the Paschal candle and proceeds to the Advent Wreath.]
As we light our third Advent Candle, we pray that we and they may be successful in preparing the Way for Christ to bring the Light of Truth and the warmth of Love and Reconciliation. We pray that profound joy may rise within us all as we share in Christ’s mission of peace, joy flowing from the deep conviction that God Who calls us to this mission is faithful.
[The third candle is lit as we sing the Kyrie.]
Celebrant: May almighty God have mercy on our sisters and brothers in Ukraine and on us, forgive us all our sins, and bring us together to the fullness of life in peace. Amen
Celebrant: And we continue our prayer: [ICEL text 1998]
O Loving God, most high and most near,
You send glad tidings to the lowly, You hide not your face from the poor; those who dwell in darkness You call into the light.
Take away our blindness, remove the hardness of our hearts, and form us into a humble people,
that, at the advent of your Son, we may recognize him in our midst and find joy in his saving presence.
We ask this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near:
Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
James E. Hug, S.J.