At the beginning of the liturgy, the first three 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 how even the systems, the structures and the unfolding of history that shape and govern our lives can embody and deepen the sinful harm that crucifies so many communities, families, individuals….   Acknowledging and praying that God’s loving grace and action in history will transform this structural sin and bring liberating good news to the suffering and poor, to us all….  [quiet pause]

Our Loving, powerful God, You are revealing to us through this pandemic the systemic racism, sexism, and structural impoverishment that have wounded and devastated so many of our brothers and sisters while serving and rewarding so many others of us through the centuries, up to this very day.

In every more-destructive storm, fire, flood, and drought, You are revealing to us the effects of the greed and abusive spirit of domination enshrined in the structures and systems by which we have chosen to live and respond on Earth to the rich gifts of Your creation.

In every outbreak of violence and war, You reveal to us our disregard for Your one great command, that we love You and one another in the human family, in the family of creation with all of our being.

Second Voice:           Still our scriptures today affirm a vision of hope, assuring us that “through all generations,” through the long unfolding struggles of history, You are working to bring to birth Your New Creation, to guide us all into the ways of Your liberating justice, solidarity, and love.

[Acolyte takes the flame from the Paschal candle and proceeds to the Advent Wreath.]

As we light our fourth Advent Candle, we pray for the light to see and respond to Your work in our societies, in this historical period:  Help us to recognize and embrace Your efforts to birth the Christ in greater justice and more profound peace:

in systems and structures of inclusion that overcome all types of slavery and oppression…

in new forms of Jubilee justice that share the gifts of Your creation generously with all…

in global institutions and ways of sustainable living and loving care for all creation….

We pray too for our Dominican Sisters and Brothers in Ukraine as they take part in the International Peace Conference and other global cooperative efforts, struggling to see opportunities for interstate and intercultural ties between Ukraine and Russia, opportunities that You may be opening up to “create in the wilderness a highway” for Your peace and solidarity.

Bless us all with the desire and the prophetic strength to join our sister, Mary, in welcoming and accepting Your invitation to bring forth and nurture the Peacemaking life of the Prince of Peace in our time.

[The fourth 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:

O Loving God, God of all history, God of all nations and peoples, God here in our midst, God of mystery,

You disclose the secret hidden for countless ages, that You are at work for our liberation and fuller life.  For You we wait, for You we listen.

Upon hearing Your voice and seeing You at work in our history, may we, like Mary, embrace Your will and become a dwelling fit for Your Word.

Grant this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near:  Your Son, our Lord Jesus the 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.