Advent Wreath

Hello,

I have a couple questions regarding the Advent Wreath displayed at a Catholic Church:

Is the wreath and candles normally blessed at all the Masses on the First Sunday of Advent. If the church has 3 regular Sunday Masses (eg. Saturday Vigil Mass at 5:00 p.m., and two Sunday Masses - one at 9:00a.m. and one at 11:30a.m.), would the Advent Wreath be blessed at all three Masses or just one? Which one? What does your church do?

[quote="grandeorgue, post:1, topic:177437"]
Hello,

I have a couple questions regarding the Advent Wreath displayed at a Catholic Church:

Is the wreath and candles normally blessed at all the Masses on the First Sunday of Advent. If the church has 3 regular Sunday Masses (eg. Saturday Vigil Mass at 5:00 p.m., and two Sunday Masses - one at 9:00a.m. and one at 11:30a.m.), would the Advent Wreath be blessed at all three Masses or just one? Which one? What does your church do?

[/quote]

The Advent wreath should be blessed at ALL Sunday Mass (including Saturday Vigil). My church does it at every Mass as well.

From the Book of Blessings for the USA:

"1509. ... The blessing of an Advent Wreath takes place on the First Sunday of Advent or on the evening before the First Sunday of Advent. The blessing may be celebrated during Mass, a celebration of the word of God, or Evening Prayer."
(Book of Blessings, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1875-8, page 573.

None of the above. We don’t use an advent wreath.

[quote="grandeorgue, post:1, topic:177437"]
Hello,

I have a couple questions regarding the Advent Wreath displayed at a Catholic Church:

Is the wreath and candles normally blessed at all the Masses on the First Sunday of Advent. If the church has 3 regular Sunday Masses (eg. Saturday Vigil Mass at 5:00 p.m., and two Sunday Masses - one at 9:00a.m. and one at 11:30a.m.), would the Advent Wreath be blessed at all three Masses or just one? Which one? What does your church do?

[/quote]

Actually, an Advent Wreath only needs to be blessed once, but there is nothing stopping a priest from blessing it at all Masses. It is not exactly a sacramental, but a symbol of the Advent season. The blessing should take place on the first Sunday of Advent. It is not necessary to bless the wreath on each Sunday of Advent.

Don't sweat the small stuff!

[quote="John_Lilburne, post:3, topic:177437"]
From the Book of Blessings for the USA:

"1509. ... The blessing of an Advent Wreath takes place on the First Sunday of Advent or on the evening before the First Sunday of Advent. The blessing may be celebrated during Mass, a celebration of the word of God, or Evening Prayer."
(Book of Blessings, Liturgical Press, Minnesota, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1875-8, page 573.

[/quote]

The liturgical book of Blessing in Canada echos the same with the Advent Wreath being blessed with holy water on the First Sunday of Advent.

It's strange though when you see "some" priests in this ultra-modern age fore-go Church traditions of the past with whimsical preferences. For instance my priest uses white candles instead of the traditional three purple candles and one pink candle signifying Gaudete Sunday ("the third Sunday of Advent") newadvent.org/cathen/06394b.htm
To each their own I guess, or perhaps white candles on the Advent wreath are liturgically allowable?

Actually yes, white candles can be used in place of purple/rose. At least the US version of the BB states this–I don’t know about the Canadian printing.

Interrestingly enough, the advent wreath itself is a protestant (specifically Lutheran and the more “liturgical” leaning sects) practice only recently borrowed by Catholics. They only started appearing in Catholic churches in the 1970s.

[quote="FrDavid96, post:7, topic:177437"]
Actually yes, white candles can be used in place of purple/rose. At least the US version of the BB states this--I don't know about the Canadian printing.

Interestingly enough, the advent wreath itself is a protestant (specifically Lutheran and the more "liturgical" leaning sects) practice only recently borrowed by Catholics. They only started appearing in Catholic churches in the 1970s.

[/quote]

Father; I am appreciative that you brought up this point about the Advent Wreath being a protestant practice which I was completely unaware of.
This only begs to question as to ("how") such a practice got incorporated in the Catholic liturgy in the first place? This reminds me as to how the protestant custom of using bride and groom candles in a Catholic Wedding liturgy. I can appreciate the symbolism behind the use of candles used for Advent or Weddings. What is the position of the Magisterium of the Church on these topics where we see the adoption of protestant practices made acceptable in the Catholic liturgy? What gives? I certainly can't make sense of this.

From Wikipedia

The ring or wheel of evergreens decorated with candles was a symbol in northern Europe long before the arrival of Christianity. The circle symbolized the eternal cycle of the seasons while the evergreens and lighted candles signified the persistence of life in the midst of winter. Some sources suggest the wreath–now reinterpreted as a Christian symbol–was in common use in the Middle Ages, others that it was established in Germany as a Christian custom only in the 16th century, and others that the Advent wreath was not invented until the 19th century. This last theory credits Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808-1881), a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor, as the inventor of the modern Advent wreath. During Advent, children at a mission school founded by Wichern would ask daily if Christmas had arrived. In 1839, he built a large wooden ring (made out of an old cartwheel) with 19 small red and 4 large white candles. A small candle was lit successively every weekday during Advent. On Sundays, a large white candle was lit. The custom gained ground among Protestant churches in Germany and evolved into the smaller wreath with four or five candles known today. Roman Catholics in Germany began to adopt the custom in the 1920s, and in the 1930s it spread to North America[1]. In Medieval times advent was a fast during which people’s thoughts were directed to the expected second coming of Christ; but in modern times it has been seen as the lead up to Christmas, and in that context Advent Wreath serves as a reminder of the approach of the feast.

Because of it’s protestant roots, we have one in the church, but no special blessing.

FAB

[quote="centurionguard, post:8, topic:177437"]
Father; I am appreciative that you brought up this point about the Advent Wreath being a protestant practice which I was completely unaware of.
This only begs to question as to ("how") such a practice got incorporated in the Catholic liturgy in the first place? This reminds me as to how the protestant custom of using bride and groom candles in a Catholic Wedding liturgy. I can appreciate the symbolism behind the use of candles used for Advent or Weddings. What is the position of the Magisterium of the Church on these topics where we see the adoption of protestant practices made acceptable in the Catholic liturgy? What gives? I certainly can't make sense of this.

[/quote]

As to the "how" there's a complicated answer (which I don't know) and a simple one (which I can provide). The simple answer is that it is now in the Book of Blessings. I'm not a fan of that book, but it has been approved by the Church. So Rome did (and still does) approve the use of Advent wreaths in Catholic Churches. Of course, they're entirely optional.

The unity candle is a different issue. It's never been approved, and it's not licit for use in a Catholic wedding ceremony.

The History of the Advent Wreath
Article By FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS Of the Catholic Herald: catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0132.html

A Baptist friend asked me about the Advent wreath — its history, meaning, etc.. I think I gave her a pretty good answer. Perhaps you could provide a little more information.
The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth.

By the Middle Ages, the Christians adapted this tradition and used Advent wreathes as part of their spiritual preparation for Christmas. After all, Christ is “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21). By 1600, both Catholics and Lutherans had more formal practices surrounding the Advent wreath.

The symbolism of the Advent wreath is beautiful. The wreath is made of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even these evergreens have a traditional meaning which can be adapted to our faith: The laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew, immortality; and cedar, strength and healing. Holly also has a special Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, and one English legend tells of how the cross was made of holly. The circle of the wreath, which has no beginning or end, symbolizes the eternity of God, the immortality of the soul, and the everlasting life found in Christ. Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection. All together, the wreath of evergreens depicts the immortality of our soul and the new, everlasting life promised to us through Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, who entered our world becoming true man and who was victorious over sin and death through His own passion, death, and resurrection.....

[edited]

I hope that was reprinted with permission....:shrug:

I do not wish to offend anyone, but having been raised as a Lutheran and converting to Catholicism, I have a perspective on this that hasn't been addressed.

First, we need to realize that Luther was raised, confirmed, and ordained as a Catholic. Despite his split, here was a guy who was a Catholic who had differences with his Church. (Not unlike many people we know today, right?). It also has interested me during my own faith journey that much of what he protested were issues that were addressed by the Church. The Church today would be far more liberal in *most * ways than he ever would have asked -- but then, time flies, doesn't it? (Whether everyone here likes the reforms and changes or not, the Church has indeed changed during the years).

So, to not "like" the advent wreath seems to me a reaction that isn't based on history -- Luther picked up on a practice in his experience (mostly Catholic) and used it as a teaching tool (whose meaning transcends Catholic-Protestant differences) for the season of Advent.

I would add as an academic that Wikipedia isn't necessarily a reliable source. A better source is in the post above mine, showing that the wreath isn't a Protestant invention, but rather a Christian tradition that predates that time.

I have often wished that the devout of all faiths would look at these points that illustrate unity, rather than look for reasons to differ. God bless us all!

[quote="FrDavid96, post:7, topic:177437"]
Actually yes, white candles can be used in place of purple/rose. At least the US version of the BB states this--I don't know about the Canadian printing.

Interrestingly enough, the advent wreath itself is a protestant (specifically Lutheran and the more "liturgical" leaning sects) practice only recently borrowed by Catholics. They only started appearing in Catholic churches in the 1970s.

[/quote]

That is not correct. The Catholic Church in rural Missouri that I attended in the 1950's and 60's had had an advent wreath.

[quote="FrDavid96, post:7, topic:177437"]
Actually yes, white candles can be used in place of purple/rose. At least the US version of the BB states this--I don't know about the Canadian printing.

There's no reference to the colour of the candles in the Canadian "A Book of Blessings". There's also no reference to using the wreath in church.

"A wreath may be used in homes and schools during this season. Each Sunday, another one of the candles is lighted *(lighted??) to mark the steps in our Advent journey.

On the first Sunday of Advent (or on the preceding Saturday evening) the first candle is lighted in silence, and this this blessing is said...

On the other Sundays of Advent, the candles are lighted in silence. A prayer may be said in these or similar words:...

The litany (p.x) may be prayed, and a verse of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" may be sung.*

Interrestingly enough, the advent wreath itself is a protestant (specifically Lutheran and the more "liturgical" leaning sects) practice only recently borrowed by Catholics. They only started appearing in Catholic churches in the 1970s.

[/quote]

[quote="FrDavid96, post:10, topic:177437"]
As to the "how" there's a complicated answer (which I don't know) and a simple one (which I can provide). The simple answer is that it is now in the Book of Blessings. I'm not a fan of that book, but it has been approved by the Church. So Rome did (and still does) approve the use of Advent wreaths in Catholic Churches. Of course, they're entirely optional.

The unity candle is a different issue. It's never been approved, and it's not licit for use in a Catholic wedding ceremony.

[/quote]

I'm a bit confused. Does inclusion in the Book of Blessings necessarily mean that something is OK to use in Church?

Does a Book of Blessings usually have an imprimatur or nihil obstat?

[quote="Phemie, post:16, topic:177437"]
I'm a bit confused. Does inclusion in the Book of Blessings necessarily mean that something is OK to use in Church?

Does a Book of Blessings usually have an imprimatur or nihil obstat?

[/quote]

Not just any 'book of blessings" but the "Book of Blessings" The actual ritual book approved by Rome for universal use in the (Latin sui iuris) Catholic Church.

Each country, of course, has its own approved variations, and apparently the Advent Wreath prayer is unique to the US--since it's not in the Canadian version. It does say that the Advent Wreath can be used in church. Of course, it also contains blessings for things never intended to be taken into church (livestock, for example), so the simple fact that there is a blessing in the book doesn't mean such a thing is intended for use inside the church.

Actually, it does not have an Imprimator or a Nihil Obstat....

....It doesn't need one:D.

It has a Decree from the (then) Congregation for Divine Worship, which makes either of the above unnecessary. It does have a concordat cum originali which certifies that the translation into English is "in accordance" with the (original) Latin.

You bring-up an excellent point, because if one does a search with an online bookstore for keywords "book of blessings" the result will be a huge number of hits. So readers need to keep in mind that not every "book of blessings" is The Book of Blessings.

[quote="FrDavid96, post:17, topic:177437"]
Not just any 'book of blessings" but the "Book of Blessings" The actual ritual book approved by Rome for universal use in the (Latin sui iuris) Catholic Church.

Each country, of course, has its own approved variations, and apparently the Advent Wreath prayer is unique to the US--since it's not in the Canadian version.

The Wreathe prayer is there, it just doesn't mention using it in Church

It does say that the Advent Wreath can be used in church. Of course, it also contains blessings for things never intended to be taken into church (livestock, for example), so the simple fact that there is a blessing in the book doesn't mean such a thing is intended for use inside the church.

Actually, it does not have an Imprimator or a Nihil Obstat....

....It doesn't need one:D.

It has a Decree from the (then) Congregation for Divine Worship, which makes either of the above unnecessary. It does have a concordat cum originali which certifies that the translation into English is "in accordance" with the (original) Latin.

You bring-up an excellent point, because if one does a search with an online bookstore for keywords "book of blessings" the result will be a huge number of hits. So readers need to keep in mind that not every "book of blessings" is The Book of Blessings.

[/quote]

How can you tell? I have "A Book of Blessings" put out by the CCCB. Other than a greeting from a bishop (something that I also find in the Catholic Book of Worship III, Bishop Lahey, no less) is there anything I should look for to tell me if "A Book of Blessings" = "The Book of Blessings"?

[quote="Phemie, post:18, topic:177437"]
How can you tell? I have "A Book of Blessings" put out by the CCCB. Other than a greeting from a bishop (something that I also find in the Catholic Book of Worship III, Bishop Lahey, no less) is there anything I should look for to tell me if "A Book of Blessings" = "The Book of Blessings"?

[/quote]

The Decree from the Congregation for Divine Worship (the old name for the CDWDS) is an integral part of the (yes, the) Book of Blessings, so it should be there on the opening pages. The date of that decree is 31 May 1984 --this refers to the original Latin version, the typical text, and so it is an integral part of any tanslated version which would have its own later decree of approval.

It may very well be that what you have is "a" B of B, and not "the" B of B. Without looking at it I can't tell for certain. I'll check around if I can "look at it" online. The title itself "A Book of Blessings" seems to lean in the direction of not being the official text (nothing wrong with that, mind you).

I was wonderring why you would ask those questions earlier, because they seemed a bit odd. As I said earlier, one can find any number of titles called "a book of blessings" with online retailers, but I didn't think there would be much confusion between these and an official liturgical text of the Church. For example, I've never encountered a problem with someone asking "I have a book called 'A Sacramentary,' is this the Sacramentary? It's usually quite obvious.

Followup
I found "A Book of Blessings" on Amz---.com which is apparently out of print, listing the author as CCB. The date is from 1981. Since the Book of Blessings wasn't approved until 1984, this obviously refers to something else. Prior to that, the book was called "The Roman Ritual," so if the CCB printed a book in 1981 called "A Book of Blessings" they couldn't have anticipated that 3 years later, Rome would change the title of the Roman Ritual to "B of B" (at least I doubt they would have--maybe they had advance notice; but the point is that they could not possibly have printed an 84 text in 81). Still looking

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