Advent is par excellence the time of hope, a time in which we, believers in Christ, nourished by prayer, are invited to remain vigilant and active expectation. The liturgical celebrations repeat and assure us the coming of God: God comes to permeate every aspect of our lives. He comes to every being and stirs the heart of those who may have closed their doors to hope. We are challenged to be vigilant of God’s concrete and continuous invitation to those who long for Christian joy, serenity and peace! We are invited to look at Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe most holy, and undertake spiritually with her our journey to welcome Christ.
The Archdiocese of Chicago Evangelization initiative, Catholics Come Home, intends to remind to those in despair, God’s words, “Come to Me all those who are burdened… I shall give you comfort”(Mt 11:28). It’s time to return home. But Catholics Come Home is also an intentional invitation to us, practicing Catholics, to open our hearts to be willing to listen to the many stories that will unfold from God’s knocking to those who are struggling and seeking to re-connect with the source of life, hope and truthful joy.
Here are three specific archdiocesan evangelization initiatives starting up during Advent:
- We will bring a message of hope through the media in Spanish, Polish and English: 1000 TV ads, YouTube weekly advent reflections and testimonies through Catholics Come Home.
- Midnight celebration at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12; This year, many agencies in the Archdiocese of Chicago join efforts to provide shelter, warm coffee and the opportunity for reconciliation to thousands of pilgrims who gather yearly at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines.
- “Las Posadas” at Holy Name Cathedral on December 19. This devotion depicts St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary asking for lodging, shelter, and protection during the time of the census by the Roman Empire. They were rejected and most likely hurt by the lack of hospitality of others. Despite the rejection of many, they didn’t give up. They knew that they had a place. Their profound surrender and trust allowed them to fulfill God’s promises to humanity.
Let’s contemplate with Mary God’s coming to fill our hearts with His gifts. Let’s make the concrete and intentional pastoral approach to celebrate nuestra morenita on Sunday, December 12, stressing, creatively, the importance of Mary’s humble role in bringing the luminous mystery of Christ to the ever-needy world. If you need more information, or resources on how to make your parish more invitational, welcoming or accompanying, visit us at www.catholicscomehomechicago.org