The Liturgical Calendar starts anew with the beginning of our Advent Season, and the Church gives us the gift of celebrating the feast days of many holy men and women during these days of preparation. The saints journey with us and inspire us to reach the ultimate goal—eternity with God.
“We sometimes forget that Advent is the New Year for us Christians and it is an absolutely perfect time … to resolve to do better, to start again, to be committed to those small acts of love and a perfect time to begin again to recommit our friendships with the saints,” said Father John Paul Erickson of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
These great saints will help us on our journey of preparation, if we let them. “We Christians need to rely on the saints. We need to unlock their power, which is a power of communion. They have said ‘yes’ to Jesus in all things and they encourage us to do the same thing, even as we are striving to be where they are at,” explained Fr. Erickson.
When we think about saints in Advent, St. Nicholas, the saintly inspiration for Santa Claus, comes to mind. Many Catholic families put out stockings or shoes on the eve of St. Nick’s December 6 feast day. But Fr. Erickson says that the most important figure is our Blessed Mother. Her Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (usually on Dec 8, but celebrated on Dec 9 in 2019) is the most important of the Advent days. In fact, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the patroness of the United States.
Mary is the perfect figure to guide us through Advent. “Our Mother Mary could not be more central to the mystery of Advent—of waiting, hoping, trusting. This great Queen of the Saints spurs us on to walk towards that great Bethlehem of Heaven to which we are all called, by praying for us, holding our hand, encouraging us, and by being with us in moments of difficulty and moments of great joy,” said Fr. Erickson.
Other well-known saints whose feast days fall during Advent this year are St Francis Xavier (Dec 3), St. Ambrose (Dec 7), St. Juan Diego (Dec 9), Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12), St. Lucy (Dec 13), St. John of the Cross (Dec 14), and more! As you prepare for the birth of the Lord, take time to deepen your friendship with the saints and allow them to accompany you on your faith journey.