Sunday, December 16, 2012

An Advent Prayer Service for a Spirit-Filled Christmas Celebration.

I have prepared here a service during advent for a gathering of family and friends. This is not my own but I compiled it from 3 sources that I would indicate below.


Leader: We begin our prayer…In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

All: Amen.

In these four weeks of Advent each year, we are reminded that we are called to be a people living in joyful hope, waiting for the time when Christ will come again in glory. The Scriptures we hear during these weeks remind us that we are to be ready for Christ whenever he comes, for we know not the day or the hour. We have gathered here together now, to think about our lives and our commitment to living in joyful hope, waiting for Christ. We will spend some time listening to God’s word in Scripture, a word that calls us to renewal, to forgiveness, and to peace.

As we now light our wreath in the middle of this, the darkest time of the year, we, as a church, a family, light candles reminding us that, in the darkest of nights, Christ is our light, a light no darkness can overcome. At the same time, when we focus on the evergreen wreath, let us be reminded that God is ever present to us, even in the midst of death.

In this spirit of hopefulness and trust, we say this pray together:-

All: O God our Father, we are waiting for your Son to come to us. Help us to see him when he comes to us in the words of the Scripture, in the love of our families, and in the daily events of our work, studies and recreation. Amen.

(Someone lights the advent candle while a hymn is sung)

Let us pray together our opening prayer.

All: God of Love,
Your son, Jesus, is your greatest gift to us.
He is a sign of your love.
Help us walk in that love during the weeks of Advent,
As we wait and prepare for his coming.
We pray in the name of Jesus, our Savior.

 Isaiah 40:3–5
A reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah:

A voice is shouting:
Clear a path in the desert for the Lord.
Build a straight road there for our God.
Fill in the valleys and flatten the mountains and hills.
Level the rough and rugged ground.
Then the glory of the Lord will appear for all to see.
The Lord has promised this!

The Word of the Lord.


·    John the Baptist told the people to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. They heard the Good News and responded. It might be easier for us to respond if John the Baptist were alive preaching today. Of course, he isn’t, but there are people like John who tell us about Jesus. Who are those people in your life? Take a moment now to talk with your family about the answer to that question.

·         What are some ways we respond to God’s invitation to live as Jesus did? Talk with your family about the things that you do to help others and show your love.

 Prayers of Petition

Leader: Sometimes one of the most challenging things for us to do is to learn to find God in our lives every day. Let us pray that Jesus will come more deeply into our lives and that we will be aware of his presence.

Our response is: Come, Lord Jesus!

Reader: Into our lives, we pray . . .
All: Come, Lord Jesus!

Reader: Into our troubled world, we pray . . .
All: Come, Lord Jesus!

Reader: Into our baking, shopping, and gift wrapping, we pray . . .
All: Come, Lord Jesus!

Reader: Into our hearts as we care for those in need, we pray . . .
All: Come, Lord Jesus!

Reader: Into our homes, we pray . . .
All: Come, Lord Jesus!

Leader: Let us pray together the Hail Mary.

Leader: Let us pray offer each other the Sign of Peace.

Leader: May the Lord bless us, keep us from all evil and bring us to eternal life.
(all make the sign of the cross)              
All: Amen

Leader: Let us praise the Lord.
All: Thanks be to God.

Closing Hymn 

1.Intergenerational Event—Advent, Loyola Press.
3. Oliver Crilly, Penitential Services, Twenty-Third Publications, Connecticut.

Monday, December 03, 2012

My letter to St. Francis Xavier.

Dear St. Francis Xavier, I would like to thank you for bringing Christianity to Malaysia. And I am very blessed indeed to be actually serving now in the very state that you visited which is in my diocese of Malacca-Johore. Every year we have your Feast Day Mass at the site where your body lay for 9 months while waiting to be transferred to Goa, India with people coming in thousands from all over Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and even from Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. Though the site has been ruined during the war, the government tried to save the site and has named it a ‘Heritage Site’. We have many tourists including local Muslims coming to visit the site every day. I believe and hope that when they read about you and the life you have witnessed, they will be inspired by your zeal for preaching Christ and would want to know more of the Christ you preached.

I have three questions for you dear Saint. You are from a very rich family; you had everything including servants to look after your needs. My first question is how were you able to leave all these luxuries and a comfortable lifestyle to follow Christ and be his missionary? In another word, what was the zeal (or turning point) for wanting to preach Christ to all peoples?

Malacca was your stop-over for the various destinations you had traveled. And during your short stay at Malacca each time you came, you had some unique experiences such as the time when you faced a fierce storm and lost your precious cross and you found it later on the shore presumable that a crab was holding on to it only to give it back to you. I believe you had also many encounters with many different people from various countries coming to Malacca to do some trading and it is there you met Yajiro (Anjigo) and became his friend and your first Japanese convert who opened the door for your mission trip to Japan. So now it seems Malacca has a special meaning for you and for the Malaysians. My second question is; do you have any particular story for the Malaccans about their pioneers of the Christian faith?

Dear Saint, the church, recognizing your works and life for Jesus Christ, canonized you a Saint in the year 1622 and made you a Patron of the Missions.  Reflecting on your life, I can come to a conclusion that you feel you do not deserve this recognition. But it is important for us here living now. Through the proclamation that you are a Saint, invites each one of us to be like you, a worker in the Lord’s vineyard, and a missionary for the Lord of the Harvest. My third question is; what is your advice to all of us who is taking up missions in the various fields in the life of the Church especially priests and seminarians in this current era?

Once again, I would like to thank you for all the sacrifices and your missionary work especially in Asia and in particular in Malacca, Malaysia. You are indeed ‘a good and faithful servant’ and I know you are ‘sharing in your master’s joy’ (Matthew 25:21). I ask you to pray for me that I too may be faithful to my calling and be a missionary like you in the Master’s vineyard.

Yours sincerely,
Adrian Francis Mathews.