Advent of Great “O Antiphons”

Picture1During Advent we spiritually re-live the hopes and expectations of the Old Testament; awaiting the coming Messiah. Many of the ancient prayers of the season start with the invocation ‘Excita Domine!’ literally “Stir up O Lord”; they are an alarm call to awaken us from the sleep of apathy and indifference; a summons to reform and to focus our lives.

Gaudete Sunday introduces the third week of Advent, and it takes its name from the Latin word Gaudete (“Rejoice”). Rose-coloured vestments on that day may be worn instead of purple, that is why Gaudete Sunday is also known as “Rose Sunday”. The readings on the third Sunday emphasize the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming.

The third week presents to us the Blessed Virgin Mary as the herald of joy and union with God; her life was completely open to God’s grace. She was a worthy temple to receive the Lord and the means through which he became ‘Emmanuel’ (God with us). Mary accepted God’s will in joyful obedience: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” She is the personification of the purpose and goal of Advent: to be united with Christ and become sharers in his divine life. “Come Lord Jesus, Son of Mary come to our hearts, be born in us anew!

Beginning from 17th December the Church invokes her Lord with greater intensity; the Great ‘O’ Antiphons, used in the Evening Prayer of the Church, consist mainly of passages from the scriptures, and express the urgent need of humanity for their Saviour, Jesus Christ. Make them part of your prayer as we approach the feast of our Lord’s birth.

17th December: O WISDOM
Come and teach us the way of truth

18th December: O ADONAI [LORD] and Leader of Israel
Come and save us with your mighty power.

19th December: O STOCK OF JESSE
Come, deliver us and do not delay.

20th December: O KEY OF DAVID and sceptre of Israel
Come to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

21st December: O RISING SUN
Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

22nd December: O KING
Come and save mankind whom you have made of clay.

23rd December: O EMMANUEL
Come and save us, Lord our God.

24th December: Know that today the Lord will come, and in the morning you will see his glory.



Monday 23rd December

Advent Penitential Service @ St Teresa’s, 7.30pm

 Tuesday 24th December (Christmas Eve)

10.00am   The last Mass of Advent

All children are invited to take part in the Toy’s Procession (at the Offertory at all Masses) with gifts from our children for poor children in our area.

5.30pm    Singing of Carols
6.00pm    First Mass of Christmas
with special invitation to Children dressed up as Angels, Shepherds, Wise Men, Mary, Joseph, etc.

11.30pm    Singing of Carols
12.00am    Midnight Mass at St Teresa’s

Wednesday 25th December (Christmas Day)

  8.00am  Mass

  9.15am  Mass at St Ambrose, Wye

10.30am  Solemn Mass of Christmas

12.30pm  Mass in Polish

Thursday 26th December (St Stephens Day)

10.00am  Mass

12.00am  Mass in Polish



Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum…

AdventIn the hustle and bustle of the secular Christmas season, the Catholic Church calls us to prepare our hearts through Advent for Christ’s coming. It is a time to enter into the silence and hope of waiting. Advent is rich in spiritual truths. Christmas trees, lights and decorations seem to show up in stores earlier and earlier. It can be difficult enter into Advent, but a well observed Advent will deepen our joy at Christmas. Advent invites us to pause in silence to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are hints that God is giving us, signs of the attention he has for each one of us. Pope Benedict XVI said in one of his homilies, “Advent is a time to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas, but also in waiting in alertness for the Second Coming of Our Lord. Advent is a time to look at ourselves and ask if we are truly prepared in heart and mind for the Incarnation. If Christ came again in glory today, would I be ready? Am I a saint?” So now is a good time to make a plan for living Advent fully. But how?

Dec 17 St tersa 018

Prayer is an essential part of the spiritual life. It can also be the hardest part of the spiritual life. Thankfully, the catechism reminds us that “prayer is a battle” (CCC 2725). This is a reminder that we are called to persevere, not be perfect in prayer. God will perfect us through our discipline and faithfulness. We must spend regular time in prayer throughout our day. The next few weeks will be full of parties, events, and requirements. If we allow our calendar to control us, then our prayer life will suffer and we will not have the disposition necessary for a deep joy and charity when the Christmas season actually begins, which is at Christmas Eve Mass.

AdventUse Advent to offer your day to God when you get out of bed. Prayer has to be established through habit, just like virtuous living. Make a plan now for prayer time during Advent.

At St Teresa’s beginning from the first week of Advent there will be more opportunities for Confessions from Monday to Friday at 9.30am; special Candlelight Rorate Masses on Fridays (6th, 13th, 20th December) at 7.30pm where we will focus on St Bernard’s teaching about three Advents; Scriptural reflection with Lection Divina on Tuesdays (3rd, 10th, 17th December) at 7.00pm; Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Fridays after Mass until 12noon; and Parish Reconciliation Service on Monday 23rd December at 7.30pm.

Let us use these great opportunities to deepen our faith and let us ask God to guide us more deeply into the beauty of Advent.


Do you want a Mass to be offered? can be celebrated for deceased members of family or friends, thanksgiving, anniversaries, vocations, for the sick and for any particular need.  If you would like a Mass said please fill in the Mass envelope at the back of Church and give it to a priest or drop it into the Parish Office. You can also contact the Parish Office directly on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9am to 2pm. is also an old tradition of Gregorian Masses. Gregorian Masses are a series of Holy Masses traditionally offered on 30 consecutive days as soon as possible after a person’s death. They are offered for an individual soul.  The custom of offering Gregorian Masses for a particular soul recognises that few people are immediately ready for heaven after death, and that, through the infinite intercessory power of Christ’s sacrifice, made present in Holy Mass, a soul can be continually perfected in grace and enabled to enter finally into the union with the Most Holy Trinity – our God, Who is Love Itself.

History of Gregorian Masses. Masses take their name from Saint Gregory the Great, who was sovereign Pontiff from 590 to 604. St. Gregory the Great contributed to the spread of the pious practice of having these Masses celebrated for the deliverance of the souls from purgatory. In his Dialogues, he tells us that he had Masses on thirty consecutive days offered for the repose of the soul of Justus, a monk who had died in the convent of St. Andrew in Rome. At the end of the thirtieth Mass, the deceased appeared to one of his fellow monks and announced that he had been delivered from the flames of Purgatory.


LAST UPDATE: 14th December 2019

TIME TO REFLECT THIS ADVENT:  Advent is a very special season of the year – and yet it can sometimes pass us by, because we’re so busy preparing for Christmas. For the past couple of years, our diocesan Spirituality Commission has produced a series of short daily emails, to help us focus on the true meaning of Advent. These have been very well received, to sign up, please visit

AT ST TERESA’S IN ADVENT there will be more opportunities for Confessions from Monday to Friday at 9.30am; special Candlelight Rorate Masses on Fridays (6th, 13th, 20th December) at 7.30pm where we will focus on St Bernard’s teaching about three Advents; Scriptural reflection with Lection Divina on Tuesdays (3rd, 10th, 17th December) at 7.00pm; Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Fridays after Mass until 12noon; and Parish Reconciliation Service on Monday 23rd December at 7.30pm.

CRIB OFFERING The crib offering this year will go to Southwark Crisis Fund. Every single penny donated to this fund is used exclusively within Southwark Archdiocese and is given out via emergency grants to support local children and families. Our Archbishop John Wilson is the Vice President of this charity.

BBC R4 BROADCAST Midnight Mass will be broadcast live from St George’s Cathedral on BBC Radio 4 at 11.30 pm on Christmas Eve. The service will be celebrated by Archbishop John Wilson and sung by the combined Choirs of St George’s Cathedral and the Cathedral Consort.

MALAYAM MASS Sunday 20th December at 5.30pm in St Teresa’s Church. All welcome.

CAROL SERVICE on Monday 16th December 6.00 pm at William Harvey Hospital- meet in front Lobby outside Chapel. All Parishioners very welcome.

CHRISTMAS PARTY in St. Simons Church Hall on 22nd December from 5.00pm to 10.00pm.There will be food and drinks, music, dance and games. Tickets available after Mass, family tickets and individual tickets. Thank you for your support.

BEREAVEMENT GROUP Have you suffered a bereavement recently or in the past? We are starting a new Bereavement group holding regular monthly meetings on alternate Fridays and Mondays.  If you feel you would benefit from meeting others to share company and conversation over a cup of tea, please come along.  Meeting will be in the church hall on Monday 6th January from 11.00am–1.00pm. We look forward to seeing you.

REPOSITORY SHOP There are many Christmas items for sale in the shop: Cards, Nativity sets, Diaries, Advent Calendars, Candles etc. Please pop in after all Masses and take a look.

STARTING SCHOOL in September 2020? Will your child be 4 before the end of August 2020? Was your child born between 01/09/2015 and 31/08/16? If yes, then you will need to register your child for a school place before January 15th 2019. You can do this online at St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School is a family centred, friendly school for St Teresa’s parish and the wider Ashford area. If you wish your child to attend, you can find full information about admission to the school at You will need to download and fill in a Supplementary Information Form, which can be found under the Key Information tab. This form should be returned to the school office. If you have any queries or would like to arrange a visit, please phone the school office 01233 622797