The Christmas season is a time for holiday cheer, friends and family. As Catholic Christians, we have a unique way of celebrating Jesus, Who is the reason for our season. 


  • Confession before Christmas is encouraged in Catholicism to purify the soul and embrace the spiritual renewal symbolized by Jesus’ birth. “Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession there is a chance for mercy.” -St. Isidore of Seville
  • Attend Rorate Mass, a traditional Catholic Advent service celebrated before dawn, focusing on the anticipation of Christ’s birth, often lit only by candlelight. See the schedule here.
  • End your Sunday with Compline. Compline is the final prayer service in the Liturgy of the Hours, traditionally observed before bedtime to seek peace and protection through psalms, prayers, and reflections. See the schedule here.
  • Spend time before our Lord present in the Eucharist in the Christ the King Adoration Chapel. Learn more.
  • Pray the St Andrew’s Christmas Novena 15 times a day from 30 November until Christmas.
  • Visit the Advent Market on Saturday, 2 December where The Great Nativity will be unveiled and will remain open for visitors through the Christmas season. Learn more.
  • Bring your Christ child figurine for a Blessing of the Bambinelli at all Sunday Mass times on 3 December. This tradition was first instituted by St. John Paul II! Each year, the children of Rome are encouraged to bring the baby Jesus (Bambinelli) from each of their Nativity sets to St. Peter’s Square. Following the Sunday Angelus address, the Pope blesses the figurines. This Advent tradition is a way for children to connect their Nativity scene at home to the celebration of Christmas at their church.
  • Put up a Nativity Scene. In Advent, the three wisemen should be stationed far away from the central figures of Mary and Joseph. And the Baby Jesus too should not be displayed yet. As Advent unfolds, day by day have someone – ideally a small child – in your family move the wisemen closer to the Holy Family. On Christmas Eve, put the Baby Jesus in the manger and say the traditional family prayer to bless the Nativity scene. Keep advancing the wisemen until 6 January, the Feast of the Epiphany, when they finally arrive to adore the newborn King. Children should know the difference between Christmas and the Epiphany and understand the 12 Days of Christmas are those between the two feasts – not the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
  • The Jesse Tree is a traditional Advent practice in Catholicism. It involves displaying a tree or a branch decorated with symbols or ornaments representing biblical stories and figures from Jesus’ genealogy. Each day leading up to Christmas, a new ornament or symbol is added, recounting the lineage of Jesus through Jesse, the father of King David. It serves as a visual and devotional way to reflect on the anticipation and preparation for the birth of Jesus while connecting to the broader narrative of salvation history. Learn more and get the graphics. Or, here’s a coloring book for young children.
  • Read Fr Smith’s recommended Advent Reading, which he explains caveats about in his pastoral letter here.
  • Check out these family-friendly ideas on how to celebrate Advent in your home from our Catholic Identity Committee of the parish school.
  • Celebrate the saints with feast days during Advent, especially St Nicholas on 6 December (here’s how), St Lucy on 13 December (here’s how) and St Martin (here’s how).
  • Fasting helps prepare us to celebrate the one Holy Day of Obligation during Advent: The Immaculate Conception on Friday, 8 December.  For those not already fasting throughout Advent, 7 December is an ideal day to fast (on years when it does not fall on a Sunday). Mass times are 7a, 8.30a, 12p (Latin) and 7p. 
  • Ember Days are set aside to pray and offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God’s blessings. If you are in good health, fast on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday immediately following the Feast of St. Lucy on 13 December.
  • The Blessing of Expectant Mothers is on Gaudete Sunday, 17 December, at 10a and 12n Mass.
  • Pray the O Antiphons as part of Vespers on 17-23 December. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. Listen to the O Antiphons chanted here. Or, print this prayer companion for home.
  • Bless your Christmas tree! Here are the prayers to be said on Christmas Eve, which is when your tree should be put up. Use candy canes in your decor – read about the meaning of the sweet treat here.

ChristMASS Schedule

  • Get ready for back-to-back Fourth Sunday of Advent & Christmas Masses this year! The Fourth Sunday of Advent is Sunday, 24 December. Christmas follows the next day. Both are days of obligation. Therefore, we have two obligations to fulfill – we must go to two distinct Masses. For the purposes of fulfilling one’s obligation, the hymns, readings, prayers, or vestment color of the Mass have no bearing. The obligation is to attend any Mass within the timeframe allowed.
    • To fulfill one’s Sunday or Holy Day obligation, one may do so by attending any Mass between 4p the evening before and 11:59pm of the day itself. That means, for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, you can go to any Mass between 4p on Saturday, 23 December and 11:59p on Sunday, 24 December.
      • 4th Sunday of Advent Mass: Anticipated Mass on Saturday at 5p (English); Sunday at 8a (Low Mass, English), 10a (Sung Mass, English), and 12n (Latin)
    • For Christmas, you can go to any Mass between 4p on Sunday, 24 December 24 and 11:59pm on Monday, 25 December.
      • ChristMass
        • Sunday, 24 December: 4p Family Mass (English) with Children’s Choir, 6p Vigil Mass (English) with Youth Choir; Midnight (Latin) with St Cecilia Choir (music begins at 11.30p)
        • Monday, 25 December: 10a Mass (English)