By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — St. Paul the Apostle Parish offered an Advent program titled “Creating an Advent Home,” just in time for the season, which begins Nov. 27. The program offered ideas for singles, couples and families to “build an atmosphere as a domestic Church,” said Father Bruce DeRammelaere, the parish’s pastor.
On Nov. 20, parishioners were invited to Denning Hall to choose from a variety of options for each week of Advent, said Madeline Dudziak, director of faith formation. “Each person could find something for their household.” As parishioners entered Denning Hall, Father DeRammelaere presented them with a card featuring an Advent wreath and candles and imprinted with “faith, hope, joy and peace.”
Four tables in the parish hall displayed take-home projects to complete together or individually. Participants received a “flame” sticker on their Advent card after visiting each table and were encouraged to enter the church afterwards to pray. Those who turned in their Advent cards qualified for a gift-card drawing, Father DeRammelaere said.
At one station, Michelle Herrington, director of parish life, shared materials with examples for creating opportunities of joy. Parishioners could choose one night each week to “intentionally create an opportunity for joy and laughter.” They received a family joy plan to take home. Herrington also offered cookies and hot cocoa, “which brings joy to many,” she laughed.
At his peace table, Brett Adams, director of discipleship, talked about ways to create an Advent prayer. Among the options was a fill-in-the-blanks prayer. A core Advent family prayer provided blanks for parishioners to fill in.
Dudziak led the faith table. Parishioners chose from projects featuring straw for baby Jesus, praying the St. Andrew novena or the O Antiphons. The straw project entails performing a good deed and adding straw for that deed to the crèche at home. The St. Andrew Christmas novena and chaplet project featured a kit for making prayer beads and praying the novena. The O Antiphons project featured verses and designs to color to make an ornament.
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School Principal Julie Delaney led the hope station, which featured projects for the Jesse Tree, works of mercy and the O Antiphons. Families could select printed prayer cards and materials to string them together, received ideas for works of mercy, readings for the Jesse Tree and the verses for the O Antiphons.
Carla Heuer and her children, Arlo and Alise, picked up the family prayer at Adams’ peace station. “Prayer helps us feel peaceful,” Carla said. Margie Bleuer, the mother of grown children, attended the event solo. “My kids have scattered. This is nice to get some new traditions to do myself.” She filled out her Advent calendar of joy and said she plans to pray the St. Andrew novena. “I have never head of that before. It’s something extra I plan to do this Advent.”