Annunciation pastor provides tips for Advent season
As Advent approaches, Father Todd Grogan encourages all Catholics “to go to Joseph.”
Father Grogan, pastor of Annunciation Parish in Clifton, said “Mary always figures prominently in the prayer, the Masses, the readings at Advent. But, she was not the only one waiting. Joseph was in on it, too, and we hear so little about him or from him.
“In some circles, Joseph is held up as the patron of the interior life … because he had the capacity to receive the message, give it serious thought and consideration, and then slowly respond to it over the course of time.
“I know several young people who have a very strong devotion to Joseph I have been trying to encourage. One of them actually wrote a beautiful prayer to St. Joseph. Nativity Parish put out Holy Cards using the prayer that (Mount St. Mary’s) seminarian Martin Arlinghaus wrote:
“As I understand it,” Father Grogan said, “Marty based the first part on the Gospel (Matthew) from Mass for the Solemnity of St. Joseph; the second part is inspired by the efforts at evangelization of the University of Cincinnati Society of the Saint Paul; the third part is from imagery in my homily on the Solemnity of St. Joseph a couple of years ago.
“So, go to Joseph!”
There are other ways devout Catholics can welcome the Advent season.
“My first thought is returning to the Scriptures and specifically reading the Scriptures as the Church reads them,” Father Grogan explained. “That means turning to the lectionary… and there is something about the weekday readings that often strike me. I’m not quite sure if they were put together or came down through the ages as tightly as the Lenten readings… but there’s something about Advent that often seems somewhat instructional to me.
“For example, the Monday of the first week of Advent there is the story of the centurion who gives up the expression: ‘Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof.’ If that is not a clear premonition of sacramental Communion I don’t know what is. We use that line at the Communion invitation.
“On Tuesday of the first week of Advent is the Isaiah reading and I think of Confirmation. That’s the sevenfold gift of the Spirit that is in the confirmation prayer. Later in the week … there is a passage about the blind man — the healing of the blind man that is illumination — the early word of the church for baptism.
“As we enter into Advent, the church, through the lectionary, is asking us in some way to be renewed in our understanding, appreciation and living of the sacraments. And, then it continues into Monday of the second week. There is a reading of the paralytic. It’s back and forth about saying your sins are forgiven and everyone saying, ‘Who is this who forgives sins’ and (Christ) comes back, …to prove … authority.. and gives him the physical healing and then there is the assurance that his sins be forgiven. Here, we have some insight into the sacraments of anointing of the sick and reconciliation.
“So the Advent season time and time again takes us and draws us into a deeper scriptural reflection on the meaning of the sacraments. A good advent practice I would suggest is to read the Scriptures.”
Attending daily Mass during Advent is encouraged, but many are busy with jobs and families and other life challenges. “If you’re really serious about it, you can say, ‘Okay I’m going to allot 10 minutes of my day to find the passage that was assigned for today’s Mass.’ Whether I read it or listen to it, there is something in there for everyone who can’t get to daily Mass,” Father Grogan said.
Finally there is the traditional Advent wreath. “Procure one or make one,” Father Grogan said. “I remember that growing up. Even if it’s just for a brief prayer at the start of the meal to light the candles, say the prayer, and maybe even read a section of the day’s Gospel for Mass. Set aside time for the family to be together for a family rosary, especially the joyful ministries which are about the Annunciation and the Visitation and the Incarnation.”
Pray for me and help me, St. Joseph
to listen attentively, to hear faithfully,
to respond generously, to obey humbly,
to act promptly, to follow courageously,
to love chastely, to take the Virgin and Child
under my roof, and there to cherish and nurture
the life of Christ in me
until He is come to full stature.
Pray for me, and help me, St. Joseph,
to work diligently for the coming of the Kingdom of God,
whether I am remembered for what I do and say or not,
only that I may be doing His will,
and in that find my true joy.
Teach me, St. Joseph, in your workshop,
as you did the Lord Jesus,
to embrace the wood of the cross,
and stretch myself out on it
in union with His sacrifice
for the salvation of the world,
and for my own happy death,
to the glory of the Resurrection.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.