St. Nicholas

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Annual St. Nicholas Advent Customary

Saint Peter's Episcopal Church, Cazenovia, Central New York

Acolyte lighting Advent wreath
Photo: Catholic Community of Pleasanton, California Permission pending

In the season of Advent, at the beginning of each service, the Girl/Boy Saint Nicholas Bishop dressed in cope and miter and holding a processional orb/staff, proclaims the following—

First Sunday in Advent

Advent Wreath Service — "The Second Coming"

Saint Nicholas Bishop:

Dear friends in Christ, today we begin the season of Advent. It is a time of watching and waiting for the coming of the Lord.
The Advent wreath reminds us of our yearning for God. Its circular shape tells us of God's everlasting love and faithfulness. Its evergreen branches tell us of eternal life and of God's desire for us to live with him forever. The four candles remind us of the passing of time, our human history into which God has entered through his Son, Jesus.
This is a time of grace, a time for a new advent of Jesus into our lives. On this First Sunday of Advent, we focus on the Lord's second coming. Let us heed the Gospel words of Jesus, "Be on guard; be prepared." As we light the first candle on the Advent wreath, may its flame bid us to be always ready for the coming of the Lord.

The acolyte lights one candle on the Advent wreath, while the choir sings an introit.

Saint Nicholas Bishop then says:

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.

All:   Amen.

A modified order of morning prayer and celebration of the Holy Eucharist follows.


Second Sunday in Advent

Advent Wreath Service — "John the Baptist"

Saint Nicholas Bishop:

Dear friends in Christ, on this Second Sunday of Advent, our attention is turned to the great figure of John the Baptist. John calls us out to the desert, proclaiming a time of repentance and renewal, for the day of the Lord is at hand.
As we light two candles on the Advent wreath, let us prepare ourselves through prayer and penance. Let us open a way for the Lord to come into our lives.

The acolyte lights two candles on the Advent wreath while the choir sings an introit.

Saint Nicholas Bishop then says:

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.

All:   Amen.

A modified order of morning prayer and celebration of the Holy Eucharist follows.


Third Sunday in Advent

Advent Wreath Service — "Rejoice in the Lord"

Saint Nicholas Bishop:

Dear friends in Christ, on this Third Sunday of Advent, we are invited to rejoice in the Lord, for he is near. In anticipation of the joy of Christmas, we light three candles on the advent wreath, recalling that joy is one of the surest signs of God's presence among us.

The acolyte lights three candles on the Advent wreath while the choir sings an introit.

Saint Nicholas Bishop then says:

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.

All:   Amen.

A modified order of morning prayer and celebration of the Holy Eucharist follows.


Fourth Sunday in Advent

Advent Wreath Service — "The First Coming"

Saint Nicholas Bishop:

Dear friends in Christ, on this Fourth and final Sunday of Advent, we recall the fullness of time, when the Son of God became human, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. We remember Mary's joyful acceptance of God's plan. In her "yes" to God, the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
As we light all four candles on the Advent wreath, let us join Mary as willing servants of the Lord; may our "yes" welcome Christ into our world.

The acolyte lights four candles on the Advent wreath while the choir sings an introit.

Saint Nicholas Bishop then says:

May almighty God have mercy on us,
forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.

All:   Amen.

A modified order of morning prayer and celebration of the Holy Eucharist follows.


At the end of each service, the following blessing is offered by the Girl/Boy Saint Nicholas Bishop—

The Blessing of Saint Nicholas

In the Spirit of Nicholas, beloved Bishop and Saint: I bid you now go forth in peace, remember the poor, be kindly affectioned one to the other; these three things I pray be granted unto us this day, and always, and in all ways. Amen.


From Saint Peter's Episcopal Church, Cazenovia, Central New York. Used by permission.

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