Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church

Advent Prayer

Advent IV Mass Schedule:
Saturday, December 23 – 5:00 pm
Sunday, December 24 – 8:00 am and 10:30 am (no 6:00 pm)

Christmas Mass Schedule:
Sunday, December 24 – 5:00 pm and 9:00 pm
Monday, December 25 – 8:00 am and 10:30 am


  • Online Retreat

    Welcome to our Advent 2017 online retreat! We hope you will visit us throughout this season for a brief break from the business of this season.

    Advent is a time to slow down, pause, and reflect on the coming of Christ historically, the coming of Christ at the end of time, and the coming of Christ in our everyday lives. We live in a reality that does not support this idea, yet a few moments of your day spent with God’s word, a little music, or even a simple action on behalf of another person can be the touchstone for a pause.

    The rhythm of our retreat is a bit of Scripture on Monday, an action on Wednesday, and a musical reflection on Friday. You may jump into this at any time and at your need.

    Since this is a very short Advent—the shortest possible—we will offer some special options for the week of December 17 as we explore the beauty of the O Antiphons.

    Now, take a breath and begin…

    • December 25 - Christmas

      Christmas Day

      In the beginning was the Word,
      and the Word was with God,
      and the Word was God.
      He was in the beginning with God.
      All things came to be through him,
      and without him nothing came to be.
      What came to be through him was life,
      and this life was the light of the human race;
      the light shines in the darkness,
      and the darkness has not overcome it

      [John 1:1-5]

      Bask in the Light.

      Be the Light.

      May your Christmas season be blessed!





    • December 24 - Christmas Eve

    • Sunday, December 24 

      This day lives in the duality of marking the Fourth Sunday of Advent and the Eve of Christmas! 

      It is the shortest cycle of the Advent season that is possible. At sunset, the Eve of Christmas begins, and the Light, long awaited, dawns… 

      The people who walked in darkness
      have seen a great light;
      upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
      a light has shone.
      You have brought them abundant joy
      and great rejoicing,
      as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
      as people make merry when dividing spoils.
      For the yoke that burdened them,
      the pole on their shoulder,
      and the rod of their taskmaster                                              
      you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
      For every boot that tramped in battle,
      every cloak rolled in blood,
      will be burned as fuel for flames.
      For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
      upon his shoulder dominion rests.
      They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
      Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
      His dominion is vast
      and forever peaceful,
      from David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
      which he confirms and sustains
      by judgment and justice,
      both now and forever.
      The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!” 

      [Isaiah 9:1-6] 

      Enjoy this classic hymn of the eve, and as you do so, try to hear how the words echo the passage from Isaiah that is proclaimed during the Midnight Mass.: 




  • December 23 - O Emmanuel

    Saturday, December 23: O Emmanuel


    O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
    come to save us, Lord our God!


    O Emmanuel, God With Us!
    We call to you from our very depths—
    the very call of our ancestors in faith,
    the cry of the poor and oppressed,
    the plea of the hungry and broken,
    the desire of all humankind,
    throughout all time:
    come O Lover of us All!


    Know the Light of Christ as you enter into these final hours before the great feast of Light!

  • December 22 - O King of All

    Friday, December 22: O King of All


    O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!


    O God of all the Universe! Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier of every life in all times and places: Come now, Renew our Spirits!

    Keystone, Sanctifier…these are words we don’t often use anymore. They name something that is strong, trustworthy, powerful. The God we love is among us now. This God is greater than our imaginations can see or are words can speak. Let us recognize and lean into the spark of love, of joy, of hope that makes itself known this day and know it as God made flesh.

    Enjoy this song and be the spark of light in someone’s life today…




  • December 21 - O Radiant Dawn

    Thursday, December 21: O Radiant Dawn


    O Radiant Dawn,
    splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
    come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the
    shadow of death.


    O Great Light of Day!
    At this darkest moment of the year
    you calm our fears
    and ignite hope
    in all who suffer the darkness of pain, depression
    and shadows of all ilk:
    Shine your radiance into our lives!

    The dawn is a splendid moment of the new day, for it brings a fresh start and the relief of light to a long night. The Light of our existence is near!

    Today, rejoice in the Light of Christ who was and is to come…

  • December 20 - O Root of Jesse

    Wednesday, December 20: O Key of David


    O Key of David,
    opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
    come and free the prisoners of darkness!


    Revealer of all that has been hidden and
    Seeker of the lost:
    open our eyes,
    unlock our minds,
    enlighten our hearts,
    restore our hearing,
    that we may again walk in your love and life.


    You have probably seen pictures of prisons. They are not happy places, full of sadness and peopled by folks who are often at their lowest. It is much easier to shun the prison than to engage it. Prisons are not only brick and mortar. Many of us are imprisoned by past hurts, words we cannot take back, illnesses, or events that cannot be undone. Christ, our Emmanuel, is the bringer of light, healing, and restoration of life for all. As we are given, we are asked to give.

    What locked door might you open for someone today? What key of kindness can you use to lessen someone’s suffering? Maybe a listening ear, even though you may be busy, is all it will take.

    Shine light into someone’s darkness today.

  • December 19 - O Root of Jesse

    Tuesday, December 19: O Root of Jesse


    O Root of Jesse’s stem,
    sign of God’s love for all his people:
    come to save us without delay!


    O Promise of Life renewed!
    sign of hope for all people:
    our hearts feel empty and barren;
    only your seed of new life
    will heal our ache.
    Come and implant your love deep within!

    Nature abhors a vacuum—we all long for a sense of completion, in some way. I often think the big things in life will make “the” difference and give my life a purpose.  In having this expectation, I often miss the little daily, momentary gifts that fill in the tapestry and complete the picture of my life. When I am willing to listen for God’s voice, I humbly realize that it is God alone, that fills the vacuum and brings me to wholeness.

    Pray today for God to fill the shadows and uncertainties of life with Light.

  • December 18 - O Adonai

    Monday, December 18: O Adonai


    O Leader of the House of Israel,
    giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
    come to rescue us with your mighty power!


    O leading, guiding God!
    you have handed us the law of love,
    the law of life:
    fill us each day with desire
    to turn to your love
    as the rule of our lives!


    What is the Law of Love but the kindness with which we all desire? Jesus personified and embodied, fulfilled the Law and the prophets with his living. He showed himself to be a servant leader, something rare in his day as well as in ours.

    What is the leadership you most respect? Why?

    How might you be called to lead in love today?

    Be the Light in the darkness.

  • December 17 - O Wisdom

    Sunday, December 17: O Wisdom


    O Wisdom of our God Most High,
    guiding creation with power and love:
    come to teach us the path of knowledge!

    Contemporary reflection:

    O Holy Spirit of wisdom
    may we recognize your creative genius and love
    as vast as the universe
    as local as our own breath.
    We long for your presence:
    lead us to know you.


    Today not only begins the O antiphons, but it is the Third Sunday of Advent. Today’s Gospel draws us to the Light in a new way:

    A man named John was sent from God.
    He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
    so that all might believe through him.
    He was not the light,
    but came to testify to the light
    .” [[John 1:6-8]

    The Light of Christ shines Wisdom upon us. Wisdom is also another name for God. We might call that a “win-win.” John calls us to recognize Christ among us; the ancient O Antiphon beckons us to know Christ among us and to follow his path of wisdom, his light.

    Today, light the pink candle on your Advent wreath. If you do not have one, light a light somewhere in your home. What does this light help you to see? Take this question a bit further: what is crying out to be seen? Is there a shadow in your life that needs to be illuminated, brought out of hiding? Ask God for the wisdom to engage this shadow, to coax it into the wisdom that is God.

    Be the Light in the darkness.

  • The O Antiphons

    The O Antiphons

    The final days of Advent, December 17-23, are marked by praying the O Antiphons.

    What are they?  The USCCB tells us this:

    The Roman Church has been singing the “O” Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative “Come!” embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah. [accessed from here.]

    Simple in form, these images of the Promised Messiah can linger in our hearts and minds as we travel through the last days leading us into Christmas. We know these words well, for we have sung them or heard them most of our lives in the great Advent song, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

    We encourage you to visit our website each day to take in the Antiphon for that day. We pray that as you move into Christmas, these prayers will aid you in doing so in peace.

  • December 15 - Musical Prayer/Reflection

    Friday Musical Prayer/Reflection:

    “Comfort, give comfort to my people…”

    Allow the words of this song by Janet Sullivan Whitaker open your heart to God’s peace:



    “Comfort, comfort my people
    With tender words of peace
    Now says our God…”

    © Janet Sullivan Whitaker

  • December 13 - Reconciling

    Wednesday Action: Reconciling

    Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion!
    See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the LORD.
    Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day,
    and they shall be his people,
    and he will dwell among you.
    ” [Zec 2:14-15]

    The great celebration of wholeness is closer than you think!

    Fear is gone; love is the rule over all.

    Is there a bit of fear that holds onto your heart? What prevents love from being the rule of your life?

    If you are human, most likely some reconciliation is needed in your life. We cannot seem to escape from saying the wrong thing, misperceiving another’s intention, or being on the receiving end of a hurtful action.

    Reconciliation is needed. But let’s face it, reconciling is often difficult.

    Jesus said to the crowds:
    ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
    and I will give you rest.
    Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
    for I am meek and humble of heart;
    and you will find rest for yourselves.
    For my yoke is easy, and my burden light
    .’” [Mt 11:28-30]

    How might you reconcile with someone today?

    • Make that phone call you’ve been putting off
    • Send a note—make it a Christmas card
    • Are you doing battle with a teen in your life? Slip a note under their bedroom door telling them you love them and are willing to listen when they are ready to talk. Then, keep that promise.
    • Is there a deeper hurt that you cannot confront face to face? Write it down and then throw the paper away. Some things cannot safely be reconciled in person. Once you can come to forgiveness; however, you will be free. This is often a long process so be gentle with yourself, asking for God’s Spirit to heal you.
    • Finally, join us for the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation today at noon or 7:00 pm.

    Be the Light in the darkness.

  • December 11 - No Fear

    Monday Reflection: No Fear…

    Comfort, give comfort to my people,
    says your God.

    Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
    and all people shall see it together;
    for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

    Fear not to cry out
    and say to the cities of Judah:
    Here is your God
    !” [Is 40:1, 5, 9]


    The opposite of love is fear.
    It is with great love, that God embraces us. Isaiah calls out to the people, “Comfort, give comfort…Here is your God!”
    This second week of Advent, the light grows. Our hope deepens. We await the coming of our God.
    Yet, all we need do is to look around. God is with us. Emmanuel! But like the people of Isaiah’s time, we need a reminder. We need encouragement to love, to let go of fear.
    Easy to say, hard to do, yes?

    Letting go of fear:

    • fear of the “other”, the stranger, the immigrant, different.
    • Fear for our security, finances, personal safety
    • Fear of change, of transition, of new and unknown

    Is there a light to navigate your fear?


    What brings you comfort?

    Might you take a few moments today to let the hopeful, light-filled words of Isaiah wash over you?

    I am the LORD, your God,
    who grasp your right hand;
    It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I will help you.”
    Fear not… 
    [Is 41:13-14a]

    Let us go forth as light in the darkness. Just this day…

    • December 8 - Musical Prayer/Reflection

      Friday Musical Prayer/Reflection:

      Celebrate the Light in the Darkness, the Light that is our Hope, the Light of Christ!



      “Shine Light of Christ. Shine in the midst of darkness.
      Shine Light of Christ. Renew our hearts with gladness.
      Lead us, Lord, to your light. Illuminate our darkness.
      Come, fill us now, with your light.”

      © Estela García-López Estela García-López

    • December 6 - St. Nick, an icon of Light!

      Wednesday Action: St. Nick, an icon of Light!

      I grew up, as many Milwaukeeans, celebrating the Feast of St. Nick.

      The ritual commenced as follows:

      • The evening of December 5, place one’s stocking, sock, or shoe outside of one’s bedroom door, or on the stairway, or hang on the fireplace.
      • The morning of December 6, wake up obnoxiously early to discover a variety of surprises in stocking, sock or shoe. Mine included an orange, a candy cane, an assortment of chocolate, a mini cereal box, and a trinket of some sort.


      We also awoke to a transformed home, decorated in Christmas splendor!  We were given a preview of the light of the season.

      Do you celebrate St. Nick’s Day? Even if you never have, might you consider surprising someone with a little Christmas preview, a bit of the Light?

      Some ideas:

      • For a child, a sweet treat, book, or Christmas ornament
      • For an adult, a cup of flavored coffee or tea, a listening ear, a note to tell them you are thinking of them, a phone call to “check in,” or a visit to a shut in or someone who is ill.


      Be the Light in the darkness.

    • December 4 - A Light in the Darkness

      Monday Reflection: A Light in the Darkness

      We have entered the darkest time of the year.

      The days dawn later, the dusk arrives earlier.

      Within that limited daylight, we scurry and hurry to create a season of perfection that is impossible to achieve, when what we desire is peace, light, hope.

      Meanwhile, the cyber world offers us the bitter news of yet another mass murder, a horrible natural disaster, political genocide, and stories that are difficult to decipher as true or fake news. The antidote offered is to buy more, decorate lavishly, and bury ourselves in anything we can find to ignore the darkness.

      We are seeking the Light.

      In Isaiah 30, we read:

      “No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
      but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
      While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
      ‘This is the way; walk in it,’
      when you would turn to the right or to the left…
      The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
      and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
      like the light of seven days.
      On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
      he will heal the bruises left by his blows.” [Is 30:20-21, 26]

      This word was spoken at a very dark time for our Hebrew ancestors. It came as a word of hope and encouragement. It came as a light in the darkness.

      What do you hear when you read this passage?

      What do you feel?

      How does this word speak to your life? Your day?

      How might you embody, or drink in, the hope offered here, that Lord will bind our wounds, heal our bruises, and shine brighter than the light of the sun?

      How might you shine, even a tiny bit, this light to another?

      “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”  [St. Francis]

      Let us go forth as light in the darkness. Just this day…

  • Videos

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    • Advent in 2 Minutes - NEW

      • May You Find a Light

        from The Brilliance

      • Let it go - Advent Meditation

        An opportunity for quiet reflection to music.

      • Waiting

        Waiting. It’s not an attractive word. It seems boring. What if you were waiting for something that would change your life? How would you get ready for it? Would you make yourself busy, filling your life with noise and distraction? Would you spend all your time doing everything but slowing down?

      • You Don't Know Jack...about Advent

      • Christ is Coming

      • Advent Conspiracy

      • The Advent Wreath

      • Veni Veni Emmanuel

      • A Christmas Story: The Man And The Birds

        As told by Paul Harvey – a wonderful way to understand the need for the Incarnation.

    • Service Opportunities


      tree-222772_640More than any other time of year, the seasons of Advent and Christmas remind us that there are so many in need of our generosity. At times, this can be overwhelming as so many organizations are asking for help. Because there are so many, it can be difficult to know where our donations of gifts and money actually end up. Here at Our Lady of Lourdes, we offer you a few suggestions that you can be assured go directly to the recipients, both locally and internationally:

      The Giving Tree & Santa Shop

      The Giving Tree provides gifts & gift certificates for children of all ages. For some of the 325 children we serve, this will be the only gift they receive this Christmas.

      With just a few dollars, you can give k4-3rd grade children the joy and satisfaction of “shopping” for gifts for their families through the Santa Shop! The Santa Shop takes your inexpensive gifts and offers them for 50 cents each.

      All gifts are due December 11.


      care-583236_640Fleece Blankets for the Homeless

      All are invited to join our youth to make fleece blankets for Repairer’s of the Breach on Saturday, December 19, from 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm. Help us care for those who are without homes.

      Please come with:

      • 2 1/2 yards plain fleece
      • 2 1/2 yards print fleece
      • A good scissors

      Do not buy a kit. It will be too small.

      This Christmas outreach opportunity is for beginner blanket makers to experts! Youth will be available to help make blankets for anyone who needs assistance.

      Contact the Parish Office with any questions


      present-932219_640The Mitten Tree

      Another tradition here at Lourdes is the Mitten Tree, where new hand-crafted or store bought mittens, hats, scarves, and gloves are collected for adults and children at a couple of local parishes. The collection site will be in the Front Lobby and marked with a small tree and a wooden manger. The deadline for these gifts is December 17.


      Catholic Relief Services

      If you are interested in helping on a global scale, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provides the opportunity to donate towards a diverse set of needs.


      Serving the Hungry and Homeless 

      Repairers of the Breach
      MacCanon Brown Sanctuary


    • Online Resources