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Pope says Advent a time to watch out

Advent is a time of vigilance when Catholics prepare not only to mark Christ's birth, but to honour him as king of heaven and earth, according to Pope John Paul II.

At his General Audience on Wednesday, he drew from the "royal hymn" of Psalm 110 the message that Advent, which begins on Sunday, "is a special time to train ourselves in vigilance as preparation for our Christmas encounter with Christ, who has shown himself to be king and lord in the glory of heaven."

Meanwhile Brisbane's Archbishop John Bathersby has written an Advent Pastoral Letter in which he focuses on Communion.

His message builds on the themes of the Archdiocese's Synod 2003, which had Jesus, Communion and Mission as its 'theological background'.

He said: "Behind all the activity of the synod lay the Holy Spirit shaping its discussions and inspiring its conclusions, which have already borne fruit and will bear even greater fruit in the future".

He said that, in the Church, people "are joined together in the fellowship of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit".

"At its simplest but very important level, we are joined with God and one another, as part of creation, as creatures of God ...

"At a much deeper level, which the Church names Koinonia, a New Testament Greek word which means "participation (in)", "communion (with)" and "fellowship (with)", we are joined to one another in and through a conscious relationship to God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In Melbourne, Archbishop Denis Hart told the faithful of the Archdiocese that Advent is "a good moment to look back".

"There is no such thing as a perfect year, but we can be thankful that internationally things are calmer, if still unsettled," he said. "At home, problems of poverty and drugs, and attacks on early human life and the family, continue. Many individuals, I well know, will end this year in sorrow and distress."

Pope says Advent should be time of preparing, honoring Christ as king (Catholic News Service 26/11/03)
Archbishop's Advent focus on communion (Catholic Leader 30/11/03)
Advent summons a fresh start (Kairos 30/11/03)

God Present in Struggle of Good and Evil, Says Pope (Zenit 26/11/03)
Archbishop Bathersby's Advent Pastoral Letter (full text)

28 Nov 2003