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St Thomas More

Catholic School

Liturgical Calendar - Autumn Term

 Liturgical calendar for assemblies



Introduction to Advent

Advent can often come upon us as a surprise.  It is not a little unlike the surprise of Mary when she received the news that she was pregnant with Jesus. Like her, we can use the season of Advent as a time for pause, reflection and preparation for the gift of God’s love coming to us through the baby Jesus.

The word Advent in Latin, ad-venio, means “to come”. This time is considered to be a period of renewal in the Church's year.  We come to a different set of readings from one of the three cycles and focus our hearts on the Christ child.

Advent Traditions

The four weeks of Advent are popularly considered to symbolise the four thousand years of darkness before the coming of Christ. During this time, we set up Nativity scenes, light Advent candles and decorate wreaths in our homes to signify Christ’s presence  in the darkness of sin and suffering.  Four candles adorn an Advent wreath, one for each week. A fifth candle is sometimes placed in the centre for the beginning of the Christmas season.

Advent colours are worn by the priests and decorate the church. They are represented in the candles that surround the Advent wreath:

VIOLET: royalty, repentance, and fasting (First, Second, and Fourth Week of Advent)

ROSE: abundance, joy (Third Week of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, 'Joy' in Latin)

WHITE: light and purity (Christ Candle, centre candle completes the season and begins the Christmas Season)


Scripture and Prayers for Advent

During Advent there are three themes that merge as we patiently wait for the coming of Christ:

We long for the Messiah

To be alert for Jesus’s Second Coming

 Meditate on Christ’s presence in our lives

The scripture readings for the four weeks of Advent revolve around the first of two of these themes. They encourage proper preparation, point to the grace and humility of Mary,  show us how to adore God in the Incarnation, and recognise the glory of Jesus and how he frees us from sin and ingratitude. We hear from the prophet Isaiah and are drawn to the message of John the Baptist in the Gospels.

It is important to consider how we can grow spiritually in the face of commercialism and the onslaught of advertising the importance of secular materialism. Take time for silence and reflection each day with scripture, a devotional prayer or with the Advent calendar. Think on the scene of the Nativity, the journey of Mary and Joseph and imagine what it is to be with them as they bring Jesus into the world

This Advent, make it a prayerful journey with the Holy Family and the Church, this will surely bring gifts of gratitude and joy when we enter the Christmas season.



Tradition says that if you pray 15 times a day for 25 days, St Andrew will intercede on your behalf.  Beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas Eve.


blessed is the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of Mary,

at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold.

In that hour promise I ask that you my loving Father,

will hear my prayer and grant my request

(insert your request)

through the goodness of Jesus and his Blessed Mother.



The Month of November 

The Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory

As we draw toward the end of the year, the nights grow colder and the days become shorter and the leaves begin to fall profusely from the trees. The days of light and colour begin to fade.  It is  therefore only natural  that our thoughts begin to turn to those who are no longer with us.

The Catholic Church offers us in November the Feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Day, the month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Those who have died in grace but have yet to make satisfaction for their sins on earth.

Purgatory is the place for those who have died in grace but have yet to fully atone for their sins; it is the place of atonement  before entering heaven. Catholics believe Purgatory is an expression of God’s love and His desire to ensure our souls are cleansed so that we may enjoy the fullness of the joys in heaven.

As Christians we don’t travel through this world alone. Our salvation is wrapped up in with the salvation of others and charity requires us to come to their aid. The same is true of the Holy Souls in Purgatory, if we pray for the faithful departed then they may be freed from their sins and so enter heaven.

We should pray for the dead throughout the year, especially on the anniversary of their death, but in the month of the Holy Souls we should set time aside to pray every day for those who have died. We should start with those closest to us our Mother and Father and then those most forsaken.

We believe that those Holy Souls for whom we pray will continue to pray for us after their release from Purgatory. If we try to live out our Christian vocation we may too find ourselves in Purgatory, our act of charity towards the Holy Souls will ensure that they remember us before the throne of God when we are most in need of prayers.

It is a comforting thought and one that should encourage us, especially in this month of November, to offer our prayers for the Holy Souls.


Prayers for the Souls in Purgatory for each day of the week

The Church offers us different prayers that we can say each day of the week for the faithful departed.


O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Thy divine Son Jesus  shed in His cruel scourging, deliver the souls in purgatory, and among them all, especially that soul which is nearest to its entrance into Thy glory that it may soon begin to praise and bless thee for  ever.  Amen

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal Rest…



O Lord God omnipotent. I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus that was shed in His bitter crowning with thorns, deliver the souls in purgatory and among them all, particularly that soul which is in the greatest need of our prayers in order that it may not be long be delayed in praising Thee in Thy glory and blessing for ever.  Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal Rest…



O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus that was shed on the streets of Jerusalem whilst he carried on His sacred shoulders the heavy burden of the Cross, deliver the souls in purgatory and especially that one which is richest in merit in Thy sight, so that, having soon attain the high place in glory to which it is destined, it may praise Thee triumphantly and bless Thee for ever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary. Eternal Rest…



O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Body and Blood of Thy divine Son Jesus which He Himself on the night before his Passion gave as meat and drink to His beloved Apostles and bequeathed to His Holy Church to be the perpetual Sacrifice and life giving nourishment of His faithful people, deliver the souls in purgatory, but most of all. That soul which was most devoted to this infinite Mystery of infinite love, in order that it may praise Thee therefor, together with Thy divine Son and the Holy Spirit in Thy glory for ever. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Eternal Rest…



O Lord God omnipotent, I beseech Thee by the Precious Blood which Jesus Thy divine Son did shed this day upon the tree of the Cross, especially from His sacred Hands and Feet, deliver the souls in purgatory and particularly that soul for whom I am most bound in pray, in order that I may not be the cause which hinders Thee from admitting it quickly to the possession of Thy glory where it may praise Thee and bless Thee for ever more. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary. Eternal Rest…

the month of October 

Praying the Rosary

Each month of the Catholic year is dedicated to certain devotions. The month of October is dedicated to  the Holy Rosary, one of the best known of all the Catholic devotions. October includes the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The best way is to pray the Rosary, so this short guide gives us an opportunity to pray the Rosary in school and at home as a family.   

The Rosary draws its mysteries from the New Testament and is centred on the great events of the Incarnation and Redemption with each decade referring to an event in the life of Jesus and Mary.  The Mysteries of the Rosary give us  “thumbnails” of the life of Christ and his Mother.

Each week we explore the Mysteries of the Rosary. By clicking the links below, you will be able to  explore  a different Mystery to aid in a deeper understanding of the life of Christ and his Mother.

Reflections on the Glorious Mysteries

Reflections on the Mysteries of Light

Reflections on the Joyful Mysteries 

Reflections on the Sorrowful Mysteries