Advent prayer service scheduled at St. Mary Catholic Church


GREENVILLE – St. Mary Catholic Church, Greenville, is presenting the traditional Advent “O Antiphons” prayer service.

All are welcome to attend this meditation in preparation for the Christmas season. The church doors will open at 6:15 p.m. Dec. 16. The service will begin at 7 p.m.

St. Mary Catholic Church’s prayer will focus on preparing hearts for Christ’s coming. The O Antiphons are most familiar in the hymn “O come, O come, Emmanuel.” Each verse of the hymn is one of the O Antiphons.

During the week preceding the Christmas vigil, these antiphons are sung at evening prayer by monks and religious since the Middle Ages. The O Antiphons add a mood of eager expectation to the liturgy, which builds throughout the seven days prior to Christmas. The O Antiphons are, in fact, a selection of Old Testament names for Christ. Jesus is invoked by various titles mainly taken from the prophet Isaiah.

In their structure, each of the seven O Antiphons follows the same pattern. Each begins with an invocation of the expected Messiah followed by praise of him under one of his particular titles. Each O Antiphon ends with a petition by God’s people, relevant to the title by which he is addressed, and the cry for him to “come.”

The seven titles attributed to Jesus in these O Antiphons are: Wisdom (Sapientia in Latin), Ruler of the House of Israel (Adonai), Root of Jesse (Radix), Key of David (Clavis), Rising Dawn (Oriens), King of the Gentiles (Rex) and Emmanuel. In Latin, the initials of the titles make an acrostic which, when read backward, “Ero cras” means: “Tomorrow I will be there.”

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