Advent is a time of waiting and anticipation; not only for Christmas, the birth of Jesus but also the second coming of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. This session will focus on building peace in our world and avoiding hurting one another.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
Additional resources for Session Leaders:
USCCB Page on World Day of Peace
Catechism beginning with paragraph 2302 to 2330
1st Reading from the 1st Sunday of Advent
As Catholics, we understand that war is always a failure of peace. Pope Saint John Paul II said this in 2000 on the World Day of Peace:
“War is a defeat for humanity. Only in peace and through peace can respect for human dignity and its inalienable rights be guaranteed.”
So how do we make peace? Find out more in this video (note, this video was reviewed and found to not have any conflict with Catholic teaching but it is not recommended other resources from the source are utilized as they have not be reviewed and may conflict with Catholic teaching).
a. How might children and grown-ups work together to spread love and not hatred in the world?
b. How might we forgive someone whom we have fought with in the past?
The Family/The Domestic Church
a. Does your family know a relative or friend who has fought in the war? Have they shared stories about their experiences? How does this make you feel about war?
b. How are you, as a family, called to strive for justice through non-violent means?
Pope Saint John Paul II, a saint who lived through Nazi occupation in World War II and Soviet Control of Poland gave us an example of how to respond to the violence of those who wish to do us harm.
Witness Video Reflection Questions
1. Pope St. John Paul II used prayer to help him face difficult times. What kind of prayers help you when things are difficult?
2. Pope St. John Paul II forgave even those who wanted to harm him. Is forgiving those who hurt us easy? How does forgiving others help us?
1. Pope John Paul II’s mother died when he was young and his father died when he was a young adult but he carried the lessons they taught him throughout his life. What lessons have you learned from your family that you will carry with you every day to make the world a better place?
2. Many families are separated by war, like Pope St. John Paul II witnessed, how do you think those families feel when they get separated because of violence?
1. Write a letter to children living in refugee camps to offer them words and prayers of encouragement.
2. Create a forgiveness chart that helps you talk about how you have been hurt by someone else’s actions or words; or how you may have hurt someone and how you can ask for forgiveness from them.
1. Take a week and spend time before bed each night talking as a family about how your are sorry or offer forgiveness to one another for things they may have done that hurt you.
2. Organize or attend a gathering for peace. Discuss the importance of these gatherings and how they change you even if they don’t result in immediate world peace.
For what should we pray?
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.