Reverse Advent Calendar

The Reverse Advent Calendar is an opportunity for Notre Dame High School families to participate in the Holy Cross Mission this blessed Advent season.  

As we prepare for the coming of Christmas and countdown the days in anticipation, it is helpful to use the time to reflect and remind ourselves of the many blessings that God has given us.  Thank you for choosing to help make Christmas merry and bright for those who are in need of assistance.

Advent 2018 starts on Sunday, December 2 and ends on Christmas Eve.  In all, Advent this year is 22 days. Because this Reverse Advent Calendar includes only 12 of those days, we suggest beginning on Thursday, December 13 and concluding on Christmas Eve!

In your box you will find the day’s Gospel, reflection, prayer, and gift suggestion.  All material is adapted from the following publications: Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001. Thomas, John Paul. Advent and Christmas Reflections (Catholic Daily Reflections Series Book 1) My Catholic Life!

Please return boxes to Notre Dame by January 6 - Feast of the Epiphany and Feast of St. Brother Andre Bessette CSC. The contents of the boxes are then sorted and used to make our Spes Dispensers (blessing bags) for the homeless and those in need throughout the coldest winter months.  

List of Gift Suggestions:

  • December 13 Day 1. Gloves and/or Warm Socks

  • December 14 Day 2. Scarf and/or Warm Hat

  • December 15 Day 3. Teddy Bear

  • December 16 Day 4. Candy

  • December 17 Day 5. Toothbrush and Toothpaste

  • December 18 Day 6. Book (young readers K-8)

  • December 19 Day 7. Soap and Shampoo

  • December 20 Day 8. Jar Sauce and Pasta

  • December 21 Day 9. Granola Bars

  • December 22 Day 10. Peanut Butter and Jelly

  • December 23 Day 11. Pens/Pencils and Notebook

  • December 24 Day 12. Cans of Soup (pull tab for easy open)

Campus Ministry wishes all Notre Dame High School students and their families a blessed and joyous Advent and Christmas season!

Dec. 13 - Wednesday of the Second Week of Advent

Come to Me with Your Burdens


“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.”  Matthew 11:28-30


Reflect, today, upon this gentle and glorious invitation from Jesus.  Let Him enter into whatever it is that burdens you. Let Him carry the yoke that you carry and give you, instead, the gentle yoke He has prepared for you.  The cross you bear may not go away, but it will be transformed and made light in His grace.


Lord, I surrender my life and all that I am to You.  I accept Your invitation to come to You. Thank You for Your unfailing compassion and concern for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift suggestion: Gloves and/or Warm Socks

Dec. 14 - Thursday of the Second Week of Advent

The Road of Charity


“Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”  Matthew 11:11


Reflect, today, upon the ultimate goal of getting to Heaven and look at the fact that daily acts of charity are the road to this goal.  Is this your focus in life? If not, look at your priorities and recommit yourself to this eternal calling.


Lord, I desire to be with You forever in Heaven.  Help me to keep eternity as my ultimate focus in life.  Help me to build a glorious life in Heaven through the charity I live now.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift suggestion: Scarf and/or Warm Hat

Dec. 15 - Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Overcoming Harsh Words


“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’   The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’”  Matthew 11:18-19


Reflect, today, upon the way you look at others around you and, especially, how you speak about them.  Look at their virtue and try to honestly honor them for it. And if you see yourself falling into any form of jealousy or envy, surrender it over to our merciful God so that it doesn’t turn into the ugly sin of calumny.  


Lord, help me to see others in the light of humility and truth.  Help me to see their goodness and virtue and to rejoice in it. Strip from me any falsity and calumny.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift suggestion: Teddy Bear

Dec. 16 - Saturday of the Second Week of Advent  

Repent of Your Sins this Advent


“I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased.  So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.  Matthew 17:12-13


Reflect, today, upon how ready and willing you are to preach to your own soul about the importance of repenting of your sins.  Embracing repentance in this holy season is the best way to prepare for the continuous coming of Christ in your life.


Lord, help me to see my sin as we enter more deeply into this Advent season.  Help me to be aware of the many things that keep me from You and to turn from them wholeheartedly.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift Suggestion: Candy

Dec. 17 - Third Sunday of Advent

Purification by the Fire of God


John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”  Luke 3:16-17


Reflect, today, upon the purification to which God may be calling you.  What is it that you hold on to that He wants you free of? Commit yourself to the purifying fire of God’s love and let that love cleanse you in this Advent season.


Lord, I do long to have my soul purified by You.  I do desire holiness of life. Help me to begin this process here and now so that I can begin to experience the joy and freedom You have in store for me.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift Suggestion: Toothbrush and Toothpaste


Dec. 18 - Monday of the Third Week of Advent

The Faith of Saint Joseph


The angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.  For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:20-21


Listening to the voice of God, through the mediation of the angels, is not about us seeing or hearing the angels speak, literally.  Rather, it’s a matter of discerning this language of love spoken to us and calling us to faith. Listen in the silence of your heart, this day, and allow yourself to follow the glorious witness of Saint Joseph as he responded to our Lord’s will with perfect faith and trust.


Lord, I long to hear Your sweet voice.  I long to know all that You command of me and all that You inspire me to embrace in life.  Give me the grace I need, to follow every inspiration in life so that I may fulfill Your perfect and holy will.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift Suggestion: Book (young readers K-8)

Dec. 19 - Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

Zechariah and His Doubts


“I am Gabriel, who stand before God.  I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news.  But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”  Luke 1:19-20


Reflect, today, upon your own faith.  Is it pure and eager to assent to all that God reveals?  Are you ready and willing to believe all that God speaks to you?  Though you may not receive His word through the direct mediation of an angel in visible form, you are privileged to have God speak to you constantly through these angelic advocates.  When they speak, do you listen and respond with the faith of our Blessed Mother’s? Or, like Zechariah, do you hesitate and doubt the revelation?


Lord, give me the same pure and holy faith that Your Blessed Mother had.  Though I acknowledge my sin and weakness, help me, by her example and intercession, to receive each and every word You wish to speak to me through the mediation of the hosts of Heaven.  May I always be attentive to Your word and respond with a generous heart. Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift Suggestion: Soap and Shampoo

Dec. 20 - Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

Our Blessed Mother and Her Perfect Faith


But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.  And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:34-38


Reflect, today, upon your own knowledge of the truth.  Are you able to consent to the will of God and the truths of God without fully understanding them?  Do you trust God more than you trust your own human reason? Are you willing to move forward in life by faith rather than by your limited human reason alone?  Strive to imitate the pure faith-knowledge of our Blessed Mother. She knew the truth because it was spoken in her heart. And as she listened, she consented and embraced the holy will of God.  We must do the same.


Lord, I desire to trust You with my whole mind, heart, soul and strength.  Help me to always hear You speak and to respond with complete faith and generosity.  Lord, may I imitate the perfect faith of Your mother by praying always with her, ‘let it be done to me according to Your word.’  Mother Mary, pray for us. Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift Suggestion: Jar Sauce and Pasta

Dec. 21 - Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

An Infant Rejoices in the Presence of the Lord!


“Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”  Luke 1:42-45


Pray, today, for the gift to see.  Pray that our Lord will give you the eyes you need to perceive His divine presence all around you.  And pray, especially, that your mind and heart will be open to His divine presence as you encounter and receive Him in Holy Communion.


Lord, I do desire to see You and to know You.  I desire to discern Your presence all around me and in every way that You come to me.  Help me, especially, to be attentive to Your presence in Holy Communion. May my heart always leap for joy at Your coming to me in this most perfect way.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift Suggestion: Granola Bars

Dec. 22 - Friday of the Third Week of Advent

The Great Joy of Our Blessed Mother


“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior.  For he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.”  Luke 1:46-49


Reflect, today, upon your own soul and spirit.  Do you imitate the perfect example of our Blessed Mother as she seeks to know, love and proclaim the greatness of God with her whole being?  And do you allow the Holy Spirit to flood your spirit with joy? Ask our Blessed Mother to pray for you as we approach Christmas. Ask for the grace to “proclaim” and “rejoice” with her at the coming celebration of the birth of her Divine Son so that you, too, may sing her song of praise!


Dearest Mother, you offer us the perfect example of how to live as a faithful and humble servant of the Most High God.  You proclaimed His greatness with your whole being and were filled with joy at His coming. Help me, by your powerful intercession, to imitate your faith and to love God with my whole being.  Mother Mary, pray for me. Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift Suggestion: Jar of Peanut Butter and Jar of Jelly

Dec.  23 - Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Zechariah Returns to Faith  


So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.  He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed.  Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.  Luke 1:62-64


Reflect, today, upon any hardship you have endured as a result of your own weakness, sin or lack of faith.  Do not see any hardship as a punishment in the normal sense of that word. Rather, see it as an opportunity through which God is calling you to give Him even greater glory.


Lord, I know I lack faith in my life.  I fail to believe all that You speak to me.  As a result, I often fail to put Your words into action.  Dear Lord, when I suffer as a result of my weakness, help me to know that this and all suffering can result in giving glory to You if I renew my faith.  Help me, like Zechariah, to return to You always, and use me as an instrument of Your manifest glory. Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift Suggestion: Pens/Pencils and Notebook

Dec 24 - The Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Witness of Mary and Joseph Fourth Sunday of Advent


“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38


Reflect, today, upon your own invitations from God to embrace the mysteries of life.  God’s ways are often more than we can comprehend and figure out. Mary and Joseph give us the witness of how we are to handle every mystery God invites us to participate in.  Say “Yes” to the will of God just as this holy couple did.


Dearest Mother Mary and Saint Joseph, pray for me that I may have the faith you both lived.  When questions arise in my heart, help me to respond generously to God as you did. May I trust in all that God has spoken in imitation of each one of you.  Jesus, I trust in You.

Gift Suggestion: Cans of Soup (pull tab for easy open)