The word Advent derives from the Latin advenio, meaning “to come to,” and refers to the coming of Christ. Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.
Advent is also the start of the liturgical year in the Catholic Church. Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (30 November) and embracing four Sundays. That means that the First Sunday of Advent can fall as early as November 27 or as late as December 3.
This season refers, first of all, to our celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas; but second, to the coming of Christ in our lives through grace and the Eucharist; and finally, to His Second Coming at the end of time. Our preparations, therefore, should have all three comings in mind. We need to prepare our souls to receive Christ worthily.
It is also at the start of the Advent season the parish assembly affirms those seeking acceptance into the Order of Catechumens, through the Rite of Acceptance, which takes place on the First Sunday of Advent. During this Rite, the Inquirer stands amidst the parish community and states that he or she wants to become a baptized member of the Catholic Church.
The Rite of Acceptance is but one step in the process for a Catechumen or Candidate to come into full communion with the Catholic Church. (9:1)