The Register's Clip-Out, Photocopy and Pass-On Guides for Advent

Quick Tip Own these books: The Bible (get a Catholic edition) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (available through several publishers, first released in the 1990s).

Quick Tip Authors to try: Fulton Sheen, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Newer: Mother Teresa (books of her sayings), Pope John Paul II (especially Crossing the Threshold of Hope). Scott Hahn, Karl Keating, Peter Kreeft.

An Act of Faith

O my God, I believe in you, and all that your Church teaches, because you have said it, and your word is true.

An Act of Hope

O my God, I hope in you for grace and for glory because of your mercy, your promises and your power.

An Act of Love

O my God, I love you above all things, and for your sake I love my neighbor as myself.

Precepts of the Church

Attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

Confess your sins at least once a year.

Humbly receive your Creator in holy Communion at least during the Easter season.

Provide for the material needs of the Church, according to your abilities.

Observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence (Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and Fridays in Lent). (See the Catechism, Nos. 2041-2043.)

Season 1

Advent, starting four Sundays before Christmas, is a time to prepare for Christmas. Use it as a time to invite people to return to church.

Season 2

Christmas season lasts until Epiphany Sunday in January. Make a New Year's resolution to better follow the precepts of the Church.

Season 3

Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday to Palm Sunday. Make a daily sacrifice. Try going to Mass every day.

Season 4

Easter season is longer than Lent because Christ's resurrection is the basis of our faith. Every Sunday recalls Easter. Reserve Sundays only for your family.

Quick Tip

Family planning using moral (and effective) new methods (not rhythm) means a woman won't feel used or suffer side effects, and a man will be less inclined to think of her as a sex object and take more responsibility for the consequences of sex. To learn more: One More Soul (800) 307-7685

Season 5

Ordinary time includes May, the month dedicated to Mary; October, the month of the rosary; and November, the month of the dead. Get a Catholic calendar and follow special feast days.

Quick Tip

The poor are very close to Christ — and he will judge us on how we serve them.

Volunteer: Contact your parish or local Knights of Columbus.

Donate: Body and soul are one. Choose service organizations based on effectiveness and fidelity to the Church.

The Ten Commandments

1. I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange gods before me.

2. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

3. Remember to keep holy the LORD's Day.

4. Honor your father and your mother.

5. You shall not kill.

6. You shall not commit adultery.

7. You shall not steal.

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife.

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

Answers to your questions

Catholics United for the Faith (800) 693-2484

Catholic Information Services (203) 772-2130

Catholic Answers (619) 387-7200

Content: National Catholic Register ( Art: Tim Rauch. Photo: Reuters.

The Christmas Life

Want Christmas to last all year? It can.

Receiving Gifts

A life of Mass, confession and prayer will bring you frequent gifts — and happy surprises about yourself, your loved ones and the world we live in. Guaranteed.

Giving Gifts

There are many loving sacrifices in the Christian life: in our time, money, sexuality and good deeds. Experience the incomparable joy of self-giving — year-round.

Family Happiness

at Christmas comes because Christ is the reason for our gathering.

Prayer and faith will transform family life in every season.

The Life of Jesus

The story of the humble Savior inspires us each year. His life has many stories to inspire us; enough to fill every day of the year.

More on The Christmas Life: Faith & Family, Winter 2004. (800) 421-3230