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Advent offers us all a special opportunity to grow in our relationship with God and to deepen our commitment to Jesus' way of life, rooted in love and welcome. 

The 2017 Advent Reflection Guide: A Season to Welcome the Stranger from the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns contains reflections, questions, prayers, and actions based on each week’s Gospel reading and the experience of Maryknoll missioners who have lived and worked with communities affected by forced migration in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

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As the number of people fleeing wars, violent conflict, and political persecution reaches new heights, countries around the world are struggling to meet the demands of receiving these vulnerable people. Maryknoll missioners have the unique perspective of having been the stranger who has been welcomed, often by marginalized communities in some of the most isolated parts of the world. What a transformative experience it is! This lived experience of welcome has deepened our faith in the strength of God’s compassion and mercy and challenges us to create a culture of welcome for all migrants and refugees. We believe, as Pope Francis says, “Welcoming others means welcoming God in person!”

We invite you to use this guide individually or in small groups to reflect upon your life patterns, to pray more deeply, and renew your spirit to face the realities of our world.