Off the Shelf 102 – Father William P. Saunders
We are in full Advent prep mode and I have a great book to share with you to help us take a focused look at the season leading up to Christmas. Celebrating a Merry Catholic Christmas: A Guide to the Customs and Feast Days of Advent and Christmas by Father William P. Saunders is the perfect resource for learning about and making Advent a prosperous season filled with faith. Join us as we discuss the numerous feast days observed in the season, objects that have become part of our celebrations, and stories behind some of the more well-known Christmas carols of the season.
From the publisher TAN Books
Celebrating a Merry Catholic Christmas is a treasure, one that offers its riches year after year. It is a valuable resource for understanding and celebrating Advent and Christmas as a Catholic. But, more than providing the historical roots of traditions, such as the Advent wreath and Christmas tree, it also features spiritual reflections and suggestions for practices to enrich your family’s Christmas preparation and celebration.
You’ll find all of the major Feast Days of Advent and Christmas along with devotions and traditions that will help your family get more out these important seasons.
Inside you’ll learn…
- why candles are placed in windows
- why poinsettias are used as a Christmas decoration
- the origin of the Christmas tree
- when Christmas actually ends
- and more
. . . so that you and yours can appreciate more fully the significance of these traditions and grow in love and honor of Christ.
Father William P. Saunders was born on March 9, 1957 in Washington, D.C. to Dr. Joseph F. and Pauline C. Saunders. In 1959, his family moved to Springfield, Virginia here he was raised. He has one older brother, Joseph F. Saunders, Jr.
After graduating from West Springfield High School as the class valedictorian in 1975, he attended the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. He graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting and with membership in Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.
During the summer after college graduation, Father Saunders focused on the vocation to the priesthood, with which he had been wrestling since college. He applied to the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia for admission into the seminary, and was assigned to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1984, Father Saunders graduated from St. Charles Seminary with a Master of Arts in Sacred Theology, Summa cum laude, and was ordained to the Holy Priesthood on May 12.
As a priest, Father Saunders has served as the Assistant Pastor at St. Mary Catholic Church in Alexandria, VA (1984–1988), the Campus Chaplain and Adjunct Professor of Theology for Marymount University, Arlington, VA (1988–1993), the Assistant Pastor (1993–95) and subsequently the Pastor (1995–2000) at Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Alexandria, Virginia. In summer 2000, he was assigned as the founding pastor of Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Potomac Falls, Virginia, where he continues to serve.
During this time, Father Saunders pursued studies at Catholic University, receiving a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration in 1992.
He was appointed as President of the Notre Dame Institute for Catechetics in 1992, a graduate school offering a Master of Arts in Catechetics, Sacred Scripture, and Spirituality. On February 1, 1997, the Notre Dame Institute officially merged with Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia, becoming the Notre Dame Graduate School. At that time, Father Saunders was appointed Dean of the Graduate School.
From 1993 to 2006, Father Saunders wrote a weekly column entitled “Straight Answers” for the Arlington Catholic Herald, the diocesan newspaper. In 1998, he published a book by the same title, Straight Answers, and in 2003, a second volume, Straight Answers II. To mark the dedication of Our Lady of Hope Church and School, he published A Labor of Love in 2008. He continues to write periodically for the Arlington Catholic Herald and other publications.