This Sunday, 1 December, marks the beginning of the Church’s liturgical year and also marks the launch the 2019 online Advent Calendar, which will go live on www.catholicbishops.ie.
Now in its sixth year, the popular online Advent Calendar offers resources for the parish, school and home which can be accessed behind a virtual door each day during the season of Advent. The content is aimed at assisting people to pray and to reflect on how best we can keep Christ at the centre of our Christmas preparations during this special liturgical season.
The unique interactive Advent Calendar has family prayers and suggestions for #LivingAdvent - acts of kindness or charity that all of us are encouraged to undertake during the month of December. The Calendar also shares tips on how families can care for creation, our common home, by having a more sustainable Christmas.
Welcoming this year’s Advent Calendar Archbishop Eamon said, “The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Catholic new year and the time of spiritual preparation for the Lord’s coming at Christmas. It is a time of waiting, conversion and hope. Advent also prepares us for the second coming of Christ at the end of time. As Christians, we must always be prepared for the coming of the Lord – ‘You must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do no not expect’ [Mt 24:37-44].
“Preparation does not happen at once but over time and so each day of Advent allows us to reflect on the joy of the Gospel. Our online calendar is a helpful resource on this journey. By clicking on the virtual doors each of the days of Advent, we are inviting people to take just five minutes to find moments of peace and reflection on the meaning of Advent and Christmas amidst all the rush and busyness of life around us.”
“I particularly welcome the inclusion on this year’s calendar of some of the inspirational messages that Pope Francis gave to us this year in Christus vivit (Christ is alive), his post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation to young people. The message of Christ is alive is that Jesus is our hope and that he lives within us. The seasons of Advent and Christmas occur in the depth of winter reminding us that Christ was born to bring hope to a darkened world. As the prophet Isaiah said “the people that wait in darkness see a great light”. The inspiring messages that Pope Francis has for young people in Christus vivit also apply to all of us and to the young person inside us.”
Archbishop Eamon concluded, “I invite everyone during this Season of Advent to enjoy our online calendar. I ask that people would not just reflect on the content personally but share it with others on social media. At this busy time I encourage everyone to take a few moments of pause, in the stillness to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas which is that Christ is alive and that He is our hope.”
A popular feature on the Advent Calendar is the audio thought for the day. Contributors this year will include bishops, priests, religious, laity, staff of the councils and agencies of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, as well as primary, secondary and university students. The 2019 Advent Calendar will also include:
Mass Readings and Saint of the Day;
Advent videos: blessing of the crib in the home, blessing of the advent wreath in the home;
The Words of Pope Francis from Christus vivit (Christ is alive);
Acts of kindness in the family, school and parish;
Suggestions to make Christmas more sustainable so as to care for our common home;
Multimedia thought for the day;
Resources for Advent including books and music;
Advent events in dioceses and parishes;
Information on Trócaire’s Gifts of Love for 2019 as well special appeals to help families in need.
To add this year’s Advent Calendar to your website or social media pages please use the following link: