Archbishop Eamon Martin has launched the 2020 online Advent Calendar, which will go live on www.catholicbishops.ie on the first Sunday of Advent, 29 November next.
Now in its seventh year, the unique online Advent Calendar offers resources for the parish, school and for families which can be accessed behind a virtual door each day during the season of Advent. The content is aimed at assisting people of all ages to pray and reflect on how best we can keep Christ at the centre of our Christmas preparations during this special liturgical season.
Welcoming this year’s Advent Calendar Archbishop Eamon said, “While it is has been a very trying year for all us due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the season of Advent offers a new beginning and a promise of hope for better times. The First Sunday of Advent is actually the Christian Church’s New Year’s Day. This year – perhaps more than ever – we need more than ever ideas and inspiration to help us delve deeper during our hours of isolation and restriction, to find that glimmer of light, that note of joy, that promise of consolation. The virtual calendar offers ideas to help us spiritually prepare for our Lord’s coming at Christmas with thoughtful reflections as well as challenges for change and conversion. Every day of our lives presents a moment to prepare for the coming of the Lord – we continually stay alert and prepared for the unexpected moment when the Lord comes to us in other people, in our daily experiences, including his presence in the sick, the poor and the stranger.
“Our Advent online calendar is a helpful resource on our ‘journey’ towards Christmas. By clicking on a virtual door we are inviting people to take just five minutes for reflection so as to find moments of peace and to rediscover the true meaning of Advent and Christmas.
“Since the outbreak of the pandemic the people of Ireland have endured testing times with courage, resilience, and compassion. Individuals and communities have made great sacrifices for the protection of life, health and for the common good. Many Christians have been reaching out in generous service and support for their neighbours, the lonely, the isolated, the sick and the bereaved. Faith, love and hope – in the home and in church – have been a huge support during these difficult times. As we continue, in solidarity, to progress together, I invite everyone to be part of #SharingHope this Advent season by availing of the helpful resources on our calendar and through sharing these with others on social media.
“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”. During Advent, let us reflect on the eternal message of Christmas, which is, 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 college students. The 2020 Advent Calendar will also include:
- Mass Readings and Saint of the Day;
- Family prayers;
- 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;
- Seasonal prayers;
- Resources for Advent including books and music;
- Advent events in dioceses and parishes;
- Information on Trócaire’s Gifts of Love for 2020 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: www.catholicbishops.ie/adventcalendar. You can also follow updates on a special Advent Facebook page [Advent 2020] and on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #SharingHope and #LivingAdvent
Archbishop Eamon Martin is chair of the Council for Communications of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.