The Advent calendar on the homepage of the Irish Catholic bishops’ Web site has proven popular in dioceses and parishes around the country with over 5,000 hits in the first 12 days of the calendar. The novel online Advent calendar was launched by Archbishop Eamon Martin on Sunday, Dec. 1, the first Sunday of Advent.
Speaking at the launch of the calendar, Archbishop Eamon Martin said: “The season of Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for the Lord’s coming at Christmas. 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 as reflected in today’s Gospel reading at Mass, ‘You must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do no not expect’ [Mt 24:37-44]. Taken together then, each day of Advent amounts to a period of time which allows us to journey and reflect on ‘the joy of the Gospel.'”
Commenting on the Advent Calendar, Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer with the Catholic Communications Office said: “We have had a lot of really positive feedback to the calendar from parents who are using the calendar each day with their children. The nature of the virtual calendar lends itself very well for use in the classroom and in the home. People are using the daily prayer intentions and enjoying the musical offerings of Advent pieces that are not as widely known as some of the traditional Christmas carols. People have also responded very well to the special Advent daily prayer intentions and to excerpts from Evangelii Gaudium, the Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Francis.”
The Advent Calendar provides new content each day including:
– Mass readings of the day;
– Excerpts from Pope Francis’ new Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), published on 26 November;
– Advent videos: blessing of the crib in the home, blessing of the advent wreath in the home, prayer when lighting the lights on the Christmas tree, family table prayer;
– Advent music;
– information on saints during Advent;
– family prayers (mother and child, children, grandparents, parents and godparents);
– prayers for the season: for families in need, for those suffering neglect and violence, for Irish emigrants, for those in prison, for those who are sick, for those in difficulty;
– Tweets from individuals, parishes, Irish Church agencies and from the Vatican;
– resources for Advent and Christmas from Veritas;
– Trócaire Global Gifts for 2013 information campaign;
– Crosscare’s Dublin Food Bank appeal;
– Christmas messages from Irish bishops in preparation for the Nativity of our Lord.
The Advent Calendar can be accessed at www.catholicbishops.ie/advent-calendar.