By Sarah Mac Donald - 26 November, 2014
New features incorporated into the calendar include a ‘Thought for Today’ voiced by contributors including members of the hierarchy.
The online calendar can be found on the Irish Catholic bishops’ website www.catholicbishops.ie.
This year’s calendar also incorporates a new feature in the form of an audio ‘Thought for Today’.
In a statement, the Archbishop said “Each day of Advent amounts to a period of time which allows us to journey and reflect on ‘the joy of the Gospel.”
“As Advent is the season of preparation for the coming of our Lord, I encourage the faithful, notwithstanding our hectic schedule over the coming weeks, to make time to pray – alone and with loved ones – and by so doing to draw nearer to Christ,” Archbishop Martin encouraged.
The first door on the Advent Calendar will open on Sunday next 30 November and each subsequent day after that.
Each day the calendar will reveal Advent information and prayer resources by clicking on a virtual numerical door.
“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,” Archbishop Martin said.
He added, “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].”
Asking why the Advent calendar is useful, the Archbishop said preparation does not happen at once but over time.
“As we begin our Catholic new year, I invite everyone during the Advent season to visit and to enjoy the information provided on our online calendar”.
This year’s new audio feature – ‘Thought for Today’ – is voiced by a different contributor each of the days of Advent and will reflect themes of the Advent season.
Contributors include Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin; Bishop Kevin Doran, Bishop of Elphin; Fr Michael Drumm, Chair of the Catholic Schools Partnership, as well as seasonal reflections by staff from the councils, agencies and offices of the Bishops’ Conference for example ACCORD and Trócaire and by individual students from Catholic primary and secondary schools.
These audio recordings will be available on the pages of the Advent Calendar on catholicbishops.ie as well as on http://audioboom.com/IrishCatholicBishops.
The 2014 Advent Calendar will include:
– The words of Pope Francis taken from his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), his daily homilies from Casa Santa Marta and his Twitter feed;
– Mass readings of the day;
– 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 the Advent such as Saint Nicholas on 6 December;
– Video and text reflections from Pope Francis and Irish bishops (the Creed, the Liturgy etc)
– 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 Christians suffering in the Middle East and Iraq and for those in difficulty here in Ireland;
– Tweets from individuals, parishes, Irish Church agencies and from the Vatican;
– Resources for Advent and Christmas from Veritas;
– Events in dioceses and parishes;
– Information on Trócaire’s Global Gifts for 2014;
– Food Bank Appeals from around the country such as Crosscare in Dublin and information on the work of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul;
– Christmas messages from Irish bishops in preparation for the Nativity of our Lord.
Further information: www.catholicbishops.ie